Koh Rong Island is a Cambodian beach paradise with accommodation from budget digs to deluxe high-end escapes. Our guide to Koh Rong includes how to get there, where to stay and what to do on this Cambodian island getaway.  

By: Mark Barnes | Published: 27 Mar 2024

Koh Rong is an idyllic island just off the Cambodian mainland. A jungle-clad interior is surrounded by stunning white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters.

At a mere 9 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide, Koh Rong is packed with some of the finest beaches you’ll find anywhere, each with a unique vibe.

There are also plenty of great things to do when you’re feeling active. Hit the water on a kayaking adventure, snorkel in pristine waters or hire a scooter to explore the local side of the island.  

In this compact island there’s a wide variety of hostels, guesthouses and resorts offering everything from budget dorms to exclusive private resorts.  

Our guide to Koh Rong includes a breakdown of each of the different beaches, recommendations for where to stay, plus tips for getting there and around.

If you are deciding between the beaches of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem, check out our guide to Koh Rong Samloem. Or see how we fit them into our 2-week Cambodia itinerary.

pagoda beach koh rong island cambodia
PAGODA BEACH

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Koh Rong is a beautiful jungle-clad island with beaches dotted around its edge, but there are a few things to know before you choose where to stay.

RUBBISH

Plastic is a problem in Cambodia, and unfortunately, you’ll find it littering some of the beaches at Koh Rong. Much of it gets carried across the water from Sihanoukville, but there’s also plenty being dumped directly on this beautiful island.

Every morning, resort staff (and tourists) will clean up the beaches and generally keep the area in front of the resorts pristine. But away from the main resorts, the beaches can be a mess with litter. Staying in accommodation surrounded by other resorts and guesthouses is beneficial as a large stretch of the beach will be clean.

DEVELOPMENT

While development is occurring on many of Cambodia’s beaches, Koh Rong has been relatively untouched. The centre of the island is still mainly jungle and there was little sign of mass development while we were there.

SANDFLIES

Sandflies can be a problem when lying directly on the beach at Koh Rong. However, the process of raking the sand helps to significantly reduce the number of these pesky little insects. So, finding a beach in front of a resort or guesthouse is a good idea. Otherwise, find a lounger or hammock.

CASH

Most guesthouses, hotels, and resorts take credit and debit card, but the local bars and restaurants will want cash. There are no ATMs on the island so bring enough with you.

WHEN TO VISIT KOH RONG

The best time to visit Koh Rong is from Mid-November to February when the temperature is between 25°C-30°C (77°F-86°F), the skies are generally clear and the sea is calmer.  

March to May can be very hot and humid with temperatures reaching up to 35°C (86°F) but rainfall can still be relatively infrequent.

Throughout June to mid-November you can expect some wind and rain on about half the days. Periodically boat crossings to the island are cancelled and snorkelling and diving is impossible. The upside is that accommodation is cheaper.

koh touch koh rong cambodia
KOH TOUCH

GETTING TO KOH RONG

Many visitors choose between Koh Rong and its sister island Koh Rong Samloem. To get to either of the Kohn Rong islands you take a boat from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

SIHANOUKVILLE AUTONOMOUS PORT

Sihanoukville’s Autonomous Port can be reached by bus from most other Cambodian cities. The most popular are Phnom Penh (3 hours), Kampot (3 hours) and Siem Reap (10 hours).

Rithy Express Buses stop just around the corner from the Autonomous Port. Vireak Buntham buses require a short tuk-tuk ride ($3)

There is also a new flight from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville (1 hour 10 minutes) with Cambodia Angkor Air.  

koh rong island speedboat

SPEEDBOAT FROM SIHANOUKVILLE PORT TO KOH RONG

Five companies run regular speedboat journeys from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port to three different beaches on Koh Rong Island: Koh Touch, Long Set Beach, and Sok San Village (Long Beach).

FREQUENCY

The boats run from about 8 am, to between 3 pm and 5 pm depending on your destination.

COST

Tickets are $14-17 one way or $25-$30 return. You need to book a ticket to a specific beach, so make sure you know the most convenient pier for where you are staying.

JOURNEY TIME

The boats will stop wherever people have booked tickets for. The journey takes between 40 minutes and 1 hour 20 minutes depending on whether you are the first or last stop. If you buy a return, you need to let the ferry company know what time you want to return the day before you leave.

BOOKINGS

Book online in advance, especially in peak season. We used GTVC, it had the best ratings, easy online booking, and the service was good. However, its arrival times were a bit optimistic, so allow extra time for any connections on the way back.

GETTING BETWEEN KOH RONG & KOH RONG SANLOEM

You can get between Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem via longtail boats. There are normally 2 services daily. They leave from Koh Touch and Long Set Beach on Koh Rong, and stop at M’Pai or Saracen Bay on Koh Rong Sanloem. Journey time is about 60 to 90 minutes and the cost is about $14 per person.

