Koh Touch, Koh Rong, southeast side. Booking office at Koh Rong Island Travel on Serendipity Beach Rd, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 934744
The first place you'll see when you step off the Speed Ferry pier from the fast boat is Coco's Bungalow Resort, with its wide, smooth wood, open-fronted bar and beachside papasans inviting relaxation.
It has an ‘information centre’ – though this seemed to be for the benefit of inviting guests fresh off the boat to stay at their place rather than being manned at any other time, even as the reception area for their own guests.
Run in collaboration with Koh Rong Dive Centre, Coco's is the hang-out place to hear tales of diving derring-do and boating mishaps over a beer or three. Barbecues and a full menu are served in the large restaurant and massages are provided from a dedicated hut on the hillside.
The rustic thatch bungalows climb upwards through the jungle setting and are quite tightly packed. Expect to pay a little more for a basic ensuite bathroom and better views up the hill. The Sea View and Garden View Bungalows have private bathrooms and are perfect if you want to stay in the middle of the village and be close to the bars, but sleep up on the jungle hillside in a slightly quieter and more peaceful zone. There are also three deluxe bungalows built with solid wooden walls which hold up better to the elements, with private ensuites and verandas.
They also have the only air-con dorms on the island, which are arctically-cold, beautifully laid out modern rooms stretching out from behind the bar. They’ll be even noisier than the bungalows, but then again, perhaps most of the residents will be in the bar anyway.
Proximity to the village, dive pier and other guesthouses means this is a better choice for those who like to be near the action. Not the place to catch up on sleep, but good for being social.
We forgot to write down the updated prices charged for the rooms when we visited here (below are taken from their website), because we were so irritated by the staff, who were among the worst we’ve encountered. This was not so much because they were incompetent — they gave every impression of being able to do their job — it was worse than that; they just couldn't really be bothered doing it. Once you could get their attention, we were given responses that were dismissive, bossy and just downright rude. They may be dealing with backpackers who, in fairness, might not always be the easiest crowd in the world, but there is no excuse for that attitude at any level in hospitality.
Type of room, low and high season prices
Room: Bungalow fan private bathroom, low season: US$20, high season US$30. Notes: Add $5 for a seaview
Room: Deluxe bungalow, low season: US$50, high season US$60. Notes:
Koh Touch, Koh Rong, southeast side. Booking office at Koh Rong Island Travel on Serendipity Beach Rd, Sihanoukville.
T: (034) 934744
Room rates: US$10 to 35