Things you should know (and buy) before heading to Koh Rong Sanloem.
The first thing to know about Koh Rong Sanloem is that while the island is not huge — it has 37 kilometers (23 miles) of coastline — there are no roads and it can be a hassle to travel from one part of the island to another. For that reason, make sure you know where you are heading before you depart. While there are several ferries that go to Koh Rong Sanloem, if you’re going anywhere other than Saracen Bay you’ll need to make sure to catch the correct one or you’ll be stuck.
Koh Rong Sanloem may have some high-end accommodation, but it’s still a very undeveloped island. There are no ATMs here, so make sure you bring enough cash to cover your accommodation.
While “real” internet has just come to Saracen Bay, there is almost no internet elsewhere on the island. If you require phone or Internet while you are on Koh Rong, get a Metfone or Smart SIM card before you arrive. It’s even possible to get a 4G connection with Smart on most of the island.
M’phey Bei is the only part of the island with any kind of shops, although many of the guesthouses will sell mosquito repellent and a few other basics. We like to over-prepare and stock up in Sihanoukville before we hit the islands. Some suggested purchases:
Insect repellent, sunblock, flashlight, cortisone cream, condoms, shampoo and conditioner, and any medications you might need. Many of the bungalows in M’phey Bei can be noisy, so we recommend bringing a pair of earplugs just in case.
We always bring baby wipes and a small first-aid kit with Band-Aids, antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, and Imodium, because facilities on the island are not particularly hygienic and small cuts and scrapes are common.
Because Internet on most of the island isn’t great, download anything you need before you leave Sihanoukville. The Rogue Shop on Serendipity Beach Road sells digital books, music, and movies, and there are several bookstores in Sihanoukville where you can pick up some beach reads.
Although thefts are not common on Koh Rong Sanloem the way they have become on Koh Rong, they do occasionally happen. We recommend bringing a lock for your luggage and keeping an eye on your valuables.
You may not need all of the above, but if you do, you’ll be glad you came prepared.
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