There are many spectacular beaches on Koh Rong Island. Here, we are going to evaluate Koh Rong’s best beaches in 2020 and make a list of our top favourites. We’ll try to cover both Koh Rong and its beautiful sister island Koh Rong Samloem, but choosing the best beaches on these island paradises is not easy!
(For a more in depth review, see: Koh Rong Beach Guide 2020)
1) Lonely Beach
The small alcove feels like a real island-paradise, with crystal clear ocean waters, soft white sandy beaches, and tall palm trees all around. The atmosphere is quite serene – so peaceful and quiet with just a few crickets chirping in the background. There are very few people around, so you feel quite isolated and secluded out in a truly beautiful setting.
The accommodation itself is very rustic and is not really suitable for anyone looking for some comfort during their trip. This is reflected in the price of $40 – $50 / night. It is also not ideal for anyone not willing / able to travel – Though Lonely Beach do offer a boat to that part of the island, it can take 2-3 hours to get there from Sihanoukville and the journey involves small boats that aren’t steady on the waters.Book Lonely Beach at Best Price
2) Lazy Beach
The beach area around here really is wonderful – the sands are silky smooth, the blue waters glisten in the sun, and the enveloping mountains offer superb views.
Perhaps what hits you first, apart from the scorching sand on the way to the entrance, is the peaceful tranquil atmosphere that Lazy Beach creates – Quiet, laid-back, so relaxing, with a few crickets chirping in the background.
As with Lonely Beach, there is only one resort on this part of Koh Rong Samloem. The accommodation is very basic ($30+ / night), so Lazy Beach Resort is not suited for anyone looking for some comfort during their stay. And, similarly to Lonely Beach, Lazy Beach is not the most accessible place on the islands – Although they do offer a private taxi boat from Saracen Bay, many guests end up having to walk the 40 minute jungle trail to get there. The trail itself isn’t that bad (maybe wear trainers or similar footwear), but with heavy bags it can become very burdensome. You can find the entrance to the trail next to Octopussy Bar at The Royal Retreat.
Please also make sure to bring everything you need with you, as there are no shops or facilities on this side of the island. There is also no Wi-Fi, so you may have to stare at the phenomenal sunsets instead of Facebook!15% OFF Samloem Hotels
3) 4K Beach (Long Set Beach)
We would say that 4K beach is number three on the list, though there are now several resorts built along this wonderful stretch of white sand, sparkling turquoise ocean, and tropical jungle wilderness.
What’s great about this beach, apart from the stunning scenery and inviting pristine waters, is that it’s a short walk away from the main tourist area on Koh Rong (Koh Touch).
If you head past Paradise Bungalows and White Beach Bungalows on your left hand side, the next resort is Tree House. Keep walking following the beach area around, and you will pass a new resort called Star Fish. At times you will need to go off the actual beach itself into the forest, but the path is very easy to follow. After about 15 minutes you will walk out onto a large beach expanse (about 4km or so – hence the name ‘4K’) with very little development.
One of the fantastic resorts near the end of this beach is Pura Vita ($65+ / night) – A truly scenic destination with sparkling turquoise ocean waters, white sandy beaches, and a tropical jungle forestry.
The other superb resort on Long Set Beach is the (appropriately named) Long Set Resort. Long Set Resort offers very comfortable accommodation at an affordable price. The soft white sandy beach is splendid, and some of the views are truly sensational. Relax by the pool or swim in the warm ocean during the day, then at night times admire the sparkling bioluminescent plankton.
Buva Sea and Speed Ferry Cambodia now go directly to Long Set Beach, so getting to this part of the island is straight forward. However, if you stay at any of the resorts here, please remember to bring all necessities with you as the nearest shops are on Koh Touch – A one hour walk away along the beach (if there is no ferry service at the time).15% OFF Koh Rong Hotels
4) Saracen Bay
At number 4 is the beautiful Saracen Bay. Saracen Bay is the main tourist area on Koh Rong Samloem. It is perfect for a peaceful relaxing experience where you can lie back and admire the magnificent views. All the main ferry services stop here regularly making it one of the more convenient locations.
The bay has undergone some major changes in the past two years, with several new resorts, new shops, and new tours opening up along the beachfront. All in all, these changes have made Saracen Bay a more convenient tourist destination, as it is now possible to buy many necessities (e.g. mosquito spray and sun tan lotion) on the bay.
Sol Beach has the better accommodation (the modern Khmer-style villas are outstanding), while The One has a stunning infinity-edge swimming pool, so it really depends on what you prefer. All in all, the two resorts provide excellent accommodation that’s perfect for families and couples.15% OFF Samloem Hotels
5) White Beach
At number 5 we are going to put White Beach – A 10 minute walk from the main pier on Koh Touch. Admittedly, there are probably better beaches on Koh Rong, but the convenience of White Beach and the quality of the resorts around this area push it up a place or two.
