Koh Rong is an island 25km off the coast of Cambodia, it is still quite undeveloped yet has some of the top ranking beaches in South East Asia. The perimeter of the island is all beaches that go by different names. The main beach is Koh Touch, but you can go to visit any of them, some are more convenient to get to than others. As there are no through roads on the island, people get around with boats. Getting from the island to Sihanoukville is easy once you have arrived, since it is usually the same process with the same return ticket but in reverse.
From Koh Rong to Sihanoukville by slow boat
Similarly to Sihanoukville–Koh Rong journey you can choose between speedboats and slow boats.
Slow boats depart from the main beaches and the peripheral villages as they are mostly used by locals or to transport goods. These boats take roughly 2-3 hours and are USD5 each way – their price is actually the one and only factor which can make you opt for a slow local boat. They are a cheaper choice, true, if you have the time and probably won’t be as crowded as the speedboat, but you’d better know how to swim because they often break down and usually don’t have enough life jackets to go around.
On the mainland, they will drop you at Sihanoukville Port which is about 10 minutes outside of town.
To get a ticket for a slow boat from Koh Rong to Sihanoukville you have to go to the pier that they depart from or ask your guesthouse.
Note Travel agents usually do not supply tickets for slow boats as they are less popular and run at different times depending on the season (and are cheap, yes).
Usually slow boats make one trip a day, starting in Sihanoukville in the early morning around 8am and returning from the island in the afternoon around 3pm. They might not run every day to the more remote beaches, but if you tell your guesthouse in advance they will book it for you to ensure they come.
From Koh Rong to Sihanoukville by speedboat
The speedboats are much more reliable as they depart 3-4 times a day by each boat company from the main beach of Koh Touch on Koh Rong.
Note There are two piers side by side that have desks for each company, and if you have an open return ticket you will have to go to one of these to reserve your time in advance since some time slots fill up during high season.
The speedboats take from 45 mins to 1 hour to reach Sihanoukville Serendipity Pier, which is right in Sihanoukville town. The speedboat prices are regulated by the government so they are all the same price of USD20 from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong and back.
This price is for a return ticket. The majority of tour agencies in Sihanoukville sell return tickets but in fact you can buy a one-way ticket, too, so check carefully what kind of ticket you buy.
Though in some cases return tickets are slightly cheaper than two one-way tickets, we prefer buying ours one-way – we know quite well that nasty habit of some tickets to disappear from your purse/bag God-knows-when&how.
Anyway, if you have a return ticket, keep it well and reserve the time you want to return when you get off the boat. It is a good idea to reserve your return trip when you arrive because you might not stay near the pier and it saves you from coming back to write your name on the list. You do have to take the same company as you came on and they all have different time schedules so ask in advance and hang on to your ticket.
Here are the timetables for the companies running speedboats from Koh Touch on Koh Rong to Serendipity Pier in Sihanoukville. Times can change and are only for your reference.
Speed Ferry Cambodia – 10.00am, 2.30pm, 4.00pm
Buva Sea Boat – 7am, 8.45am, 10.45am, 11.45am, 2pm, 3pm, and 5pm
Island Ferry – 10.45am, 1.45pm, 4.45pm
GTVC – 8.45am, 11.45am, 2.45pm, 4.45pm
From different beaches on Koh Rong to Sihanoukville
If you stay further away from Koh Touch Village, you can take a boat to the mainland directly from your beach – no need to head to the main beach.
Sok San Beach
Sok San beach is also called Long Beach or 7-mile Beach as it is a 7-mile stretch of fine white sand, located on the opposite side of Koh Rong as the main Koh Touch beach. This is a remote yet stunning place on the island and was the location of the 31st season of the Survivor Show.
You can easily hire a boat for USD5 to take you back to Koh Touch at any time and get the return speedboat from there. However you can go directly back to Sihanoukville from Sok San, too. Here is the list of departures from the Long Beach:
Buva Sea – 1.30pm
Island Speed Ferry Cambodia – 9.30am, 12.30pm, 3.30pm. This boat stops at Koh Touch first on the way to Sok San and at Koh Rong Samloem on the way back to Sihanoukville so it will take 30 minutes longer.
Sok San Fast Cat is operated by Sok San Beach Resort and costs USD40. Normally it is only for their guests. If you stay their, you should ask to book a seat for you in advance. The boat leaves at 11am from Sok San beach.
Village slow boat takes about 3 hours and leaves from Sok San directly to Sihanoukville at 8.30am every other day for USD7. Note that it can be cancelled due to weather conditions.
Buva Sea leaves from Coconut beach for Sihanoukville at 7am, 9.15am, 12.15pm, and 3.15pm, taking about an hour and costs USD20 return
Village slow boat leaves at 8am and takes 3 hours to Sihanoukville for USD5 each way
Village slow boat departs at 3pm taking 3 hours and costs USD5 each way
Lonely Beach, Nature Beach, Vietnamese Beach
Buva Sea has four departures a day at 7am, 9.15am, 12.15pm, and 3.15pm to Sihanoukville for USD20 return taking about an hour
Angkor Speed Ferry sails to Sihanoukville three imes a day at 10.40am. 1.40pm, and 4.40pm for USD20 and takes about an hour.
From Koh Rong to Koh Rong Samloem
If you decide to go to Koh Rong Samloem, a smaller island beside Koh Rong, which is even less developed and even more beautiful, your open ended ticket will get you from there back to Sihanoukville since it is the same boat companies that run the route. They usually go from Sihanoukville to Koh Touch on Koh Rong proceeding further to Koh Rong Samloem and then back to Sihanoukville.
You just have to book a boat from island to island, which is easy to book on the beach or from your guesthouse for only USD5 a ticket on the day of travel.