A Not So Hidden Cambodian Gem: Koh Rong

In the Gulf of Thailand lies a slice of paradise waiting to be discovered: Koh Rong. Just a few hours’ boat ride from the bustling shores of Sihanoukville, this idyllic island has captivated the hearts of travelers with its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. 

Indeed, Koh Rong offers a sanctuary for those seeking both relaxation and adventure, with a laid-back vibe on one side and a vibrant party scene on the other.

Despite its growing popularity, Koh Rong retains an air of undiscovered charm. 

Boasting 43 kilometers of stunning coastline, Koh Rong is adorned with breezy thatched bungalows and purpose-built accommodations, offering a haven for those willing to trade luxury for authenticity.

Owners of property there have reflected on the discovery of Koh Rong, saying that people don’t know enough.

“I didn’t even know there were islands here when I first came to Cambodia!” a local property owner says, sentiments which echo many of those who have found solace in the island’s unspoiled beauty.

While neighboring Koh Rong Sanloem has long been favored by the expat community, Koh Rong remained largely untouched until recent years. However, with the emergence of new accommodations and daily speedboat services, Koh Rong is drawing a diverse crowd of travelers seeking the simple pleasures of island life.

Photo: Koh Rong – កោះរុង

What sets Koh Rong apart is its pristine environment, untouched by the commercialization that plagues many Thai islands. Amidst the recent development, vast stretches of untouched beaches and dense tropical jungle remain, offering an oasis of tranquility for intrepid explorers. As night falls, the shores of Koh Rong come alive with the ethereal glow of bioluminescent plankton, creating a magical spectacle reserved for those who venture off the beaten path.

For underwater enthusiasts, Koh Rong offers a vibrant marine ecosystem waiting to be explored. Dive into the depths with outings arranged by The Dive Shop and discover the kaleidoscope of colors hidden beneath the surface.

But as development encroaches upon Koh Rong’s pristine shores, there are concerns about the island’s future. With large portions leased to investment conglomerates for development projects, the serene atmosphere of Koh Rong may soon be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, initiatives are underway to preserve the island’s natural beauty and support the local community.

As the serene, rustic charm of Koh Rong faces an uncertain future, travelers are urged to seize the opportunity to experience its unspoiled beauty firsthand. From the bustling village of Koh Toch to the secluded beaches waiting to be explored, Koh Rong invites adventurers to embark on a journey of discovery before it’s too late.

Tom Starkey
Author: Tom Starkey

Tom Starkey is an International Development graduate from Sussex University with 12-years of experience across 4 continents, Tom's goal is that he wants to showcase his love for Cambodia, where he lives, works and now happily calls home.