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Koh Rong Samloem

Getting there and away

Boat

Being an island, transits to Koh Rong Samloem are subject to the mood of the weather. Boats may leave or arrive late and you shouldn't rely on a quick transfer to a bus when returning to Sihanoukville.

Two different fast boat services will have you soaking up the sun in paradise in the blink of an eye -- one fast and one exceedingly fast, which make the direct journey between Serendipity and Saracen Bay. The Speed Ferry ($20 open return) leaves the mainland at 08:00 and 15:00 and stops first at Saracen Bay (45 minutes), then Eco Sea Dive Centre and then M'pay Bei -- all on Koh Rong Samloem -- before heading over to Koh Touch beach on Koh Rong. You can purchase interconnecting tickets on the island at Orchid Resort on Saracen Bay. If staying at M'Pay Bei and wishing to take the connection to Koh Touch on Koh Rong you just pay on the boat, not in advance. Be aware, however, that occasionally, and with no apparent predictability, the boat can go to Koh Rong Island before M'Pay Bei. If that happens, you can't get from M'Pay Bei to Koh Rong via the fast boat and would need to take a longtail, taking up considerably more time and money. Speed Ferry returns from Saracen Bay at 10:00 and 16:00, so it is possible to visit only for a day without having to join an organised tour like The Party Boat.

The faster boat, ISpeed, costs more ($15 one-way, $30 return) but only takes 20 minutes to get from Sihanoukville to Saracen Bay. It then stops at Koh Touch on Koh Rong -- it does not stop at Eco Sea or M'Pay Bei. The companies seemed to be in a price war when we last visited so expect rates to change.

Neither fast boat goes to the west of the island, which means to get to Lazy Beach or Robinson's and Huba Huba on Sunset beach you can only take a slow boat arranged through these accommodations. If you end up on the east side, it'll be a 20-minute flat walk to get to Lazy beach through the forest and jungle, or a 45-minute hike which goes uphill then down again to reach Sunset. Not so fun with luggage.

Properties at the most northern and southern tip of Saracen Bay offer their own longtail boat services -- these take longer but avoid the need to drag suitcases on the sand as the fast boat pier is in the middle of the bay and it's a reasonably long stretch of sand.

Alternatively, the triple-decker Party Boat leaves Serendipity Pier in Sihanoukville at 09:30, departing The Beach on Saracen Bay at around 15:00 to return to the mainland. The journey time is less than two hours on a calm day -- but still can't match the fast boat. Due to the boat's size, a small amount of wading and a short transfer on a smaller boat is required. The $10 one-way tickets are available at Serendipity Pier in Sihanoukville and The Beach at Saracen Bay.

    Getting Around

    There are no cars, motos, horses, tuk tuks or ox-carts for tourists on the island. The lengths of all beaches are easily stroll-able. You'll need to rely on your feet to get from Saracen Bay over to Sunset and Lazy beaches or the lighthouse -- these are accessed via separate paths. There is no path connecting Sunset beach to Lazy beach on the western side by foot -- boat is the only option. The fast boat services make getting between Saracen Bay and M'Pei Bei a journey of just five minutes.


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