True paradise islands are hard to find these days. The Thai islands used to be such paradise islands, but thanks to the film The Beach, some of them have been turned into a horror of mass tourism. However, I think I may have found my perfect little tropical paradise, completely unspoiled – Koh Rong island in Cambodia.

I have been to a few beautiful islands in Cambodia. Koh Tonsay and Bamboo Island are both deserted and beautiful, but none of them compare to the stunning island of Koh Rong. Koh Rong island is a 2 hour choppy boat ride away from Sihanoukville, which is probably why not many tourists make it out there. It was raining heavily when we boarded the boat and even Mr Lowe (a former Royal Marine) seemed to prefer to spend the second half of the journey lying down – purely for comfort reasons, and nothing to do with feeling sea-sick of course 😉

Koh Rong IslandFortunately though by the time we had arrived on Koh Rong island the sun came out and the stormy waters turned into crystal clear turquoise coloured waters. There were only a handful of accommodation options to choose from. We were offered a $2 a night shared-dorm room but politely declined (not least because we were travelling with friends on their honeymoon!) and so instead opted for the slightly more luxurious option of a beach-front bungalow. How decadent! Our bungalow was just a few steps away from the beach and had a little terrace with a hammock, an en-suite bathroom with an outdoor shower, and electricity from 6pm-6am the next morning each day. It was simple, but beautiful.

koh rong island

koh rong island

Our bungalow (front left)

koh rong island

The outdoor shower

koh rong islandParadise bungalows are placed at the quiet end of the beach which meant we had the beach almost all to ourselves. Welcome to paradise!

koh rong island

The perfect beach

koh rong islandkoh rong island shipwreckkoh rong islandOn our first night we decided to check one of the few bars out that are on the island and Chris and my German friend Matthes were promptly convinced to take part in a beer pong competition. Really at their age! My friend Katja and I watched with amusement as team ‘Mr and Mrs Klang’ literally kicked the 21-year old backpackers backsides and got to the final, even though they’d been out drinking from mid-afternoon in typical English/German-man abroad style. So for the final it was them against two other Germans, and sadly they lost by one glass, the tightest of possible margins. They did however get plenty of free beer in the process though as they got a new can of Klang beer for each round they won. So I guess the disappointment wasn’t too big.

koh rong island

koh rong island

This French man even landed a ball in a cup with his eyes closed as part of a special bonus shot he won.

koh rong island

The finalists

So with all that beer consumed the next day was all about relaxing by the beach, doing a bit of snorkeling and eating an unholy amount of food. We also had the choice of some trekking, island hopping or sea kayaking, but to be honest with a view like that why would you want to move? (plus Chris was suddenly looking and feeling his age having taken on backpackers almost half his age the night before)

koh rong islandkoh rong islandThere is a lot of building work going on at the moment and there are even plans for a 5 Star luxury resort, golf course and airport to be built by next year, so I doubt that Koh Rong island will stay as unspoiled and sleepy as it is at the moment. With all that development going on Koh Rong will no doubt become the next Koh Phi Phi some time in the future which won’t leave much of a paradise, but instead masses of tourists flooding the beaches. So my advice…go now, before it is too late!

koh rong islandWhat do you think of Koh Rong island? Tell me in the comment section below!

 

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

49 Thoughts on “Koh Rong Island – Cambodia’s Secret Paradise

  1. Wow, it actually look really nice. I’ve been a few years to Sihanoukville and didn’t like it. There were so many street vendors, it was so annoying. Since then I thought Cambodia is not my beach destination. But this place looks certainly gorgeous.

    I found my dream paradises in the Philippines, love the beaches there…
    Sab recently posted…I WANT TO TRAVEL FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE – 15 TRAVEL BLOGGERS TELL HOW TO DO ITMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on September 18, 2013 at 11:03 am said:

      The beaches in Sihanoukville most travellers visit are Ocheteaul beach or Serendipity beach, neither of which are particularly nice. They are quite crowded too. Otres beach and Sokha beach (private beach from Sokha beach resort) are gorgeous though and haven’t got any vendors either. None of them match Koh Rong though.

  2. Seems to be a real paradise – there are no roads, but only beaten tracks, you can walk into the amazing paradise only by foot or by boat!!!
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    • Tammyonthemove on September 18, 2013 at 11:06 am said:

      It really is Raymond. No, there are no roads on Koh Rong and only about 20 Cambodian families live on the island. The only way to get there is via boat, which is why it is so off the beaten track.

  3. When Tony and I went down to Sihanoukville we had originally planned to visit some of the nearby islands but I guess we were there at the wrong time because everything was freakishly expensive in the area and we just got too burnt out trying to figure out a reasonably priced way to reach them. Plus we talked to another traveling couple who said the ones near Sihanoukville weren’t all that special and overrun with other tourists. Sometimes I wish we had gone just because we were so close, but honestly, I haven’t encountered any island in Asia thus far that has been my perfect paradise. Several Thai islands have been nice, but they were too pricey for me to really love them. We did go to a really nice deserted private island near El Nido in the Philippines that was pretty great, and were recently on a beautiful island called Kanawa near Komodo island, but both of those were really basic and rugged living… the search continues!
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    • Tammyonthemove on September 18, 2013 at 11:11 am said:

      Oh no, what a shame. That’s why I don’t listen to other travelers. I usually never agree with them. 🙂 Sihanoukville is not very nice, but the islands are magical. But then I have never been to the Thai islands, so if someone is used to them and then visit the closer islands around Sihanoukville, maybe they are not as nice. Koh Rong is different though. I can’t see how anybody could not like it. It wasn’t overrun with tourists either when we went. Return boat tickets to Koh Rong are $10, which is a fair price I think considering it takes 2-3 hrs to get there. On the island itself you can get extremely cheap places to stay, such as $2 a night dorms, $15 a night beach shacks (without electricity) or slightly more luxurious beach front bungalows starting at $30 a night. I have heard so much about El Nido. Would love to visit the Philippines one day.

