Koh Rong is an island 25km off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. To get there, you need to take a boat from Sihanoukville Serendipity Pier to the main beach of Koh Touch (most common) or from Sihanoukville Port to one of the other beaches. There are two types of boats, slow boats and speed boats, that both run regular trip, 3 to 4 times a day during daytime only, roughly from 8am to 5pm depending on the season and the weather.
From Sihanoukville to Koh Rong by slow boatThe slow boats are usually double-deck old boats that transfer goods and locals between the island and the mainland, taking about 2.5 hours and usually leaving from the Port. These are locally run and the schedules depend on the beach you are going to and the weather. On the con side is that you will have to go to the port to book a seat – do not expect too much in the sense of comfort! – but on the pro side is that these boats are cheaper than the speed boat and cost approximately USD5 each way.
From Sihanoukville to Koh Rong by speed boatThe speed boats are run by 5 different companies, and take from 45 mins to 1 hour. In theory they all should be the same price (USD20 including return) as of January 2017 the government started to regulate the price policy of the operators, but in reality you still can find some better deals – yeah, it is Cambodia, my friend! All these companies offer nearly identical service and only vary in the size of the boat. They are all modern and safe and provide life jackets for the hundred or so people on board.
Here are the boat companies from Serendipity Beach Pier, Sihanoukville, to Koh Touch Beach, Pier, Koh Rong
- Speed Ferry Cambodia is arguably the most reliable and common company that travel agents carry. Departure times: 9.00am, 11.30am, 3.00pm. It costs from USD15 return.
- Island Speed Ferry – Departure times: 9am, 12pm, 3pm
- Buva Sea Cambodia Ferry – Departure times: 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm, 3:30pm, 5pm
- GTVC Boat – Departure times: 8 am, 11am, 2pm, and 4pm. This boat leaves from Sihanoukville port but will pick you up from your hotel. It costs USD12
- Angkor Speed Ferry – Departure times: 8.30am, 11.30am, 2.30pm.
All the boats leave from Serendipity Beach Pier in Sihanoukville except for GTVC which leaves from Sihanoukville port. The pier is central in town and every tuk-tuk and hotel will know it, whereas the port is a 10-minute drive outside of town.
Arriving to Koh Touch BeachNote When you arrive at Koh Touch Beach, there are of two piers right next to each other, but it is important to remember that you will have to leave from the same pier (and boat) that you arrive to since your ticket is a return fare.
Tip Even though your departure time is open, you must reserve a time to come back and should do it in advance if you need to be back in Sihanoukville at a specific time.
Koh Touch Beach is very small but is the busiest part of the island with many restaurants and guesthouses. From here you can walk down the beach to more secluded accommodations or hire a smaller boat to take you to another part of the island since there are no through roads. It is recommended to reserve accommodation before arriving, at least for one night as there is a limited selection. Your travel agent can help you with this or you can call any guesthouse that you may know the name of.
Arriving to other beachesYou can also get boats to other beaches of Koh Rong, Long Beach (also known as Sok San or 7-mile beach), Daem Thkov, Prek Svay, or Lonely Beach (where you will probably be the only guest).
Note Boats leaving from the Port are more difficult to book in advance as most travel agents and hotels partner with the regular speed boats, but if you want a more direct route or don't mind going yourself to the port to book, there are more options available depending on the season.
Buva Sea runs twice a day for USD25 return and takes about an hour.
Island Speed Ferry runs three times a day but continues to Long beach after Koh Touch so takes longer and costs USD25.
Fast Cat leaves from Sihanoukville port twice a day, taking about an hour but is specifically for guests of Sok San Beach Resort and costs USD40 return. Normally they do not take on board other passengers.
Slow Boat leaving from Sihanoukville port once a day, it departs from different piers and times depending on the day so you should have good negotiation skills to find out where to catch it. The slow boat takes about three hours to reach Long Beach and might not run often in low season but only costs USD7.
Buva Sea has a speed boat that goes 4 times per day for USD20 to Coconut beach at 8am, 11am, 2pm, and 5pm.
Slow boat is a budget-friendly option at USD5 each way. This is the local village boat that leaves from Sihanoukville at 8am and returns at 3pm, taking roughly 2.5 hours.
This is another village on the island that has a slow village boat going once per day, leaving Sihanoukville port at 7am and returning at 3pm, costing USD5 each way.
Lonely Beach and Palm Beach resorts are on their own beach and offer daily connections directly from the guesthouse, so you will have to contact them to arrange.
Long Set Beach, Nature Beach, Vietnamese Beach
These beaches are further down from Koh Touch and you would only go here if you have already booked accommodation in this part of the island as it is about 45 minute walk from the main pier.
Buva Sea takes about an hour and costs USD20 return, running 4 times a day at 8am, 11am, 2pm, and 5pm.
Angkor Speed Ferry sells tickets at USD20 to Long Set beach and takes about an hour, running Sihanoukville to Koh Rong (Long Set Beach) at 8.30am, 11.30am, and 2.30pm.
Note You can buy tickets for all speed boats at your hotel or at the pier.
Tip Most travel agencies or hotels only have one boat provider so you do not have much flexibility. If you are looking for a specific departure time, you may need to go to a few different travel agents to find the departure convenient for you. As boats are frequent enough, this usually isn't a problem.
Note If you buy a return ticket, remember that all tickets from the speed boats are open. It means that they do not specify the time your boat will leave, but only the boat company. This means that midday boats are often busier and it is worthwhile to get there early to make sure you are not the last one in line as it may fill up.
Tip During high season (December to March), it is a good idea to book a few days in advance. During rainy season some boats may be cancelled or delayed due to the weather and rough water conditions. As your ticket does not reserve a time, you can use it on the next available boat and will just have to wait.
During high season, sometimes there are too many people or supplies that slow the loading and unloading and the boats may be up to an hour late.
From Sihanoukville to Koh Rong by charter boatYou can also hire a private fishing boat to go to any beach on Koh Rong for about USD100-USD150 return depending if you go through a travel agent or not. So it is possible to do day trips and if you have a large group, this is not a bad price at all.
Koh Rong tips
One thing to prepare in advance is your cashflow, as there are no ATMs on the island and the further you go from Koh Touch Beach, the fewer resources you will have.
Many parts of the island do not have wifi, shops or electricity after 10pm, so bring enough sunscreen and cash for your trip. There are plenty of shops along the Pier road in Sihanoukville to stock you up for this reason.
Why go to Koh Rong
Koh Rong is ranked to have some of the best beaches in Asia, and is still quite undeveloped so you may have a whole beach to yourself. Beaches surround every bay of the island with different points of interest, for sunset or party, or water activities. The waters are crystal clear with ample snorkeling and the sand is squeaky white clean. The largest beach, Sok San Beach, is 7 miles long – it is where Survivor was filmed – and has many cheap guesthouses just a few meters from the shore or a higher end resort that offers fine dining and luxury accommodations.
Onward travel from Koh Rong
From Koh Rong you can go directly back to Sihanoukville or catch another boat to the smaller Koh Rong island, Koh Rong Samloem, for USD5. This island is a little more remote and off the grid but perhaps more beautiful for its seclusion. Again, be sure to book accommodation prior to your arrival as they often fill up. From there you can get back to Sihanoukville with your original ticket as boat operators service both islands.