ACCOMMODATION BOOKING TIPS

Rooms are pricier if they overlook the beach and accommodation is most expensive in December & January. Here is a rough estimation of what you could expect to pay: 

  • Budget – $ – up to $30
  • Midmarket – $$ – $30 to $75
  • Upmarket – $$$ – $75 to $200
  • Luxury – $$$$ – $200 plus

When booking, make sure you know if your room comes with air-conditioning and/or mosquito nets. With lots of insects and night-time temperatures around 25°C, they can make sleeping much easier.

If you are staying for more than 3 or 4 days, it’s worth splitting your accommodation and staying at a couple of different beaches.

Alternatively, you could spend 3 days on Koh Rong and then hop over to equally stunning Koh Rong Samloem and stay a few days there. To decide which option to pick read our complete guide to Koh Rong Samloem.

WHERE TO STAY IN KOH RONG

Beautiful beaches are dotted around the coast of Koh Rong. Each beach has a different vibe attracting a different crowd with different levels of accommodation.

We have a brief description of each below along with our recommendations for the best places to stay, and a rough indication of the price.

1. KOH TOUCH

Koh Touch is the main town on Koh Rong Island. The street along the front, starting from the pier is back-to-back hostels, bars, tour providers and restaurants.

A white sand beach stretches from the pier north for about 1 kilometre. It can be a little dirty near the village and locals regularly ride their motorbikes across the sand, so it’s not the most relaxing place to hang out.

But a little further along the beach, away from the town, it starts to get more mellow. Walk around the headland to Treehouses for the most relaxing stretch of beach.

From Koh Touch it’s easy to hire a scooter to reach Long Beach (15 minutes) or walk along the beach through the jungle to Long Set Beach (45 minutes).  

In the evening, music from hole-in-the wall bars goes head-to-head with DJs on the beach. It’s not as wild as it was a few years ago, but if you are looking for budget accommodation where you can make new friends and party, then Koh Touch is the place for you.

GETTING THERE

All the main ferry companies run boats to Koh Touch. The pier is at the southern end of the beach, right in front of the village.

SWEET JUNGLE BUNGALOWS ($)

On the edge of Koh Touch Village but still quiet, these bungalows overlook either the jungle or the beach. They come with a balcony and a couple of hammocks. This is an extremely budget-friendly way to stay on Koh Rong.

TREEHOUSE BUNGALOWS ($$)

Just round the headland from Koh Touch beach, you get all the benefits of the nearby village while sleeping in peace and quiet.

These picturesque bungalows are built on stilts overlooking the sea and come with their own strip of beach with decent snorkelling.

2. LONG SET (4K) BEACH

Long Set Beach (also known as 4k Beach) is a long stretch of beautiful white sand lapped by clear turquoise water. The western end of the beach is populated by a series of bars that back onto a lagoon. The bars don’t look after the beach, so quite a lot of rubbish can pile up.

The eastern end of the beach is lovely with a sweeping arc of sand backed by jungle. There’s a mix of hostels and hotels providing a range of options for different budgets. Resort staff rake and clean up the beach every morning, so by around 7.30am the beach is almost pristine (although trash can drift back in during the day).

The hostels and hotels each serve their own food, offering a variety of options to eat along the beach.

Long Set Beach is the place to come for a general relaxing beach, with a few different types of restaurants and bars to choose from in the evening.

GETTING THERE

All the main ferry companies run boats to Long Set Beach. The pier is in the centre of the beach.

NEST BEACH CLUB ($)

Near the southern end of Long Set Beach, Nest Beach Club is a mixed dormitory hostel known for its Saturday night Nestival party.

It has a cool vibe with its own beach, and it’s a great place to meet other people. Some guests have complained that the bathrooms could do with a clean and an upgrade.

MAD MONKEY KOH RONG ($/$$)

With a choice of dormitories or private rooms, Mad Monkey has a great location on the centre of Long Set Beach. Tables and hammocks line the sea front, and there are books and games available for guests. It’s got a vibe in the evening that keeps people hanging around.

BEACHWALK KOH RONG ($$$)

Located on the most beautiful part of the beach, BeachWalk Koh Rong is the best upmarket place to stay on Long Set. The large plot of land means the bungalows are well spread and the beach front loungers are spaced out nicely under the palm trees.

There’s a large pool and the food at the restaurant is a cut above.

3. PAGODA BEACH

Pagoda Beach is, in our opinion, the most beautiful beach on the island. Soft white sand is lapped by clear water and the whole beach feels secluded with no big ferry companies stopping.  

The beach is backed by several upmarket resorts with their entrances down a gravel track from the back, keeping the front peaceful and quiet.