  4. what is that thing in the 8th photo from the top? It looks kind of like ribs.

    I love how gorgeous this island looks. And you guys had fun. =)
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  5. Oh, Koh Rong… The name still gets me all misty-eyed. Although I’m glad they haven’t destroyed it completely yet, to know the planned resort is still happening opens a crack in my heart. By pure chance, we discovered it back in 2009. It was our first time in Cambodia and, after a few strolls in Sihanoukville, we decided to ask an old lady if any of the nearby islands were good for a few days of solitude and relaxation. That same afternoon we were on a boat to Koh Rong. I’ll always cherish the memories of those seemingly endless days swimming in the most gorgeous waters we’ve ever seen… Making it even more indelible, we nearly died getting out of there 🙂 Full story can be found on our blog, if curious at all… Very happy you also discovered that hidden gem, and thank you for bringing all the memories flooding back. Safe travels!
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    • Tammyonthemove on September 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm said:

      Oh I bet it was really sleepy back in 2009. OMG, you must have been terrified on that boat trip. Sounds horrible! Glad things worked out though!

  6. So sad when places get spoiled by tourism from films and the like…
    An outdoor shower sounds wonderful!
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    • Tammyonthemove on September 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm said:

      The outdoor shower was awesome! I once took a shower and then it started to rain actually, so I continued to shower in the rain. 🙂

  7. We had an outdoor shower like that at our guesthouse on the Gili Islands – it was kind of fun! It was easy to imagine that I was just showering in a tropical forest in a summer rain, haha. I’m really tempted to visit Cambodia this year because it seems like there are still a few un-touristy islands like this one left, which is difficult to find in SE Asia.
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    • Tammyonthemove on September 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm said:

      I loved showering in the rain. I felt like Robinson Crusoe. 🙂 You should come and visit me! Cambodia is so beautiful! 🙂

  8. Tommy, the photo of you standing under that cloudy sky is gorgeous!!
    This definitely looks like a paradise.
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  9. i am impressed with the photos and illusion . however Just as aposter here had a boating nightmare , anywhere these days on water travel is very dangerous MORE SO in recent times due to lack of maintenance( more costly thes days) So make sure you are willing to pay the price for an adventure ,…… That if anything goes wrong , you are caught with your ……. Down …… Life is a daring Adventure or Not! Lol travel safe!

    • Tammyonthemove on October 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm said:

      Sorry to hear you had a bit of a nightmare. I agree, you should always check out safety first. Luckily our boat was fine.

  10. The Paradise bungalows look so simple yet so cozy.
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    • Tammyonthemove on January 18, 2014 at 2:38 pm said:

      It was the most luxurious type of accommodation you can get on the island Judy, but like you said it still had a very rustic charm about it. I liked the fact that I had an outdoor shower for example.

  11. We are in the beginning stages of planning our Cambodia trip so reading through your posts. Sounds like Koh Rong might be the best bet as far as beaches go in Cambodia! Thanks for the post and beautiful pics!
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    • Tammyonthemove on February 6, 2014 at 5:21 pm said:

      How exciting! Yes, Koh Rong has by far the best beaches. Feel free to drop me a line if you need any other tips!

  12. Mike on May 12, 2014 at 12:13 am said:

    2$ dorms? Tell me the place, I wanna go!@

  13. Wow, stunning pictures. This place is so close to being paradise. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  14. Missed this while we are in Cambodia. We love Cambodia so I know we will be back, we typically spend most of our time in Siem Reap as we love it there. Will add this to our bucket list though!
    Carrie @Jetwayz recently posted…The wonders of MoroccoMy Profile

  15. The bungalows look amazing! I can see what a paradise this place must be and I’m glad you found a place that you could get away from crowds.
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  16. Koh Rong sounds wonderful! Like most travelers to Cambodia, I only made it to Siem Reap during my Cambodia trip, but that just means I’ll have more to visit when I make it back!
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  17. I have been to Koh Rong but didn’t stay overnight. I should do that next time.
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  18. I’ve never heard of Koh Rong before, but I will now definitely put it my bucket list. Tell me though, how much do they charge per night for those cozy beach bungalows you stayed in?

    • Tammyonthemove on February 14, 2016 at 3:21 am said:

      Hi Norman, We stayed in Paradise Bungalows and rooms range from $35 to $100. We stayed in a beach front bungalow which was at the higher price range (around $80 if I remember correctly). I also saw beds in dorms advertised in other hostels on the island for $10 a night. There is something available for every budget really.

  19. Koh Rong is so pure that I wish I had the chance to visit it. The nature,the beach and all the life creatures so much differ from any other island I`ve ever heard of. And that beer pong competition really grabbed my attention. Super!

    • Tammyonthemove on February 14, 2016 at 3:26 am said:

      It really was beautiful, but like I said in the post, they started developing it heavily when I went a few years ago, so I hope that hasn’t taken away its charm. I was really bad a beer pong. Didn’t hit a single time. 🙂

  20. I have been in Ko Pha Ngan years ago and it`s fantastic, too! Absolute PARADISE!

  21. Amazing place to explore, warm people and extremely beautiful nature!

  22. Hello. Thank you so much for writing about our island paradise Koh Rong – We need all the help we can get to keep spreading the good word!

  23. Ive been to Koh Rong last year. I enjoyed it but it was busier than my friend, who had been there the year before, had told me.
    x

    • Tammyonthemove on November 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm said:

      I went in 2011, and there was hardly anybody there. I bet now it is much more busy actually. Still not as crowded as the Thai islands though I guess.

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