A Paradise Guide to Saracen Bay | Koh Rong Samloem
With wind blown faces, salty clothes and slightly nauseas tummies, we finally arrived in Saracen Bay. We watched in relief as the rough chaos from the ocean fell flat, transforming into what can only be described as ABSOLUTE PARADISE.
But first, why visit Koh Rong Samloem instead of Koh Rong Island?
The perfect answer would be: “Don’t. Visit both.” But here’s our brief island comparison anyway:
Koh Rong is bigger and therefore has much more of a variety. It also has plenty in the way of cheap accommodation (backpackers and hostels). It has a much larger nightlife with plenty of parties and pub crawling opportunities.
Koh Rong Samloem on the other hand is much more quiet and relaxed. The accommodation is more spread out and luxurious (more expensive). We would say it’s an ideal honeymoon or family vacation filled with hammock sessions and beach strolls. More importantly, it has the most “postcard perfect” beach with aquamarine water and white squeaky sand. It also has the PADI diving centre.
With that being said, we also found secluded paradise on Soksan Beach/ Longbeach (Koh Rong) and a crazy student party vibe at Monkey island (Koh Rong Samloem). The above is just our overall impression.
What to do at Koh Rong Samloem
Besides doing absolutely nothing (which is our top recommendation), here are a few activities to keep you busy in and around Saracen Bay:
- Sunrise on Saracen Bay beach
Okay, we didn’t exactly wake up early for this – Samloem makes you way too lazy for that. But we were pleasantly surprised by the incredible sunrise on our way to the 7am ferry back to Sihanoukville.
- Take a walk to Lazy Beach
Lazy Beach is just a 30min walk away from Saracen Bay. The dirt pathway starts near Octopussy Bar and ends at the Lazy Beach restaurant. We would suggest two awesome activities here that you can’t get at Saracen Beach: 1) Snorkeling just left of the pier, and 2) Sundowners in front of the epic sunset.
- Hammock your life away
Buy yourself a book and go get your bum wet in some of the most tropical beds in Asia. This island has hammocks EVERYWHERE! Our favorites being the ones greeted by the warm high tides.
- Enjoy the Happy Hour
Happy hour is celebrated all along the Saracen Bay beachfront between 4 – 7 pm. Enjoy $1 ice cold draught beers in a beanbag, hammock or pool lounger overlooking the moody late afternoon sky. Some of our favorite spots were Lime Beach Lounge and The One Resort.
- SUP or Kayak around the bay
Hire a SUP board or kayak for roughly $7 an hour (found at numerous resorts along the beach).
- Swim with Luminous Plankton
Take a tour to go swim with luminous plankton in the evenings. (FYI, the plankton in the water is the reason why your underwater pics or snorkeling trips might not be as clear as other areas in Asia).
- Cool down with the local Beach Pups
- Spread out and catch up
“Rudi, that couple is swimming like 50 metres away from us, how rude?” We had to laugh at how almost all of the rooms and resorts were fully booked and yet we never once felt crowded. Some of our best quality time and life changing decisions were made in the shallows of Koh Rong Samloem.
- Visit Sunset Beach
Take a walk or boat ride to Sunset Beach which is just North of the more nearby Lazy Beach. Although harder to get to, this beach is apparently even more secluded and the ideal spot for sunset.
See why Koh Song Samloem is the Ultimate Beach Holiday :
Koh Rong Samloem Accommodation
Saracen Bay has some of the most beautiful private beach bungalows and chalets. These rooms (sea view, air-conditioning, beach beds and ensuite bathrooms) range from about $50 upwards per night.
Looking for the best deals on Koh Rong Samloem, click on the below link:
Saracen Bay on a Budget
Having not pre-booked any accommodation, we did quite a bit of soft sand walking with our heavy backpacks. Cheap accommodation is not common. Saracen Bay is marketed more for couple and family vacationers than for hostel goers. The cheapest back garden room we found was $30 a night at the Padi Scuba Resort. Then finally, in pretty much the centre of the beach, we found Sun Island Eco Village, where we managed to negotiate a 3 night price for $15 a night. Whoohoooo !!
The truth: We felt like we hit the jackpot! We were staying in the most ideal spot of this incredibly luxurious bay for only $15 a room. Smiles for days!! The reality of that was a squat toilet and cold bucket shower in a mosquito filled bathroom. The mozzi net was awesome but when the electricity cut out we would wake up in a sweaty hotbox! Our opinion – if this is all you can afford – it is absolutely worth it !!
How to not blow your budget at Saracen Bay:
The restaurants at the Southern end of the bay are cheaper than the resorts and restaurants in the middle and Northern part of the bay. There are a few small shops on the island that sell water, beer and soft drinks for much cheaper. If you’re only going for a short stay, stock up on water, snacks and fruit in Sihanoukville as its much cheaper – For example, a bottle of water is 0,50 USD in Sihanoukville and 1 USD on the island. At Octupussy Bar (middle of the bay) they do a water re-fill for 0,75 USD. If you’re going super budget, you can buy 2 min noodles in the small stores for $0.50.
How to Get to Koh Rong Samloem
From Sihanoukville/ Otres beach: There are several ferry companies available. We took Buva Sea Company which is a fast boat. The journey took 30 minutes for 10 USD per person. They also offer a free pick up from your hotel.
From Kong Rong: There are daily slow boats that do this trip. The tickets can be purchased at the main Koh Rong pier for 5 USD per person.
View our Cambodia Page for more great places to see and awesome things to do!!