Koh Rong Samloem, sometimes spelled Sanloem is the one tiny island on the very south of Cambodia. It’s slightly remote and you can still experience here the off-grid way of life. You’ll find here long, lonely beaches, dense jungle, roosters coming to wake you up right into your bed, and no roads. You hear me. There are seriously no roads at all. Only sand! It’s still untouched but this is about to change very soon.
The lifestyle in Koh Rong Samloem
I came to this island in the monsoon season, which means even fewer people and heavy rains all the night&day long. As Cambodia was a very spontaneous idea, I had no clue it would rain that hard all the time. At first, I was picturing myself just like a beach bum the whole day and getting my darkest tan ever.
Fortunately, few days I managed to do this but after all, most of them were just running in the rain, swimming in the rain, almost no sleep because of the loud rain, etc.. Nonetheless, it was still heaps much fun! When were you last swimming at night while it was raining outside? Or imagine us, all the travelers and few locals of this village sitting under one roof, drinking beers, and waiting till the rain stops…Rain brings people together!
Although, if you really want to enjoy, I recommend you to come in high season, for sure. And if you’re curious what to do in here, just keep on reading and see my miniguide.
Things to do in Koh Rong Samloem island
- Beach hopping and Clearwater bay trek – If the weather is good you can go on a boat trip and go to see all the beautiful beaches of this island. Otherwise, you can just beach hop by yourself in this cute, cozy village. You will find long, sandy beaches perfect for reading your book or just to catch up on your travel diary.
Basically, you can do whatever you want, because nobody will see you. I used to do yoga, dance the craziest way I can with my hula hoop, and only enjoyed having it all for me. If you’d like, you can go also on a little jungle trek, and in an hour you’ll come to the Clearwater Bay. Takes one hour to get there, but believe me, totally worth the walk. Either way, you don’t want to get lazy!
- Yellow moon boat trip – this one costs only 8$ and it’s so much fun! A totally affordable boat trip where you’ll go snorkeling to the two lonely bays. Clear turquoise water, and huge white corals underneath. The next stop is a fishing stop, which should be very easy because everybody, EVERYBODY managed to catch a fish!! Except me of course. Fish know that I love them so I don’t kill them. After the boat trip, you’ll come back to the island where you’ll have a BBQ together, and you’ll eat the fish you caught.
- Time to shine like Tinkerbells – Oh this one was our favorite! Experience real ” The Beach” (the movie). Every night, around 2 am after the two bars closed, my travel mates and I used to go skinny-dipping with the bioluminescent plankton. This is the plankton that shines at night, like little glitters in the water. They say that if you go naked, you can see even more of it. Well, definitely worked for us!
Who wouldn’t love to swim at night covered by shiny little glitters all over his body? And if you would like to feel like a fairy, you totally can! Just shake your hair above the water, and the new Tinkerbell is born! Or you might even feel like the stars from the sky just landed onto your hair. Haha, it’s an incredible experience! Although, make sure that you go swimming when it is cloudy and far away from the village lights. That is when the visibility of the plankton is the best.
Fancy a good food for a cheap price? Well, there are two popular places to eat. One is a place where everything costs 1,50$ or less, and you can find anything in here. Asian and western food, sweet brownies, waffles to sandwiches and rice curries. The pretty similar offer has the Kiki restaurant almost right next to it, where everything costs 2$. These guys are a bit pricier but you can have a nice sitting here, with bigger portions and a very similar variety of meals. Whatever you choose, I’m sure you ‘ll enjoy!
***About the brownies, these are the normal brownies. Though if you ‘re up to a funky night with the happy brownies, check out the hostel called The Drift! You can even get in here a happy birthday cake! And don’t you worry, happy brownies in Cambodia are actually legal. Not to mention they cost the same as the sad brownies. As always though, if you try these make sure you’re safe and don’t eat a lot because they’re insanely strong.
PLACES TO STAY
There are many hostels and guesthouses, although the most popular are Dragonfly, Yellow moon hostel, Bongs with their rustic wooden style of dorms and The Drifts.
The Drifts is a very cool place with private rooms, some of them have nice balconies with hammocks and a bar for people to socialize. If I had more money, I would definitely stay in this place! Also, sometimes they make little, cozy movie nights, which you can join even if you ‘re not their guest. Such lovely people..
Yellow moon hostel. This is where I worked and stayed for free. People in the village say that this one is one of the best businesses on the island. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the atmosphere at this hostel!
It has a little bar where you can get a can of a beer for 1$ or enjoy cheap cocktails during the happy hour every evening. Often you can see here also a live concert or Khmer fire shows. Obviously, this is the top reason why most of the backpackers love to hang out in this place.
***Dorms in most of these places cost 5$/night. However, I came in low season so the prices may vary depending on what month you come. You can definitely find so much more places to stay, like private bungalows, more expensive guesthouses, etc.. I just mentioned in here the ones that I found to be the best and the cheapest.
HOW TO GET THERE
So, if you’re already all motivated, excited and ready to explore the happy village of this island, just come to Sihanoukville, the party city of Cambodia. Then, right next the Serendipity beach is a pier from where you hop on a boat to Koh Rong Sanloem ( make sure to not to confuse it with Koh Rong) and get off in M’Pai Bay. The travel takes about 1 hour on the boat and costs 10$. Only one hour to paradise!
Well, that s it for this little place..hope you ‘ll enjoy it! Happy travels!
…Have you been to Koh Rong Sanloem? Let me know what was your favorite thing about the island.
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