If you read our post about Saracen Bay, you know we have mixed feelings about the main tourist destination on Koh Rong Samloem. It was hard finding information about this Cambodian island, so I’d like to give you some advice based on our experience.
Chances are, if you’re going to Koh Rong Samloem, you want some peace & quiet; some “back-to-basics” island time. If that’s the case, then you’ve picked a good island. There’s limited wifi on the island; even the places that have it often don’t have it on until 6pm, when the power turns on. There are no ATMs on the island, and few places take credit cards, so make sure you bring enough cash to last you the entire trip.
Accommodations are more expensive than the other places we stayed in Southeast Asia; it’s best to book early. There are cheap options if you’re willing to “rough it,” but keep in mind you’re on the outskirts of a thick jungle. I almost peed myself one night when we heard (what we later found out was) a buffalo grazing just behind our bungalow in the middle of the night.
On that note, bring bug spray. There are sandflies and mosquitos abound on this island, and the people who forgot to protect themselves were very sorry (and puffy) the next day.
To get to Koh Rong Samloem, the quickest way is to take a 45 minute speedboat from Serendipity Pier, Sihanoukville.
This ferry costs $21 round trip and will take you to Saracen Bay. The Speed Ferry will also take you to M’Pai Bei. If you’re going to Lazy Beach or Sunset Beach, you can either walk from Saracen Bay, or arrange a slow boat through your hotel.
Where to Stay
There are four main beaches on Koh Rong Samloem: Saracen Bay, Lazy Beach, Sunset Beach, and M’Pai Bei.
Saracen Bay is the most picturesque of the lot, with its calm waters and white sandy beach. It’s also the easiest to access; both speed boats from Sihanoukville. However, since this bay left our bathing suits smelling of sewage, and since we were met with throngs of tourists every day, we can’t recommend this beach as much as the others.
If you do stay on Saracen Bay, I highly recommend Saracen Bay Resort. They have spacious, spotless bungalows on one of the best parts of the beach, and provide very friendly service.
Lazy Beach & Sunset Beach
If you want to maximize the peaceful, remote atmosphere, stay on the west coast of the island: Lazy Beach or Sunset Beach. These beaches are harder to access than Saracen Bay, which makes them quieter. There’s an easy walking path from Saracen Bay to Lazy Beach that takes about 20 minutes; the path to Sunset Beach is 40 minutes and a bit more difficult. If you don’t want to walk, you can take a slow boat from Sihanoukville to either place.
We didn’t get to check out M’Pai Bei, but it seems like a good in-between option. It’s not as touristy as Saracen Bay, but the Speed Ferry does go there, so it’s easier to access than the west coast.
Since we splurged a little on our accommodations, we went grocery shopping in Sihanoukville and bought some food that didn’t need to be refrigerated (peanut butter, nuts, fruit bars, etc.). We used this food for lunch and only ate out for breakfast and dinner. Here’s where we ate.
Dear food at Secret Paradise, I’m so sad our love affair had to come to an end. Shall I compare thee to a summers day? Thou are more lovely, more filling, and so much more delicious. The Khmer curry was definitely the best we had in Cambodia. We also tried the Turkish Borek and it blew. our. minds.
We went back for this exact same meal, and I’m not ashamed…my only regret is that I didn’t eat there more often. (Parting is such sweet sorrow!)
Saracen Bay Resort
Our hotel had some pretty great food. We had breakfast here most mornings, mostly out of convenience, but also because they had pretty decent deals. For dinner, I especially loved the Khmer curry with fish.
The minute we walked onto the Lazy Beach property, we gave each other big smiles – this is how we imagined Koh Rong Samloem. Their laid back atmosphere was fabulous, and the food was delicious too! It’s definitely worth a trip.
The Beach Resort
We had breakfast here one morning. Was it the cheapest option we found? Yes. Was it good? Meh… it definitely left something to be desired. We’d rather spend an extra buck somewhere else for better quality.
While we didn’t try their food, we came here for happy hour quite often. They provided the cheapest beer deals we could find on the island, and great vibes. We saw rainbows from here not once, but twice.
Have you been to Koh Rong Samloem and disagree with anything I wrote? Are you thinking of going and have some questions? Let me know below!