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Koh Rong Island

Koh Rong Island

Updated: 2017-05-03 14:46:35

Koh Rong, is the second largest island of Cambodia. The word Rong might refer to an old term for cave or tunnel, although some islanders say Rong refers to a historical person's name. It can also refer to the old Khmer word for shelter, adding up to Shelter Island.

Located in Commune (Sangkat) No. 5, or Sangkat Koh Rong of the Mittakpheap district in Sihanoukville Province about 25 km (16 mi) off the coast in the Gulf of Thailand, the island has an area of approximately 78 km2 (30 sq mi) and 43 km (27 mi) of its entire coastline of 61 km (38 mi) are beaches. Four village communities exist on the island: Koh Tuich, Doeum D'keuw, Prek Svay and Sok San. In recent years the island has become home to an increasing but still moderate number of foreign-run guesthouses and bungalow resorts. As the island's South-Eastern tip around Koh Tuich Village is the point of arrival it has developed into the island's largest settlement center. in absence of even the most basic infrastructure, transport by boat is required to all settlements and holiday resorts, which are scattered all over the many beaches.

Koh Rong island is a relatively new commune, only established in 2000. In order to boost development, Koh Rong has had a land concession issued by the Cambodian government. A Cambodian consortium, the Royal Group has been granted a 99-year lease. In 2008 it has revealed plans to build "Asia’s first environmentally planned resort island."

Koh Rong has so much to offer, from 43 kilometres of impossibly gorgeous, pristine beach front, along seven bays, all teeming with corals, marine life and fluorescent plankton, as well as dense forests covering much of the 78 square-kilometre interior.

For years Koh Rong was almost completely undeveloped save for a diving outfit and a few bungalows, though that has now changed beyond recognition, in particular on the southern patch of Koh Touch. The rapid development has mostly affected this stretch of yellow-white, southeast-facing sand, which now resembles nothing so much as our image of a mid-18th century Caribbean pirate port, only with party bars instead of brothels.

Serviced by the fast boat from Sihanoukville as the fourth stop, Koh Touch is a sandy, guesthouse-packed stretch that has earned Koh Rong its party-island reputation. We found that to be largely true still, though there are plenty of other businesses along here that are seeking to offer something a little more profound. It may take a little while to get there, but they’re working on it.

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