Koh Rong: 11 reasons why you shouldn’t visit it [with tips]

Despite the one in Koh Rong has been a relaxing and regenerating holiday (you can read it my other post), there are things that we would have liked to know before travelling there. Actually, you can find all these negative reviews online. But it is difficult to take rational decisions as the beautiful images of this island blind you. You see pictures, you want to be there no matter what. Dot.

wonderful landscape naturebels

We collected here some of the reasons why one shouldn’t go to Koh Rong, according to our own experience.

Of course, we are all different, so something that bothers me doesn’t bother someone else. This is why I always suggest reading blogs, but in the end, you should make your own considerations and decide what to do according to your personality and desires.


So, which are the 11 reasons why Koh Rong is not worth a visit?


1. Electricity blackouts

There is no electricity in Koh Rong, but only the one provided by generators. It seems that the island borrows it from the close by village. Practically speaking, electricity is stopped 2 times per day, for 1 hour. Once in the morning and once in the evening. The rest of the time it is unstable, it is up and down, depending on the generator of the guest house or restaurant.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] Keep all your devices charged, or be organized with a power bank or extra battery.[/su_note]


2. Slow and unreliable wifi

As a consequence of electricity blackouts, connecting to the wifi is quite challenging on the island. It is difficult to find (mainly, guest houses and hostels offer wifi only in common spaces), and when you have it will be very slow and unreliable.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] Take it as a detoxification from the online world, and enjoy the real world… with its pros and cons.[/su_note]


3. Rusty water

rusty water in the bungalow naturebels

This has been by far the biggest problem we had. Water was orange, full of rust. That means that you couldn’t shower, and brush your teeth if not with bottled water. You don’t want to smell like rust and, in addition to that, rust is very dangerous for our body! Complains were useless as this problem affects all the island, except luxurious hotels.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] Pay a huge amount to have a room in one of the 2-3 luxury hotels on the island, or wash yourself in the sea or with bottled water (which is quite expansive, too).[/su_note]


4. No ATM

There are no ATM in Koh Rong and credit cards are rarely accepted. There are 2-3 hotels/restaurants that lend money to you (max 300 $). The procedure is at it follows: you go there and leave your original passport to them. They give you the money, and they send your passport to their office in Sihanoukville. When you leave the island, you go to the Sihanoukville office to pay back the 300 $ + 10% commission, and you will get your passport back. Not bad, eh?!…


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] Go to Koh Rong with more than enough cash with you.[/su_note]


5. Smoke

If you are a non-smoker, this is not the place for you. People smoke a lot, everywhere, and not only cigarettes! You smell smoke at every time of the day and in any corner of the island. This can be very annoying if you are a non-smoker, but a paradise if you are a smoker 🙂


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] If you are a non-smoker, look for secluded places… and hope that a sneaky smoker didn’t have your same idea![/su_note]


6. Expensive accommodation

I read a lot about it before travelling to Koh Rong, but I didn’t expect such a disaster! Above all the toilet and shower, oh my god! I am not that kind of person complaining about everything, but this was really unacceptable: small, smelly and super dirty.

Accommodation is very expensive for what it offers and the quality doesn’t follow at all. There is a huge gap between cheap accommodation (hostels, guest houses), bungalows, and hotels or resorts.

  • hostels and guest houses: terrible quality, dirty, with extra small and mouldy rooms for 13-25 $ per room, per night.
  • bungalows: wooden constructions with holes all around (sometimes with open-air toilet and shower), a perfect gateway for insects and animals to come in, for 30-120 $ per bungalow, per night (depending on if sea-view or not, age of construction, etc.).
    open air shower in bungalow naturebels
  • hotels and resorts: there are only 2-3 of them on the island. From the outside, they look more clean and well-maintained, but they were probably not worth the price you pay for it: 150-180 $ per room, per night.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] In order to relief from this pain, we divided our stay in 3 accommodations’s standard. From the worse to the best (guest house, cheap bungalow, average bungalow). You feel you are getting better, and it is not too killing for your wallet. Try it![/su_note]


7. Dirty beaches

dirty beach koh rong naturebels

As it already happened for Koh Samui (Thailand), online pictures were kind of misleading. Sure, beaches in Koh Rong are white, but in many places, they are also full of garbage. It is really a pity because the landscape is wonderful. All the beaches there should be cleaned once, and then the challenge is to keep them clean. So far, it seems that no one is really willing to do it. Everyone takes care of the beach in front of the accommodation, but not 1 meter more.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] Take care about your own garbage, and give a good example to others. If we all throw our garbage in garbage bins, it is easy to keep beaches clean.[/su_note]


8. Sand flies

Koh Rong is famous for its high number of sand flies. They are worse than mosquitos, as you don’t see them biting. After half an hour on the beach, you will find your legs full of red and itchy spots.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] When on the beach, lie down on a thick towel, or put some good but natural insect repellant.[/su_note]


9. Loud music till sunrise

You will read that it is a quiet island, except if you stay in Koh Touch and surroundings. It is confirmed. From there you can hear music coming from the close by clubs, and from the parties at Police Beach. We could hear that even at 4K beach! When the music stops, you will hear all the drunk and stoned people going back to their accommodation, screaming like crazy.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] Go party all night long or… sleep with a good pair of ear-plugs would be a nice idea![/su_note]


10. No roads

There are no roads, but there are scooters running on the beach… in the sand… we were shocked to see that!

woman walking on the beach at sunrise naturebels

The only ways to go around are along the beach, via small paths inland, or by boat.


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] Wear comfortable shoes and show your best signs’ skills when you need to communicate your destination to boat captains. [/su_note]


11. This is no real Cambodia

In Siem Reap and Battambang I was so impressed about people smiles, about their genuineness and happiness. In Koh Rong, you don’t feel that. People never smile and are concentrated to run their business, and not even so good… You feel that you are not welcome and that you are annoying them. Maybe it is just a perception…


[su_note note_color=”#f2f2f2″ text_color=“#000000” radius=”3″ class=”p_tip”] You can stay there for few days and enjoy the beach, but if you want to discover the real Cambodia go somewhere else!![/su_note]