Inquiry Submission By Timgin
We’ve just come back from Koh Rong Samloen and in researching how to get there, I found it really difficult to work out how hard the ferry service was/how reliable etc, so thought I would post our own experience on this forum in case it helps anyone else.
There are basically three main ferry companies (there are others, but these are the main ‘safer’ ones):
ISLAND SPEED FERRIES tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Rev?
BUVA SEA tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Rev?
SPEED FERRY CAMBODIA tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Rev?
They travel to and from Serendipity Pier in Sihanoukville to Koh Rong Samloen (1st stop) and onto Koh Rong (2nd stop).
Each ferry company goes at different times, so the time you arrive at Sihanoukville will probably dictate which ferry company you use.
You can buy tickets online in advance (the websites clearly show which company departs at what time), or you can also buy tickets at the pier when you get there. We were really worried that the pier would be completely chaotic but it was absolutely fine. Maybe we were lucky, but when you arrive at Serendipity Pier, you go onto the pier and all the relevant ferry companies have booths on the RH side of the pier where you can purchase your ticket in advance. It was all really straightforward with no problems at all. We’d bought tickets online so we simply went to the relevant booth, they gave us boarding tickets and we waited for the relevant ferry.
There is a nice cafe/restaurant at the entrance to the pier (Yasmins I think it is called) where you can park your luggage safely and order some food/drinks whilst you wait for the ferry. All very civilised and no drama.
We used the Island Speed Ferry on the outbound trip which was the larger boat (much smaller than the UK-France cross channel ferries, but along the same lines), which has indoor seating and is air conditioned. There are also life jackets on each seat. It was all perfectly safe and a lovely smooth crossing. It takes about 45 minutes to KRS.
On the way back, we used Buva Speed Ferries which is a much smaller, speedboat type boat, which was crowded but absolutely fine. You get on board, grab a seat and the captain of the ferry will fill it up with tourists/locals until it is full – be prepared for him to add footstool type seats at the back and down the aisle of the boat to accommodate extra passengers. These boats are open at the sides so probably open to the elements if you have a rough crossing – we didn’t. Again, it was all fine, we felt safe and there was no drama. It took about 40 minutes back to Sihanoukville.
When you buy your ticket online, you can only purchase a return ticket ($22 return) which for us was a bit of a pain as we had to use two different services so needed two single tickets (the website doesn’t allow you to do this), so we had to buy another single ticket from our hotel in KRS ($12 each) as we had to get back to Sihanoukville earlier than our original ferry provider sailed.
Our hotel confirmed our place on the return boat for us and we turned up at the pier and were ushered straight on with no problem at all.
Maybe we were just lucky, but our experience was very positive. All the ferries left on time when we were there (we had booked the 3pm sailing from Sihanoukville and arrived early so witnessed two earlier crossings leaving on time before ours did) so no reason to worry at all.
Ditto on the way back – our ferry arrived perfectly on time and we all got a seat with no problems at all. The sea was very calm both ways so it was a very pleasant experience.
The ferries arrive at KRS on one of two piers (we arrived at one pier and left from the other), but they are very close to each other so again, no need to worry. It is a small island and you can easily find your hotel from each pier. Most hotels come and meet you anyway in a smaller boat to transfer your luggage.
In terms of timing, as everyone says on here, if you have an international flight to catch, you need to build in some time not only for the ferry, but what took us the time was getting by road from Sihanoukville airport to Serendipity Pier – the traffic was horrendous! It is not far but it took us nearly an hour.
Once you get to KRS, Saracen Bay is where the piers are and it is a small area so you can see nearly all the hotels from that one bay.
I hope that helps someone as I really struggled when I was researching our own trip.
PS Koh Rong Samloen was absolutely gorgeous!