The resorts also take great care to keep the area free of rubbish and the beach is raked every morning.

There are no local bars or restaurants, but the resort restaurants serve non-guests, so there are 5 or 6 places to eat in the evening. Scooters can be hired to explore the island during the day.

Pagoda Beach is the best place on Koh Rong for a romantic escape on a stunning beach.  

GETTING THERE

The Pagoda Speed Ferry, operated by the resorts, leaves daily at 1:30 pm from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. The direct journey costs $40 return and takes 40 minutes.

If the timing of the daily Pagoda Speed Ferry is not convenient, take the regular speedboat to Long Set Beach and arrange pick-up from your resort ($5 per person).

THE SECRET GARDEN KOH RONG ($$$)

A great choice on this stunning beach. It has beautifully appointed rooms in a well-maintained 4-star hotel with excellent staff. All rooms come with a terrace and most have ocean views. It’s the sister hotel of BeachWalk on Long Set.

YOU & ME RESORT ($$$)

Another great 4-star hotel on a prime part of the beach. It has clean and spacious rooms with two lovely pools and a jacuzzi. The staff are friendly and can help with boat trips or transport across the island.  

4. PALM BEACH & SONG SAA ISLAND

Palm Beach and Song Saa Island are opposite each other divided by a narrow strip of water.

Song Saa is a tiny private island, where villas are perched on stilts above the water, connected by wooden walkways. It’s Cambodia’s version of the Maldives and comes with a similar price tag. There is a tiny white sand beach at one end of the island with snorkelling, sea kayaking and yoga activities on offer. It is the place to stay if you are after a slice of private luxury.

Palm Beach and Naroth Beach are opposite Song Saa on main Koh Rong Island. These two beaches are just a 5-minute walk apart and are very secluded. No one else comes here so you’ll have the beaches almost entirely to yourself.

The downside is you are a little confined to the resort in the evening, so don’t expect any nightlife. It’s not as beautiful as Pagoda beach, but it’s much cheaper and still incredibly relaxing.

GETTING THERE

Palm Beach Resort run their own boat. It leaves daily at 2 pm from the Royal Pier in Sihanoukville and costs about $25 return. If the timing of the boat is not convenient, take the speedboat to Long Set Beach and arrange pick-up.

Song Saa Private Island includes speedboat transfers in its prices.

NAROTH BEACH BUNGALOW ($$)

Naroth Beach has nicely appointed, comfortable bungalows right on the beach. Free snorkelling and kayaks are provided, and the friendly owners meticulously clean the beach every morning.

SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND ($$$$)

Song Saa villas are either located over the water or on the edge of the island. Standard rates include speedboat transfers from Sihanoukville, breakfast, snorkelling gear, SUP, kayaks and hobie sailboats. They also offer all-inclusive rates.  

song saa private island
SONG SAA

5. PREK SVAY VILLAGE

Built along a river inlet in the far north of Koh Rong, Prek Svay is a tiny fishing village. There are no great beaches here, but it’s a lovely riverside location beside a mangrove forest. It’s a great place to relax in guesthouses and take kayaks out to explore the river.

Accommodation, perched on stilts above the river, is basic but good. The village is remote, but scooters can be rented to get to other beaches, like the wonderful Lonely Beach (see below).

HOW TO GET THERE

There’s a local village supply boat that goes from Pier 52 at Sihanoukville to Prek Svay Village pier. Tickets cost $7.50 each way for foreigners and the trip takes 2.5 to 3 hours. Otherwise, you can get a tuk-tuk from Palm Beach or Long Set Beach.

prek svay village cambodia

LILY’S RIVERHOUSE ($)

Lily’s is a lovely little guesthouse perched above a quiet stretch of river, just inland from the sea. Kayaks can be hired to head up and down the river or you can just relax in their rustic outdoor space.

FIREFLY GUESTHOUSE ($)

Firefly has dorms and basic private rooms high up on stilts where the river meets the sea. It’s a lovely spot to watch life on the water and in the village go by. Sunrise followed by a swim is the perfect way to start the day. 

6. LONELY BEACH

Lonely Beach is a well-named beach in the far north of the island. It’s a 4-kilometre bike ride down a dirt track followed by a 1.5-kilometre walk (or even trickier bike ride) along a narrow sandy path.

With no resorts or major development, Lonely Beach is a slice of golden sand that is almost entirely untouched. The beaches are backed by a rocky cliff and lined with swaying palms. It is an idyllic and tranquil setting.

It makes an excellent day trip (by scooter) from other parts of the island, but it is possible to stay here. The rooms may be basic but it’s a genuine remote experience. In the evening, when the day trippers have left, you can swim out to the bioluminescent plankton that glow in the sea.

