I am made of photography,stories from the road and a good dose of passion. I am Ophélie, French-born traveler always on the go. My travel photography blog is about my travel experiences, tips and my addiction for adventure. To help you explore countries on your own… as an independent and curious traveller.
Written by Ophelie
Published 25th September 20
Will take 6mn to read
Koh Rong is a surprising place where the most often said sentence is… “I’ll leave tomorrow for sure, this is my last party tonight”. And the next day: “oups, I missed the boat”. I came for a night… six weeks and a fair amount of beach parties later, I took off. In my eyes, Koh Rong in Cambodia belongs to the best party destinations and full moon party places in South East Asia. Let me give you 7 travel tips on how to enjoy Koh Rong nightlife… because it’s as simple as a a pair of tongs.
What to read here about Koh Rong nightlife?
- Why to stay
- Koh Rong nightlife: how to become a party mouse in 7 steps
- Extra tips on Koh Rong island: photography, how to get there, visa
How much will it cost me, for 7 days?
1 $ = 4.090 Riel (Sep. 2020)
70 to 200 $
What is so special about Koh Rong island to make you stay?
Drop what you are doing, close your eyes and imagine…
A one paved road island, paradise beaches (you’ll just do abstraction of the occasional rubbish on the main beach, but seriously, it’s still beautiful), hostels a la “Robinson Crusoe” and smiley local islanders. Welcome to Koh Rong, Cambodia, the best party destination I’ve experimented.
On the island, you live basically like Robinson. But after a few days, you don’t notice anymore the lack of hot showers, properly flushing toilets or rooms with closing doors. Koh Rong equals jungle, freedom and outdoors… literally. I just have to say that I had a compulsory need of shopping after my six weeks stay on the island. I also felt weird when I had to wear shoes back on Cambodia’s mainland. You see, Life on Koh Rong is as simple as a pair of tongs.
Source: Google images
I think that what makes Koh Rong so special is this feeling of being out of the world. I’ve never felt so relaxed at any other place I’ve travelled and lived. Life goes slow… at the rhythm of daily Cambodian (peculiar) music and (not less peculiar but funny) improvised singers.
I’ve also never felt so inspired than on Koh Rong island. I appreciated simple things like looking at the sun setting down or listening to loud geckos in the hammock. And I felt like being home. Feeling comfortable with my surroundings, while being away from the modern comfort. That’s the magic of this island.
Koh Rong, it’s also people. It’s a travel experience and a gold mine because of this interesting, harmonious melting pot of travellers and locals. Honestly, I wouldn’t have stayed if it had not been for all these persons I met… each of them having their own very special story. So many experiences that I can now write a book… or a travel article on how to deal with unexpected love stories on the road.
But on Koh Rong in Cambodia, Life can also go crazy… as soon as you follow the sound of electro beats and the enthusiastic – not often straight – footsteps of everyone. Koh Rong island was for me the most authentic and best party destination I‘ve been in South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand or Europe. It is now full moon party time… sensible souls, pass your way.
Koh Rong nightlife and its travel party vibes – how to become a party mouse in 7 steps
Step 1 – Get into Koh Rong nightlife by hanging out with the islanders
How to get into Koh Rong nightlife? On Koh Rong, we have at our disposal some categories of islanders to do party with. And they’re easy to approach! Even I, being sometimes shy, started talking so quickly to people on Koh Rong island. Make sure to know the heads of the Party mafia on Koh Rong – they know where to find everything.
It’s also good to get to know the famous electro Djs operating in Koh Rong nightlife. You will feel VIP saying that eh, you are local enough to know the Dj and listen to the party’s playlist before anyone at the full moon party.
Then, get to know some cool travellers and locals who will make your nightlife experience awesome. It’s easy to get in touch with your roommates and the local staff at hostels. The fun one will dance with you until sunrise. The adventurous traveller will go for a night swim with you and the plankton. And the last but not the least, the nice and gentleman one will spend you a few Rum Cokes at the party and look after you… in case you lose control, which is highly possible.
- Happy Elephant Bungalows – Bungalows near the jungle. Fall asleep at the sound of geckos and the nearby waterfall. Private rooms with balcony. Quiet. At the end of the ascending road, straight coming from the main pier. From 8$.
- Green Ocean – Most comfortable hotel on the main road. Fall asleep at the sound of the waves! Right in front of the sea. Private rooms from 9$ and dorm under the roof. Balconies and common living room with good Internet, overviewing the sea.
- Bong – Backpacker hostel. If you are into hostel parties! Quite loud. Bathrooms and toilets: rudimentary.
- Long Set resort – resort with private rooms. From 48$. On Long Set beach. Outdoor pool.
Step 2 – Know when and where is Koh Rong nightlife happening
Koh Rong nightlife, it’s a succession of parties. You barely had time to recover from last night that the next beach party is already there. I get you updated about Koh Rong nightlife schedule. Parties happen three times a week (and I was there at low season…). Mondays are for Nest festival. Located on Long Set beach, you have to cross the jungle for a 10 minutes’ walk, what already doesn’t sound easy. Be careful at night – take a torch with you. It’s a jungle’s path on tricky wood planches, among loud frogs and moody paths but definitely worth it to get to the beautiful Long Set beach. Nest festival takes place at Nest beach club, with dance floor and beer pong, overlooking the beach.
Travel tips to Nest Beach club, Koh Rong nightlife hotspot
- walk up the main beach (left hand side from the main peer in the Village) and take the path starting from the guest house White Beach Bungalows. Take a phone/ light with you at night.