Despite what you might read elsewhere, this far side of Koh Touch is not a party location and does not suffer from the same setbacks that other more popular areas experience. The beach on this part of the touristy stretch is clean and well-kept, with soft white sands and beautiful clear ocean waters.
What we love the most is how easy it is to step out of your bungalow early in the morning and be directly on the sand with very few people around. Take a look at our reviews of White Beach Bungalows and Paradise Bungalows for more information.Book White Beach at Best Price
6) Sok San Beach
The fishing village is a great place to stay for cheap – Not only do you have the chance to learn about the local Khmer culture, but you get to relax and unwind in a wonderful scenic setting.
The large resort is also a great option, offering a more luxurious accommodation on a long stretch of soft white sands. Initially built to host the cast and crew of the popular TV series ‘Survivor’, Sok San Beach Resort comprises of 600+ villas and has several shops, restaurants, and bars.
The resort offers a private (direct) ferry service from Sihanoukville, so as far as accessibility goes, it’s easy enough to get to.
The beach area at the resort is kept in superb condition – Soft white sands, crystal clear ocean waters, and wonderful scenery.
The overall quality of the resort is excellent, and pricing starts at a reasonable $80 / night. Perhaps what’s quite surprising is that, even at peak times, there is enough beach space to go around for everyone, but, admittedly, you don’t feel as privileged as you do on say, Saracen Bay.Book Sok San at Best Price
7) Palm Beach
Last but not least is one of the best value for money resort on Koh Rong. Overlooking the famous Song Saa Private Island and around the corner from Lonely Beach, Palm Beach, as the name suggests, is a palm-covered paradise getaway.
Starting from only $35 per night, you can sit back and admire the views in a hammock between the trees. What baffles us the most is that this resort is rarely busy, despite offering a much cheaper alternative to similar standard resorts on Koh Touch. Perhaps the issue is that, like with Lonely Beach, the northern side of the island is much harder to get to, but the accommodation at Palm Beach is of a good quality and has the potential for a wonderful experience.Book Palm Beach at Best Price
Q: How big is Koh Rong?
A: Koh Rong (also romanized as Kaôh Rong or Kos Rong) is the second largest island of Cambodia, having an area of approximately 78 km². 43km of the island’s 61km coastline are beaches (there are over 23 individual beaches that vary in length and colour, some of which have now been developed for tourism – Read our Beach Guide to learn more).
There are four village communities on the island: Koh Touch (south-east), Prek Svay (north-east), Daem Thkov (Sangkat village) (east), and Sok San (west). Most locals live from fishing (70%) and small scale crop cultivation (30%). As of 2019, tourist businesses outnumber residential homes on Koh Touch.
The terrain is predominantly hilly, with a 316m mountain (1,037ft) in the north-west. Most of the island’s interior is covered in jungle forestry, with several waterfalls, bays, capes, and sandstone rock formations adding to the wonderful scenery.
Exposed to the weather and open sea, the south side of Koh Rong is particularly beautiful, while the east side is characterized by smooth hills that gently slope towards the crescent-shaped beaches, inlets, and bays.
Q: Where exactly is it?
A: Koh Rong Island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 25km (16mi) off the coast of Sihanoukville. It is based in commune (Sangkat) No. 5, or Sangkat Koh Rong of the Mittakpheap district in Sihanoukville Province (see map).
Koh Rong’s neighbouring islands include Koh Tuich in the south-east, the twin islands of Koh Bong-Po’own (Koh Song-Saa) in the north-east, and Koh Koun and Koh Rong Samloem in the south. These five islands make up the Sangkat Koh Rong (or Commune 5 of Mittakpheap District).
Q: How do I get to Koh Rong?
A: There are now 5 modern ferry services from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong Island – Speed Ferry Cambodia, Island Speed Boat Cambodia, Buva Sea, Angkor Speed Ferry, and GTVC. (There are also a couple of $5-$10 ‘Slow Boat’ services that take 1.5 – 2.5 hours – These services are not professionally run and are not recommended).
It will take about 40 minutes to get to your destination if it’s the first stop. If the boat first stops elsewhere, it may take 1 hour or so.
All 5 services will charge roughly $25 return, though prices can vary depending on time of year, special offers, etc. All services leave from the Ochheuteal (AKA ‘Serendipity’) pier in Sihanoukville and go to the main tourist beaches on the islands. If your hotel is not on the main beaches (Koh Touch / Saracen Bay), please read Sihanoukville to Koh Rong.
The 5 services offer modern speed boats with comfortable chairs, life jackets, and the option to buy food and drink on board. Not all of the ferries have air-conditioning, but once the boats set off there is a strong cool breeze throughout the sitting areas which more than makes up for it.
All ferry services tend to be very busy – we strongly recommend you buy your tickets in advance. You can buy your tickets online now here: Book Ferry Tickets Online Now
Q: When is the best time to visit?
A: The best time to visit Koh Rong Island is between the middle of November and the start of May. During these months you’ll have beautiful hot days with very little cloud and low humidity. To give you a rough idea of the average temperatures over this past year:
Middle of November / December / January / February: Warm and dry. 25°C daytime.