GETTING THERE

Lonely Beach is not the easiest place to get to, but that’s part of its beauty. Get the Palm Beach boat, then hire a scooter or get a tuk-tuk to head down the sandy track towards the beach. The last 1.5 kilometres is narrow, so you may want to park at the little parking station at the start of the track and hike in.  

LONELY BEACH ($)

Basic solar-powered bungalows tucked into the forest behind the beach. Hammocks, bucket showers and no wi-fi add to the primitive lifestyle. The onsite restaurant serves a mix of Asian and western food.

7. LONG (SOK SAN) BEACH

One of the few beaches on the western side of the island, Long Beach (or Sok San Beach) is 7 kilometres of dazzling white sand. Watch the colour drain from the blue-green as you enjoy one of the best sunsets on the island.

At the northern end lies Sok San Village, a small community of fishermen living in tightly packed houses with traditional wooden boats moored outside. The village has a couple of restaurants, stores, and a laundry. It is a wonderful little slice of Cambodian life on an otherwise tourist-focused island.

Long Beach begins right next to the village. A couple of boutique resorts own the prime spot with easy access to the village and the beach. These resorts are excellent places to stay on Koh Rong.

The beach is largely undeveloped however a few resorts (varying in quality) have popped up. The further south you go the more remote it gets and the more you are confined to your accommodation. Outside the resorts the beach can get a little dirty with trash, but inside the staff make a lot of effort to keep it clean. 

Along with Pagoda Beach, Long Beach is one of the best beaches on the island. Even if you don’t stay here, come for a cocktail at Long Set Beach resort and watch the dying embers of the sun glint off the waves.

GETTING THERE

GTVC runs multiple trips daily from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. Long Set Beach Resort also runs its own boat. The beach is long, so if you are not staying near Sok San Village you may need a tuk-tuk to take you to your resort.

longset beach koh rong island cambodia

WHITE SAND ARK RESORT ($$)

Excellently positioned on the northern end of the beach, this is a great place to stay to get a mix of relaxing on the beach and enjoying life in a Cambodian village.

GOLDEN BEACH RESORT ($$/$$$)

Also excellently positioned right next to White Sand Ark Resort. The bungalows overlook a pretty swimming pool with sweeping ocean views behind. The beach is pristine, there’s a gym, spa, and sunrise yoga. 

THE ROYAL SANDS KOH RONG ($$$$)

The pick of the resorts at the southern end of Long Beach, these luxurious villas overlook miles and miles of white sand. All villas have an outdoor lounge area, and some come with their own private pool. The downside is you are mainly confined to the resort in the evening.

KOH RONG MAP

We have marked the beaches and our recommended places to stay on the map below. They are colour-coded to help you get your bearings.

  • Koh Touch Beach – red
  • Long Set Beach – blue
  • Pagoda Beach – orange
  • Palm Beach & Song Saa Island – grey
  • Prek Svay Village – purple
  • Lonely Beach – green
  • Long (Sok San) Beach – brown

How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.  


GETTING AROUND KOH RONG

Beach holidays are often about lazing in the resort, but one of the joys of Koh Rong is the different beaches you can visit. A wide paved road connects many of the best beaches on the island as well as a few minor sights.

There are very few vehicles on the road and hiring a scooter for the day (about $10 per day) is a great way to explore. If a scooter doesn’t appeal road buggies and tuk-tuks are also available.

Shuttle boats plough the waters around the island. There are usually one or two a day connecting Koh Touch with Sok San Beach and Village. Alternatively, you can hire a private longtail boat to take you wherever you want.

THINGS TO DO ON KOH RONG

While you might be happy to just laze on the beach, there are a few other activities that almost all hostels, guesthouses and beach resorts can organise for you.

Snorkelling – There is some decent snorkelling around the island. Regular half day trips run on converted fishing boats. One of the most popular is Koh Touch to Long Beach (and back) stopping for snorkelling and swimming.

Diving – There are two diving operators on Koh Rong. Khmer Dive Group are on Long Set Beach and Koh Rong Dive Centre is based in Koh Touch.

Bioluminescent Plankton – One of the most popular trips is to head out to sea just after dusk and watch the bioluminescent plankton turn the sea an eerie green. It’s best if you jump in and swim with them.

Scooter Day Trip – Hire a scooter (about $10 per day) and explore the island making stops at Long Set Beach, Pagoda Beach, Mangrove Boardwalk, Lonely Beach (requires 4 km off road and a 1.5 km hike), Sok San Village, and end with sunset drinks at the Long Beach Resort. It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to ride from one end of the island to the other, but visiting all these places is a great day out.

Water Sports – Many resorts and guesthouses have kayaks and SUPs that you can either use for free or rent. Head out in the morning when it’s cooler and usually calmer.

If you are still deciding where to stay, check out our guide to Koh Rong Samloem.

MORE GUIDES TO PLAN YOUR CAMBODIA TRIP

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