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  • Writer's pictureIne Vandenwyngaert

Koh Rong & Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia: Comparing both islands

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem are small islands located off the coast of Sihanoukville in Cambodia. Known for their white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforests, these islands are the perfect destination for travelers who are looking for a relaxing and secluded getaway. In this travel guide, we compare both islands, including how to get there, which area to stay, and things to do.

Koh Rong Sanloem Cambodia
Koh Rong Sanloem


Check out our video about the Koh Rong Islands to see what you can expect!

How to get to the Koh Rong islands

To get to the Koh Rong islands, you must first travel to the seaside city of Sihanoukville. This can be done by plane, train, or bus depending on where you’re coming from. Once in Sihanoukville, you can take a ferry to either island. Ferries depart multiple times per day and the ride takes about 30-45 minutes. All ferry services will charge roughly $25 return, though prices can vary depending on the time of year, special offers, etcetera.

You can also take a ferry between the two islands, but you have to buy a separate ticket for this route. Once you arrive at your accommodation on the island, your host can help you arrange your journey to the next one.

Koh Rong islands cambodia
Long Set Beach, Koh Rong

Where To Stay on Koh Rong Sanloem

There are three main areas on the island where you can stay. These include:

Saracen Bay: This is the most popular beach on the island, and it is where most of the tourist infrastructure is located. Saracen Bay has a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury accommodations. It’s also where we stayed and we highly recommend this area! These are the hotels we recommend:

M-pai Bay: This is the main village where locals live. It has some budget accommodation options and restaurants, but it is less developed than Saracen Bay.

Lazy Beach and Sunset Beach: These beaches are located on the opposite side of the island. They are currently only accessible by walking, so they are quieter and more secluded. There are a few beach accommodations with limited facilities here as well.

What to do on Koh Rong Sanloem

  • Relaxing on the beach: The island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Cambodia. You can spend your days swimming, sunbathing, and reading a book.

  • Afternoon boat tour: You can take a tour to do some snorkeling, fishing, watching the sunset, and seeing the illuminating plankton. The waters around Koh Rong Sanloem are teeming with marine life.

  • Walking: The island has a number of trails that wind through the rainforest. You can walk to waterfalls, viewpoints, and hidden beaches, or simply go for a beach walk.

  • Watching the sunset: The best places to watch the sun go down include The Cliff at M-pai bay, Sunset Beach, and Lazy Beach

  • Enjoy the facilities at the accommodation: we stayed at the Onederz hostel, which had a nice bar, restaurant, fire show, and games. Some hotels also have a swimming pool. We included some great accommodation options for this island in the description below the video for you.

Saracen Beach at Koh Rong Sanloem Cambodia
Saracen Beach at Koh Rong Sanloem

Where To Stay on Koh Rong

There are various areas to stay on the island, but the most common ones include:

Koh Touch: This is the main town on the island filled with bars, restaurants, guesthouses, and bungalows. It is the most vibrant and lively part of the island.

Long Set Beach: This is a more laid-back area located on the north side of the island. Long Set Beach has a long stretch of white sand beach with a selection of budget- and mid-range beachfront accommodations, restaurants, and bars. This is where we stayed and it was our favorite area on the island.

Recommended places to stay:

Pagoda Beach: This is a quiet and secluded area located on the east side of the island. Pagoda Beach has a few luxury resorts.

Long Beach & Sok San Beach: This is a high-end area located on the southwest side of the island. There are a number of luxury resorts and private beaches here.

What to do on Koh Rong

  • Relaxing at your accommodation and enjoying the beach: This is really what the island is about.

  • Snorkeling and diving: You can find colorful fish, coral reefs, and other marine creatures in the waters around the island and there are a few dive centers that offer such tours.

  • Going on a boat tour: Similar to Koh Rong Sanloem, you can also do a boat tour from this island. This includes some snorkeling, fishing, relaxing at the beautiful Long Beach, and seeing the illuminating plankton. The boat tours seemed to be more expensive here than on Koh Rong Sanloem.

  • Renting a scooter: Explore the island by land and stop at the fisherman’s village to see the local life, the mangrove forest (Prek Ta Sok Eco-Tourism Community), and the beaches in the other areas. Just be aware that there are quite some abandoned places as well as public beaches with lots of trash.

Long Set Beach at Koh Rong island cambodia
Long Set Beach at Koh Rong

Koh Rong vs Koh Rong Sanloem: which one is better?

Both Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem are idyllic escapes for travelers seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, and natural beauty. But there are few main differences:

Koh Rong Sanloem, the smaller and lesser-known of the two sisters, exudes a more intimate and laid-back vibe. Backpackers are drawn to its affordable prices and serene beaches, making it a budget-friendly paradise.

Koh Rong, on the other hand, has gained a reputation as a party island. However, its diverse landscape offers something for everyone. Koh Touch, the island's main hub, boasts a bustling nightlife scene, while secluded beaches like Long Set Beach, Pagoda Beach and Sok San Beach offer a tranquil oasis.

Both islands are undergoing rapid development, with new roads and resorts sprouting up all the time. It's best to consult with your accommodation host for up-to-date information and recommendations.

For us, we liked Koh Rong Sanloem the most for its more relaxed vibes overall and it felt like a more intimate experience on a secluded jungle island. But everyone has different preferences, so choose the one that is best for your travel style.

Map Koh Rong Islands

Find all the places to go, eat, drink, and stay on the Koh Rong Islands on Google Maps. To follow and save the list, do the following:

  1. Tap on the link to open it (click button below)

  2. Tap Follow. This list will now be added to the group of lists you follow.

  3. Optional: To unfollow a list someone shared with you, tap the list Saved.

If you follow the list we made, all our saved places of the Koh Rong Islands will show up in Your Places. The places will also appear as suggested locations in Google Maps.

phnom penh cambodia google map


Use These Websites To Save Money On Your Trip To the Koh Rong Islands


Are you having a hard time planning your trip to the Koh Rong Islands? Get our Interactive Travel Planner to keep it all organized.

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Need more travel inspiration? Check out our other destinations and articles about Cambodia:

World Wild Hearts

Hi! We are Ine & Zac. An international travel couple from Belgium and the US. We created World Wild Hearts to inspire life-changing travel experiences like we've had. Use these tips, stories, and guides to inspire your next adventure of a lifetime!


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