March / April / May: Hot and dry. 35°C daytime.
June / July / August: Hot and wet. 35°C daytime.
September / October / Early November: Warm and wet. 25°C daytime.
Please see our Weather Guide for more information.
Q: Is Koh Rong a party place?
A: Please ignore what you might read elsewhere – Koh Rong is NOT just a party place! Yes, the main tourist area, Koh Touch, has a reputation for being quite lively, but there are MANY other areas that are peaceful, relaxing, and truly mesmerising. Even on Koh Touch itself there are beautiful, quiet areas a little further down the beach. Please read our Hotel Guide and Beach Guide for more information.
Q: Where is Koh Rong Samloem?
A: Koh Rong Samloem (also romanized as Kaoh Rong Sanloem) is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 25km (16mi) off the coast of Sihanoukville and 4km (2mi) south of Koh Rong Island.
Koh Rong Samloem is Koh Rong’s stunning sister island – a short 20 minute ferry trip away. It is a peaceful relaxing destination with breathtaking scenery – Pristine white beaches, clear turquoise ocean waters, and a tropical jungle wilderness.
Q: Where can I see the glowing plankton?
A: Sparkling like a starry sky all around you, the bioluminescent plankton are a wonderful sight to behold at night times. Although this phenomenon is abundant on the islands, the glowing plankton can only be seen in places with very little light pollution.
As such, if you’re staying on Koh Touch (the main tourist area on Koh Rong) or on Saracen Bay (the main tourist area on Koh Rong Samloem), the easiest way for you to see the plankton is by booking a boat tour (you can also walk to Police Beach on non-party nights (15 minutes left from the main pier) and Tree House Bungalows (15 minutes right from the main pier) on Koh Touch, or make your way to Long Set Beach around the corner from Koh Touch).
For more information, please read: Glowing Plankton on Koh Rong
Q: What should I bring with me?
A: We recommend that you bring plenty of cash, mosquito spray, sun tan lotion, and any other necessities. Both islands have small shops where you can buy most of what you might need, but prices can be inflated so it’s a good idea to stock up on the essentials before you go.
Q: Is it easy to get a Cambodian Visa?
A: Yes – it is generally very easy to get a Cambodian Visa. Although there are tighter restrictions for Business Visas (which now require a Cambodian work permit), the Tourist Visa (1 month stay) is very straight forward and can be obtained at the airport / border crossing as you arrive. If you’d like to skip the ques, you can buy your visa online now here: Buy a Visa Online Now.
Q: Is there an ATM on the islands?
A: Although there is no ATM as such, you can still get cash out at any of the three Eftpos terminals on Koh Touch (the main tourist area on Koh Rong Island). There is an Eftpos terminal at Green Ocean Guesthouse, White Rose Guesthouse, and Koh Lanta.
Q: What activities are there?
A: Snorkeling & Scuba Diving
The islands are known for their stunning underwater panorama. Whether it’s snorkeling or scuba diving that you’re after, there are plenty of superb locations.
Kayaking & Paddle Boarding
Enjoy the crystal clear ocean waters by Kayaking or paddle boarding your way around – An ideal activity for couples and families alike.
Mountain Biking & Jungle Trekking
Explore the exotic jungle habitat by foot or via a mountain bike.
Sparkling like a starry sky all around you, the bioluminescent plankton are a wonderful sight to behold at night times.
Jet Skiing & Windsurfing
For some fast paced action on the beautiful clear waters, hire Jetskis or Windsurf.
To learn more, please read our Activities Guide.
Q: Is there a medical facility on Koh Rong?
A: There is a medical facility on Koh Touch (the main tourist area on Koh Rong Island). Please ask someone when you are there for directions.
Q: Is it a family-friendly place?
Q: When is the rainy season?
A: The rainy season on Koh Rong Island is from the middle of May to early November. During these months there will be short bursts of heavy rain during the day. One thing to note is that, although it is wonderfully hot throughout the peak season, there are several advantages of visiting the islands during the rainy season.
For example, those that visit during the rainy season get to enjoy half-priced accommodation and beautiful rainy scenes, and because it never gets too cold in Cambodia, swimming in the ocean is still a very pleasurable experience (the water rarely drops beneath 25°C). Take a look at this article for more information: 5 Reasons to Visit Koh Rong Island in Rainy Season
Q: Where was Survivor Kaoh Rong filmed?
A: Koh Rong Cambodia has hosted the popular reality programme ‘Survivor’ several times.
In 2012, a special edition of the French Survivor (‘Koh Lanta’) was filmed near Sok San Village with an All-Star cast. The production team returned in 2013 and again in 2016 to film the regular editions.
In 2015, the American version of Survivor produced Season 31 (Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance) and season 32 (Survivor: Kaoh Rong – Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty) on Koh Rong Island.
The 16th edition of Expedition Robinson (Sweden’s Survivor) was also filmed on the island.