Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Koh Rong Samloem.
Transits from Sihanoukville 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. The ferries will attempt to run regardless of how bad the weather is, which can lead to some uncomfortable journeys during bad spells in the rainy season. The police are starting to clamp down but if you feel like it's too dangerous to get on the boat, do not get on.
Two different fast boat services between Serendipity and Saracen Bay will have you soaking up the sun in paradise in the blink of an eye -- one fast and one exceedingly fast. The Speed Ferry ($20 open return if you book from an agent in Sihanoukville) leaves the mainland at 09:00, 11:00 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. The return trips leave Saracen Bay at 10:00, 12:00, and 16:00.
The iSpeedFerry also has several journeys out a day, stopping at Saracen Bay and Koh Touch on Koh Rong. For Saracen Bay, the departures are at 10:15 and 15:45.
We heard many, many, many complaints from many, many, many different expats about The Speed Ferry — the yellow boat. All seemed to centre on timing, not necessarily a huge problem in Cambodia, but also on a tendency to switch to a slow boat without warning, inflexibility and the rudeness of staff.
The faster boat, iSpeedFerry, costs more ($15 one-way, $20 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.
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 15:30 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.
For M’Pai Bei, you can either take the SpeedFerry, if you’ve already booked on it either from Sihanoukville, or from the office on Saracen Bay at Coral Gardens Dive Resort, near The Beach, and The Dive Shop. Or you can pick up the supply boat from Saracen Bay for $5. The supply boat leaves at between 16:00 and 17:00 each day, from the pier in front of Orchid Resort. You pay the boat driver the fee.
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 and Lazy beaches by foot -- boat is the only option. The fast boat services make getting between Saracen Bay and M'Pai Bei a journey of just five minutes.