Cambodia proudly boasts a smattering of tropical islands that dot the waters off Sihanoukville. These remote and undeveloped slices of tropical paradise are a short boat ride away from the coastal town of Sihanoukville, with Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem being the most popular. Here are the top 10 things to do on the island of Koh Rong Samloem.
When we said Cambodia’s islands remain undeveloped, we meant just that. Up until a few years ago, Koh Rong Samloem had no electricity, accommodation was little more than a few huts scattered on isolated sands and picking up WiFi was a definite no-no. While the options for accommodation and drinking and eating may have improved on the island, chill time on the beach is still the main reason most head to the islands. Breath-taking powder-white sands and clear turquoise waters, with hardly a soul in sight, are in abundance here, so find a secluded spot and enjoy lazing in the sun or splashing in the sea.
Those crystal-clear waters make Koh Rong Samloem the perfect spot for snorkelling. With visibility high around the island, the waters here are wonderful and snorkelling is a great way to explore underwater life. Either hire a mask and explore independently or take an organised boat trip, which stops at several points along Saracen Bay and Koh Koun, just off Samloem’s coast.
If snorkelling doesn’t offer enough of a view of the sea life inhabiting the Gulf of Thailand, opt for a scuba diving trip. Cambodian Diving Group is based on the island, meaning it’s possible to arrange a dive while there. Whether you want to take your PADI certification or just to go for a light exploration, this is a great place to experience the depths near Samloem for some stunning coral and fish.
Hire a kayak from The Beach Resort and spend the day exploring the island’s network of waterways in a fun and not too physically strenuous way. If a more action-packed kayaking experience is desired, head out on an organised tour, which takes in a number of areas including rocky island, a fishing village and the cave waterfall.
Although Koh Rong Samloem is a relatively small island, there is still a fair amount of distance to cover. What better way to do this than by bicycle? With stunning jungle foliage and paths leading across the island to opposite beaches, mountain biking is a great way to view Koh Rong Samloem’s nature and discover alternative areas to the main strip of beach huts on Saracen Bay.
Trekking through the light jungle is an essential activity when staying on Koh Rong Samloem to fully enjoy the bounty of nature, from the trees and plants to largely undisturbed animals, who outnumber human inhabitants here.
There are plenty of fishermen making an extra few bucks by taking visitors on a half- or full-day tour of the nearby islands, which is a great way to wile away the day. Head over to neighbouring Koh Rong or nearby Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Thmei. Many guesthouses will also be able to organise boat trips, with fishing also an option.
The majority of guesthouses and dive centres that dot the fringes of the island will also have stand-up paddle boards for rent by the hour or half- and full-day. This makes for a fun way to explore the island’s waterways, just don’t forget the sunscreen and something to cover your head and shoulders because the sun is harsh.
In keeping with the beach bum vibe, find yourself a great spot on the west or northern side of the island – M’Pay Bay, Lazy Beach and aptly named Sunset Beach are the best – grab a cocktail and relax as the sky transforms from day to night.
Come on, this is a remote island so get in the mood – kick back, relax, enjoy a book, doze off, paddle in the sea, finish off that sudoko. Do whatever it is you like to relax and recharge in idyllic surroundings.