Koh Rong Island: Why Not To Visit

Our final stop of our vacation and we had decided to venture down to Koh Rong, an island off the south west coast of Cambodia. Known and loved for its beautifully pristine beaches and the ability to see glowing plankton on a night due to lack of light pollution on this remote island. Taking a tuk tuk to the airport (who legit just popped our luggage on his bike as we sped down the motorway to the airport) we flew from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville with Cambodia Angkor Air.

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It was a short one hour flight and we landed around 11am. Grabbing our cases and whizzing through the airport (perks of domestic flights) we took a taxi down the harbour to catch a boat over to Koh Rong Island.

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A return trip on the ferry cost $25 per person and the journey time was around 40 minutes. We first pulled into port Koh Rong which is where I thought we were staying.

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This is when our trip started to go wrong, you could say Koh Rong… (I’m so punny). Anyway, we were told this wasn’t our stop, so I assumed maybe we were just further down the beach? Nope. We were on the other side of the island at a place called Coconut Beach. We pulled into a beautiful white sandy beach with blue waters, and it did look so picturesque, but it doesn’t look like there’s much going on here…

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We went to check in and here we were paying $80 a night for a hotel. Albeit, a beautifully looking hotel, but in hindsight way over paying for accommodation.

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Sadly I can only find a picture of it at night…

One thing you should know about Koh Rong before you visit is that it is a remote island and therefore electricity is incredibly temperamental and does often shut down for periods of time. All electricity comes from a generator, so things like AC (which are seriously needed in a tropical climate) are compromised. One good thing about our hotel was that it had wifi, the majority of places in Koh Rong, did not. However, this again was incredibly temperamental, would obviously cut out when the electricity did and there was no mobile reception/service on the island either. So as you can imagine you were very cut off and very warm.

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We checked in at 3pm, and by 6pm we were wondering what on earth we were going to do for the next two nights. There was no one on this island, there had been a few tourists pop in on a day boat trip, but when they left, they only left me and Millie.

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One good way to pass the time is to eat, and one good thing about Coconut Beach is that they did one of the best pad Thai’s I have ever eaten.

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I literally have nothing else to say about this island on what we did there, because there is NOTHING. If you’re wanting a holiday where you will legit do nothing apart from lay out, see no one other than the people who live here and be completely disconnected from the world whilst getting a bad nights sleep due to the stifling heat for an extortionate fee, then Koh Rong is the place for you. I have never experienced boredom quite like it.

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I read an entire book in a day, because we had nothing else to do. I do recommend this book hugely though, so if anyone wants a good summer read, then pick up a copy of A Stranger In The House by Shari Lapena, she’s one of my favourite authors. My Mum said she bought it on Amazon recently for £4, whereas I paid $16 in the airport…

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So here’s what Koh Rong has to offer…

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One thing that was disappointing, and the main reason I came to Koh Rong, was the glowing plankton. From pictures I’d seen online, such as the image below:

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However, the way to see it would be to go waist deep in the water in the pitch black of night and shake up the water to see the glowing plankton. Nothing at all like the picture above, so that was a little sad to realise.

One thing to note about this island is that it just needs a bit of TLC. It has SO much potential, and a bit of investment and care for the island (such as keeping the beaches clean of rubbish and finding a better waste management system rather than just pouring it into the sea) would be a destination of paradise that would have numerous tourists flocking to it. It just seemed a bit sad, and if I’m honest, up close and personal, a bit of a dump.

Finally, the day we had been waiting for, check out day. We had one final breakfast on the only available place on the island before we got our boat back to the mainland.

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When we arrived on the mainland, we had a few hours to kill before we went to the airport and we stopped for lunch at a little beach side restaurant. We flew with Cambodia Airways from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh International Airport so that we could catch the Emirates flight back to Dubai, via Myanmar. A bit of a downer on the end of the holiday, but it didn’t let us down with one last spectacular sunset in Sihanoukville.

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So yeah, to summarise. I wouldn’t recommend Koh Rong to ANYONE. It is not worth the effort or money travelling to get there, it doesn’t offer anything more than more accessible places do nor as beautifully. Something like this is easily achievable in Thailand or the Philippines. I’ve never felt as let down in a holiday, and there is genuinely absolutely nothing to do here. NOTHING. If you think you can cope with no AC in the humidity and heat of this climate, you can’t. I don’t know anyone who could. Do not waste your time visiting this slightly above average part of the world. 2/10.

Only six weeks to go until my next vacay, hopefully this one is better! As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more daily updates:
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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh what a let-down! They didn’t even have snorkeling or island tours?! I know I’d be bored out of my mind if I had nothing to do for two full days! Well at least you had that book 🙂

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    1. On the last day we were offered being taken out on a boat, but we were leaving in a couple of hours so no such luck. They were also charging $50 for an hour, pretty excessive! Thank goodness for the book, definitely read it if you get the chance! X

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hayley says:

    What a shame you didn’t have a nice time. If there is rubbish on the beach that isn’t nice but I disagree with you that it needs lots of tourists. I usually go out of my way to go to the quiet place with no tourists and this place looks great for a 2 day trip to me. I think you should be a bit more open minded as you state that you wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. For some people this peace would be heavenly and I’ve heard lots of good reviews about the islands off of the coast here, some of which never have electricity! I hope to visit them some day!

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    1. Yeah sewage and rubbish on a beach kind of taint the view for you. I did say if you like doing nothing then this is the place for you, but we shared a taxi when we got back to the mainland to the airport with two other groups and they both said the same thing. Boring, not worth the effort of getting there and overpriced.

      I also didn’t say it needed lots of tourists, but that a bit of TLC would have a bit more foot fall here. Being the only people sitting in a restaurant for an entire evening is not what I call enjoyable. Remember, I can’t like everywhere, and this is just my personal opinion. Don’t take it to heart. It’s just Koh Rong wasn’t for me. Maybe that sort of thing is for you though.

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