- Facebook groups about Koh Rong nightlife, to get latest info: Nest Beach Club, Koh Rong Positive Beats Project
On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Police beach on Koh Rong hosts the beach party. The location, a private beach, is near the Village. Swimming with the fluorescent plankton is a must experience. I loved Police Beach’s venue for the big wooden dance floor on stilts, the cool stage outside and of course the dance floor on the beach! Police Beach is also known for being the scene of Koh Rong nightlife’s highlight… the full moon party!
- To go there: on the right from the main pier in the Village, pass the bridge after Green Ocean guest house and continue straight. Then the path on your left passing in front of the bar Adventure Adam. Follow the “path” (moody after the rain).
- Safety when swimming during a party: look after yourself. Don’t take risks. I didn’t see any accident and didn’t have any myself, just by keeping aware and surrounded.
Watch out for the full moon party
And my favourite part of Koh Rong nightlife… the full moon party! Made in Koh Rong. It happens every first Friday of the month. At Police beach, the Djs play right on the beach. It’s different than the famous full moon party happening in Thailand – on Nomadic Matt, you’ll find more info about the full moon party, made in Thailand. Koh Rong’s full moon party is way less crowded, with backpackers and travellers of any age. It doesn’t feel commercial, it’s chill and familiar.
Travel tips on Koh Rong full moon party
- Facebook group: Full moon Koh Rong
Step 3 – Find the good party deals of Koh Rong nightlife!
Koh Rong can get quite expensive if you start partying three times a week… that’s why some insider travel party tips could help your budget.
- Tickets for every party a few hours before are sold at Cocos for 8$ instead of 10 at the party.
- Nest Festival is for free, what is very cool. You might buy a ticket for one dollar giving you free shots until 6pm (Nest starts early!) and happy hour until midnight. Not very useful though since people start arriving after midnight and it’s quite empty before.
- Another trick is… to work on Koh Rong. If you plan to stay a bit longer, it will be the way to be on the island without spending for food, accommodation… and parties! As worker on Koh Rong (volunteering often in hostels and bars), you don’t pay for the parties.
Step 4 – dress up accordingly
Or better say… don’t bother wearing your chic dress. Everyone goes to the party as a Robinson Crusoe. Plus, there is no shopping mall to go to. And you’ll want to be at ease to dance like crazy!
Step 5 – enjoy a drink at Koh Rong’s bars before the party
The beach parties and full moon party on Koh Rong start officially around 9pm… but in reality, not before midnight. People use to drink at the hostels and bars of Koh Rong island before partying. I give you some names where to immerse yourself into party mood. If you like cozy atmosphere and want to listen to the electro beats of Koh Rong nightlife before everyone, go to Runaway – little bar where the DJs sometimes play before going to the party!
- Bars: Coco’s, Runaway, Skybar
- Restaurants: White Rose guesthouse, take away on the main road with tables on the beach
- More bars and restaurants I didn’t try
- Facebook group : general info and tips about Koh Rong island > Koh Rong community locals & expats
Step 6 - go wild and enjoy Koh Rong nightlife and island’s life!
Once you managed to reach either Police Beach or the Nest on 4K beach, you are fine! Go to the beach to meet people, to feel the atmosphere and to enjoy the scenery. The lights of Sihanoukville’s harbor on the other side are such a peaceful picture while hitting the sand at the sound of electro beats. Then, warm up… and dance like never, forget the real world!
Step 7 - watch sunrise
One of the most amazing moments I had was on this morning, after a busy dancing night. The colours in the sky showed a stunning palette of soft oranges, magenta and cyan. Reflecting on the quiet sea. In nice company. A travel experience on Koh Rong that I won’t forget.
Check out other travel and photo blog posts!
Extra tips to travel to Koh Rong, Cambodia
How to get to Koh Rong, Cambodia?
To get there isn’t the issue … as said, the difficult part is rather leaving Koh Rong and its party vibes. Koh Rong is an island, so with no surprise, the way to go is pretty simple – by ferry. And it’s not that much of a struggle, compared to taking the bus in Cambodia 🙂
Which visa to stay on Koh Rong, Cambodia?
Either if Koh Rong island is your first stop in Cambodia or if you get caught by Koh Rong nightlife’s vibes and don’t want to leave, you’ll need a visa. There are two solutions. First, you get a visa on arrival at the airport. Second, you buy the e-visa online on the gouvernment’s website (really, don’t trust any online agency or other website!). You’ll get it within a few hours to a few days.
Price for 30 days: 36$. For visa on arrival: one passport photo, visa fee and the visa application form.
To renew, when you are already on Koh Rong island since 4 weeks: 2 options.
- Take the ferry to Sihanoukville and go to a travel agency (every one on Koh Rong island knows about it)
- Give your passport at your hostel and they will bring it for you to Sihanoukville. A lot of travellers do that and even if I was sceptic, it worked perfectly.
What to do on Koh Rong island, beside party ?
Koh Rong’s nightlife isn’t the only cool thing to do on the island! Quick overview of how to spend the day, when the party mouse in you is sleeping.
- Boat tours around the island (with treks in the jungle or just chill on the boat). Or to Koh Rong Samloem for a day.
- Swim and chill on the beaches Long Set beach, Malibu beach, Police beach, 4k beach
- Go to Sky Bar, have a drink and get a view from the top
- A bit of sport and fun at Koh Rong High Rope Adventure Park
- Take a walk on the beaches (away from the main peer and lights) to see fluorescent plancton at night and the impressive red moon