We had read that Koh Rong Sanloem island off the coast of Cambodia was pretty amazing and ‘unspoilt like the Southern Thailand beaches were 25 years ago’. We really wanted to go somewhere special by the beach in our first few weeks of travel to just chill out and relax, so when we came across Secret Paradise Resort we thought it ticked all the boxes.
Like most good places it’s not that straight forward to get to. We decided to break the journey up over 2 days and stop overnight in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. So our trip to get there went like this:
- Bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh (6 hours)
- Tuktuk to our hotel from the bus station
- Pick up the next morning in a minibus, drive to Sihanoukville (4 hours)
- Get tuktuk to ferry office to get tickets
- Get another tuktuk to the pier
- Take the speed ferry to Koh Rong Samloem pier (45 minutes)
- Take a motorised dinghy to the resort (10 minutes) – there are no cars on the island
YAY WE MADE IT!!
We travelled with Giant Ibis who were pretty good, the bus and minibus were both air conditioned and with WiFi that worked about 2/3rds of the time. Unfortunately poor Sophie was sick both times, her motion sickness is really starting to kick in 🙁
But all that travel was certainly worth it to be in paradise for a week. Our beach hut was virtually on the water’s edge and the kids were in the water from 7.30 in the morning until the sun went down at 6pm. The water was crystal clear with water as warm as a bath, with fine white sand. It was very sheltered and shallow which made it super great for the kids.
Here are some pictures of our beach hut and the main beach we stayed on Saracen Bay.
One day we did a walk through a jungle path to the other side of the island to a beach called Lazy Beach. We saw monkeys and hornbill birds on the walk (we found out afterwards that there are a few pythons and cobras in there too!) Lazy Bay was also beautiful, with more golden coloured sand and a few small waves that the kids loved surfing in.
We didn’t wear shoes all week apart from our jungle walk, and just spent the time in the water and chilling out. There is literally nothing to do on the island – one shop selling sunscreen and chips and only a few restaurants and bars so you are forced to relax. It was bliss.
Time isn’t standing still on Koh Rong Samloem however, while we were there we saw beach huts being built in 2-3 days and a lot of land being cleared to make way for development. Unfortunately it seems the days of it being a secret hideaway and not filled with big resorts are limited, so our advice is go there SOON!
After a week we were sad to say goodbye but ready to move on to our next stop, the seaside town of Kep.