THE best beach in Southeast Asia. Koh Rong is the biggest of the islands off the coast of Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s considered to be what the Thai islands used to be like. Isolated white-sand beaches and a heavily forested interior makes up this gem. We took an early morning boat ride, there are three companies that offer rides all with different timing, duration and prices. We opted for the speed ferry since we only had one day to explore the island. We weren’t staying over night unlike the majority of fellow tourists who were ferrying over with us.
After about an hour, we spotted the turquoise colored water and small beach-hut, Gilligan’s island-style huts lining the shore. There are only a hand full of accommodation and restaurant options here. The island only began developing in 2000 and the majority (if not all) accommodation options targeting hippie, ganja-head backpackers have limited plumbing (aka squat toilets), open-air rooms and spotty electricity – It’s as rustic as it can get.
After exploring the main cluster of hotels and restaurants, we hiked to what is considered the most beautiful beach in Koh Rong, Long Beach. Appropriately named, Long Beach is the longest beach on the island but so minimally developed, there are only maybe three “hotels” and all other amenities (water, food) are boated in my families from the mainland as a means to make money and ensure stupid tourists without food or water don’t die. As there are no roads, the hike to Long Beach started out easy but quickly turned into a steep, rope-required descent.
Long Beach has sand-paper like sand – the weirdest texture of sand we’ve ever felt. It’s also blindingly white.
Not wanting to hike back up the insane hill to town, we negotiated a ride back to the main beach as long as we bought water. We did. And, it was a amazingly-beautiful 20-minute boat ride.
We felt so lucky to see Koh Rong as it is today – in 15 or 20 years, this hidden, undeveloped gem will be a lot different.