I plan to get in 3 days or so of beach time and I'm going to go to Sihanoukville first to get a visa for Vietnam. So I was wondering what is the best island no more than a 3 hour boat ride from Sihanoukville?
I don't need a party scene, nor do I need it to be extremely quiet. It doesn't really matter to me. What I am looking for is beautiful clean beaches, cheap clean accommodations, and safety. I'm traveling alone. Any suggestions?
The following story may be a good starting point:
Which Cambodian island is right for you?
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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It isn't near Sihanoukville but I enjoyed Koh Tonsay near KEP. It is just a little island with not a whole lot to do but is a nice place to relax for a few days. Housing is very basic but also very cheap, food and drinks are cheap and decent. Safety definitely wouldn't be an issue. If you want a place to just relax in a hammock, have a few beers, read a book or have a massage then it is definitely worth a look.
Laid back with a hammock sounds great. Kep doesn't really fit into my schedule unfortunately. So I'll have to stick to the islands closer to s-ville. I'm getting my Vietnam Visa there, so it's kind of a must to go that way.
I'm still really debating. I just want a clean beautiful beach. A hammock would be awesome. haha. And I wouldn't mind there being at least a few other people around. I don't want to isolated. I also don't want to hear the thumping of music until 3am.
Okay after further investigation and reading up on the accommodations that I was able to find (I feel like I'm missing some), I've narrowed it down a little. I even considered the trip to Rabbit Island, but decided against it. So I'm debating between the two big islands. Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem.
I really wanted to keep costs down, but I see that isn't going to happen unless I'm willing to stay in a dorm and party all night. And I'd consider it if it seemed like I wouldn't also get my stuff swiped.
So I'm just wondering if any of you have any recent experience with any of these places that I'm about to list. Namely bedbugs, theft, and unsanitary conditions overall. I don't mind the gecko stuck to my wall. It's part of being in that environment. I do mind unwashed sheets and the like. It's not nature I'm concerned with. It's the filth from other people. :)
Where I'm thinking ofâ€¦.
- Sok San Beach Bungalows
*I'm not sure if I can even get a room here as it doesn't show up on any of the sites. I'd have to email them. Tripadvisor says it's on the east side of the island, but that's wrong. $25.
Koh Rong Somloem:
- Sun Island Eco Village
- Sunset Bungalows
*I can't seem to figure out how to book with them. They only show their diving prices, which I'm not really interested in.
I thought I had more that I was choosing from. Any suggestions? I'm trying to keep it under $25. I'd really like to pay about $14, but I also kind of want my own space. So that won't happen.
I can't help with those islands as I haven't been there but I just wanted to mention you can get a Vietnam Visa in Kampot, no need to actually go to Sihanoukville unless you really want to.
The visa's I believe usually take 2 days but if you get there early enough you might even be able to get it the next day(they send your passport up to Sihanoukville).
Alternatively if you are spending time in Phnom Penh you can get it there too.
It's near impossible to get your own bungalow with ensuite for less than $20 on Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloem , I'm afraid. There are cheaper rooms available on the main beach at Koh Touch, but you'll be close to the party places, which it seems you don't want.
There's more accommodation than the few you're mentioned - there's fairly comprehensive lists here with contact details:
You may well need to call or email to get a booking, as they don't all do internet booking sites.
Angkor Chum (next to Sok San Bungalows) had slightly newer bungalows which therefore might seem more sanitary. Palm Beach resort was pretty spotless, and it's well away from the party beach.
Bedbugs are often not a sign of an unclean guesthouse, and more to do with a traveller bringing them from somewhere else. They are a pain to deal with, but most places will make the effort to sort them out. However, I understand you wanting to avoid them!
The nicest island bathrooms I've seen are at Paradise Bungalows on Koh Rong and Saracen Bay Resort on Koh Rong Samloem (but out of your price range) and Koh Thmei Resort on Koh Thmei.
As Abigail pointed out there are many more options, many of which won't have websites or even email addresses(and if they do may not check them). The cheaper places in particular you probably won't find except in travelfish listings or on similar other lists.
As for cleanliness, I never had an issue with dirty sheets etc in Cambodia(did a couple times in Laos). I bought a sleeping bag liner and took it with me and have to say having something like that comes in very handy when you end up in a place with questionable(or itchy) sheets.
Bedbugs are hard to predict, just learn how to search for them and check the mattress before committing to stay. Bathrooms can be the biggest issue but nothing really you can do other then take a look before committing to staying. Unfortunately bathroom sanitation isn't a huge thing in Cambodia so you will likely have to lower your expectations a little in this regard(and if it is a big issue for you avoid bus stop washrooms).
Theft can be an issues in some places as some of the bungalows aren't very secure(take a padlock with you since that is often how they are locked and you will feel better with your lock on there). Put little locks on your bags if you can do that otherwise figure out some way to lock up your valuables in your backpack.
Yeah I know you can get them elsewhere. It's the fact that I'd have it in my hands within an hour most likely. That's what is appealing about that route for me. I don't like the idea of having to stay somewhere until it's ready. I've read stories of people not getting them for 2 days after they were suppose to. I just don't want to waste time waiting around.
Yes, I scoured through tons and tons of accommodations there. The ones I pulled out were the ones that interested me and were within my budget. I think Palm beach was a bit over what I wanted to pay if I recall. I can't remember why I ruled out the other one you mentioned. I definitely want to avoid bedbugs! It would be horrible if I brought them home with me as I know they are very difficult to get rid of.
The places that don't have reviews on them, I'm just skipping. So if it's not online and I can't read what people are saying about it, it's not for me this time around. Maybe if I had more time to decide on the fly what I'm doing. But I kind of need to plan this.
Bathrooms... well I don't except much honestly. I won't touch anything if I can help it. That's how I am in ALL public restrooms though. In fact, I'm that way at friends' houses. haha. So unless it's really bad, it's not an issue.
I have a cover that my bag goes into for the flights. It's lockable. Although all somebody would need is a pair of scissors. Are the thefts more opportunistic? If it's a hassle, will they skip it? I considered bringing one of those safe-cage things, but then I was thinking that might just draw more attention to it and make them think there is something worth making the extra effort for.
Thanks for your responses. I might try an alternate route altogether if I can get my vietnam visa quickly before I go. Though there doesn't seem to be a place to do that from what I've seen so far. I'm trying to pile too much into this trip, so I need to cut something out.
Generally you can find a bed with no problem, unless it's a public holiday in Cambodia or sometimes on a high-season weekend.
However, you're looking at a minimum $6 these days for a bed. Check this write up from a year ago, not much has changed. As far as the accommodation goes:
"The cheapest bungalows, at $6, do not have their own bathroom. Pay up to $15 for a sit-down toilet and cold shower, or between $8-$12 for a squat toilet, bucket shower and tap. Forget complementary toothbrushes and air-con rooms come with a bed and a mosquito net. And that's about it."