Koh Rong Samloem Island is one of those places that you want to run out and tell the world about, but at the same time keep your own little secret. With simply a smattering of low key accommodation, the island continues to be very underdeveloped, and its own pristine beauty is totally unspoiled by travel and leisure. There’s not really a lot taking place on the island except an extremely beautiful beach and the chance to disconnect from “true to life.”
Koh Rong Island, after experiencing the damage that over tourism has still left on the islands of Thailand, we were getting excited about somewhere from the grid. As our sailboat taken up from the pier, we were amazed at the sheer insufficient people. It had been almost eerily tranquil. From the mainland, it had taken us time to changeover from the busyness of city life to tranquil island living. In a couple of hours though we were pleased to float around in the relaxed drinking water, read a reserve on the shoreline and benefit from the serenity to do nothing.
What To Expect
Unlike Koh Rong, its touristier counterpart, Samloem has not been spoiled by the backpacker party culture. This means quiet days, even quieter nights and the chance to feel like you’re part of the natural scenery. Those that are looking for a break from the party in Koh Rong or Sihanoukville will enjoy the laid-back atmosphere. Be ready for some rustic living, though. Electricity runs on generators and only during certain hours of the day. Don’t even both asking for wifi. Wifi on the island is like hearing an urban legend, you’ve heard of a friend of a friend who has used it, but you’ve never seen it yourself. Our advice? Give in and enjoy the chance to completely unplug.
Where To Stay
There are several options on the island, most of which are located along Saracen Bay. The accommodation lines the beach, but be quick getting off the vessel, in the high season it can be a mad scramble to find a budget room. Getting off the dock and turning right you’ll find The Beach Vacation resort with budget accommodation including dorms. The cheapest option we found is staying in a rental tent for $5 per person. You can find Nice Dreams (more affectionately known as Alex’s Place) if you walk out from the dock, change left and head down the beach ten minutes or so. The business is run by a few Russian couples. Say hi to Alex for us, he’s a tan Russian in short shorts and a fanny pack happily chatting away with customers. Don’t expect luxury here. Yes, you’re sleeping in a tent and no, there’s no operating water. But when you wake up in the morning, one unzip of the tent reveals a stunning view of the turquoise water. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Where To Eat
Food on the island is pricey because it all needs to come in by motorboat. There’s a small convenience store on the island, but nowhere to buy proper groceries. If you’re on a budget, the best bet is Nice Dreams. They have an arranged menu where you can get a drink, main and dessert for only a few dollars. For any step up, check out the Orchid Vacation resort Restaurant, which will be smack in front of you as you come off the dock. We loved their fish sandwich and their seemingly never-ending supply of chilly beers. If you’re looking for something elegant and romantic, check out the Sun Island Eco Town Restaurant.
What to Do
Koh Rong Samloem Island is a popular choice for divers. There are many diving shops on the island and the knowledge is supposed to be really special. Unlike some regions of Southeast Asia, this place has been well maintained, so there’s a much better chance of viewing a larger variety of sea life.
For non-divers, the island doesn’t have much to provide in conditions of activities. You are able to walk over the island, through the jungle to Lazy Beach for a few snorkeling. In any other case, the beach along Saracen Bay is an extended remove of white fine sand dotted with swings, beach mattresses, and chairs to invest your day comforting in sunlight. The sea is so toned you can walk in the water for 100 meters before actually getting the hips damp. There might not be strawberry daiquiris or an infinity pool, but Koh Rong Samloem Island is really as close you’ll reach an extravagance beach vacation resort for $5 per night time. Besides, the underdevelopment provides you a feel for the uncooked natural splendor of Cambodia. There are no high-rise resorts to stop your view of the sea and during the night when the generators shut down and the light disappears, you’re remaining with a sky filled with brilliant stars.