The Cheapskate's Guide To Koh Rong, Cambodia

The Cheapskate's Guide To Koh Rong, Cambodia
Contributing Writer
| 4 min read

Trying to find a nice white sandy beach to rest your feet on feels like only a dream for some, and the crystal blue clear water is just a bonus. In Cambodia, the islands that dot the infamous Sihanoukville are but a boat trip away, which will allow you to experience some of life’s greatest wonders. What’s more is that the cost of such a trip doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket — in fact, you probably save more money than you think. Koh Rong is one of the more well-known islands off Cambodia’s coast, requiring only a short 45-minute boat journey. There are an array of guesthouses and bungalows to choose from, both away from the tourist buzz and in the thick of the sea of backpackers. You can have a truly spoilt weekend with your friends, family or loved ones in one of Cambodia’s most beautiful tourist destinations — here’s how to pamper yourself on a budget.

How to reach Koh Rong

Koh Rong Saluem beach
Source: Photo by user Ivo Posthumus used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Getting to Koh Rong is a two step process, you can begin your journey from Phnom Penh: the first step is catching a bus, the second step will be to catch a speed boat. You can get a night bus from the capital that leaves at 1:30 am, arriving in Sihanoukville, your first port of call before Koh Rong, before the first boats leave to go to the islands (the bus trip is around 4 – 5 hours long). There are also options for booking a taxi or minibus to the coast if there is a large group of you; prices for these trips can vary between 40,000 KHR – 80,000 KHR (10 – 20 USD) depending on how many people you’ll be travelling with. This would also cover the trip back to the capital, so if you wanted to stay 2 nights in Koh Rong, you can arrange a time for the driver to pick you up in Sihanoukville to take you back to Phnom Penh.

If you have an extra day and would prefer to travel in the daytime, there are plenty of bus companies that leave in the morning or afternoon that cost between 28,000 KHR – 48,000 KHR (7 – 12 USD) and take 4 – 6 hours depending on the traffic. Once you arrive, you should head to Serendipity Pier to catch your boat. This should be booked in advance in Phnom Penh or a day before in Sihanoukville to secure your place. The main departure times are 9 am, 12 pm or 4 pm. The speed boat trip to Koh Rong and back will be the most expensive part of the trip, costing 80,000 KHR (20 USD).

Enter the white sandy beaches of Koh Rong

The boats of Koh Rong, Cambodia.

Once you arrive in Koh Rong after a 45 minute journey, you’ll see the beautiful white sands and crystal clear water that remind you the journey was worth it after all. From here you should unload your stuff before you hit the beach.

Depending on the size of your group and how much you want to spend, there are a myriad of bungalows and guesthouses that can cater to your requirements. All in all though, they are relatively similar. Keep in mind that it’s best to book your stay well in advance to avoid disappointment. Most places cost between 40,000 KHR – 80,000 KHR (10 – 20 USD) for a shared private room. As for food and drinks, most main meals cost between 12,000 – 20,000 KHR (3 – 5 USD) and anything alcoholic starts from 12,000 KHR (3 USD), unless you’re satisfied with 4000 KHR (1 USD) beers.

Sun, sea, and lots of long island ice teas...

Both sitting on the deck chairs and going to explore are acceptable options on this beautiful island getaway.

The beaches, of course, don’t cost you anything, and the scenery is beyond breathtaking. In fact, there’s more than just one beach you can visit. With over 40 km (24.85 mi) of beaches to walk along and the sea teeming with wondrous marine life, and the odd dog and bar, you’ll be happy to spend your time in Koh Rong. Koh Touch is the main area where most of the party scene is and is also the first beach you see upon arrival. However, it’s relatively easy to head to a quieter, more scenic beach to sunbathe on if you’re looking to get away from that vibe. Some of the beaches around Koh Rong can be just a 20 minute walk between one beach and another, and others can be reached by boat from Koh Touch Pier.

If you’re after something more energetic, there are many boats tours available throughout the day. The tours start from 40,000 KHR (10 USD) and you can find tours that include fishing, snorkelling, a BBQ on the boat, finding glowing blue plankton and touring the Cambodian coast. You can practically feel like royalty on these beaches, with still plenty in your pocket for other excursions or future holiday plans — assuming your Cambodian adventure doesn’t end here.

Beach holidays don't need to be expensive

Although the actual travelling to the island from Phnom Penh is probably the biggest expense, it’s worth it to see the beautiful beaches that Cambodia has to offer. It is possible for your entire trip to cost under 100 USD for a weekend. With many beach holidays, the worrying factor is the cost of the whole trip; however, Koh Rong delivers with a cheap and cheerful getaway to some of Southeast Asia’s pristine beaches, mingling with other like-minded backpackers and also catering to those eager to leave the party behind. For biodiversity and amazing Instagram photos without the scary prices, try Koh Rong.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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After living in Southeast Asia for 18 months, working in SEO and magazines, Kali now works for the likes of Google and other digital marketing companies. In her spare time, travel and writing take...Read more

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