Your total guide for what to do with kids on the best beach and island in Cambodia – Koh Rong Samloem. If you picture idyllic beaches, calm waters, swings over gentle waves and no shoes for days, then Koh Rong Samloem is the clear winner for the best family-friendly island to visit in Cambodia. Parents with babies and toddlers will love how gentle and protected the water is on this family-friendly beach in Cambodia.
There are several more popular islands such as Koh Rong where they filmed several episodes of the TV show Survivor, but it’s also popular with backpackers and party-goers creating a different vibe. I really love Koh Rong Samloem vs. Koh Rong as the most family-friendly beach in SE Asia!
We took a winter family vacation during a school break to explore Cambodia and Laos with the kids. We were so thrilled to book a week on a beach so we could play, relax, read and enjoy a bit of tropical peace. It was easier than I thought to get from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville and then to Saracen Bay on Koh Rong Samloem. The kids still talk about how much they liked swimming on this beach because it was so gentle. It really is perfect for toddlers and kids of all ages. I appreciated not being knocked over by waves constantly! The kids liked that they could stand up anywhere and how shallow the bay is for a long distance. Some of my best pictures are of them working up momentum on beach swings and then jumping into the waves.
- 1 Best Resort on Koh Rong Samloem
- 2 Resorts and places to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
- 3 Where to Stay with Kids in Sihanoukville, Cambodia
- 4 How to get to Koh Rong Samloem
- 5 Planning your trip to Koh Rong Samloem
- 6 Where to eat on Koh Rong Samloem
- 7 What to Pack for Cambodia and Beach Time with Kids
- 8 More Useful Resources on Family-friendly Travel to Cambodia
Sol Beach Resort is the best villa on the beach! I don’t think we wore shoes for days — not to dinner, not to breakfast, not to play or walk the beach. Sol Beach Resort is a great family-friendly beach resort with an excellent restaurant. The villas are luxurious (by island standards). You can check prices and availability by clicking here.
We stayed in a Villa Family Room with 1 queen bed downstairs. The kids were thrilled to discover the upstairs loft had 2 twin beds with mosquito nets that created their own space. A common sitting area, AC, a small refrigerator and large bathroom provided lots of space for our family. Every villa has a front patio to relax and enjoy. And did I mention there are hammocks, a small playground, onsite small spa, hanging swings, and reading chairs everywhere?
The Sol Beach open-air restaurant offers kid-friendly options like pasta and chicken. There are also popular Asian favorites such as fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and satay. Dining in the open air is the norm and requires no shoes. Kids and parents will love how informal this feels no matter where you choose to eat on the beach. The kids enjoyed the small pleasure of spraying their feet clean with small sprayers at each entrance!
Breakfast offers tropical cut fruit, hot items, made-to-order eggs and omelets, and Cambodian fare. Beer, wine, and cocktails are available also. Since you’re just a glance away from your villa you can either relax as adults while your kids read and hang out, or your younger kids can play in the sand. We ordered fresh mango, watermelon, and smoothies to enjoy in our room. It’s wonderful!
Note: This hotel did not sponsor this review. This is my personal, authentic experience and I recommend it highly!
Resorts and places to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
Here are a few other favorite hotels, resorts and bungalows to consider on Koh Rong Samloem. Most of the places to stay are located along the beach of Saracen Bay where the majority of restaurants and cafes are located. Lazy Beach also has a couple of great options for families.
Where to Stay with Kids in Sihanoukville, Cambodia
For the best family-friendly hotel in Sihanoukville, I recommend Sokha Beach Resort. You can check availability and special packages for families by clicking here. This hotel did not sponsor this review.
Koh Rong Samloem is family beach relaxation to the max. This small island has a protected beach with very gentle, shallow, and crystal clear water. Every member of your family will feel the inspiration to slow down, return to the old days of playing games and reading. Maybe you can sneak in a nap in a hammock.
Toddlers in Cambodia will adore splashing in the gentle waves while young kids learning to swim will like how secure they feel in such a huge, shallow bay. It’s easy to see the ground and touch for a very long way.
Ideas for Activities to Do at a Beach with Kids
- Snorkel – our kids liked using their goggles
- Swim for hours, because it’s incredibly shallow and PERFECTION for kids
- Go beachcombing
- Play chase on the beach
- Swing at all the over-water swings along the beach — SO MUCH FUN!
- Read in cozy hammocks and beach chairs
- Float in crystal clear water
- Chase small fish around
- Try to keep baby clams and shellfish alive
- Build the best-ever sand castle
- Bury parents in sand
- One parent SCUBA or snorkels while the other or a friend watch the kids (and then switcheroo!)
- Follow-the-leader games down the beach
- Walk 20 minutes across the island to Lazy Beach
- Take the ferry to the end of the island where they have phosphorescent waters
- Play crosswords, card games, Would You Rather, and a million Truth or Dare games
Fishing and Diving in Cambodia at Koh Rong Samloem
The more you read about our family, the more you will notice that we try to fit in a little bit of kid-friendly fishing. Our kids LOVE to try fishing of any kind so we book a little time on the water with a pole.
In Koh Rong Samloem, we contacted EcoSea Dive and booked a local fisherman for a 1/2 day. This isn’t luxury or deep-sea fishing so don’t get your expectations too high! This is local fishing on a good size boat with 3 crew doing their thing. We had bait, plenty of poles, and a truly local and memorable experience as the sunset.
Our kids fell asleep on top of a roaring engine block on the ride back to the island, thrilled with the day. It was so much fun and we caught a lot of (small) fish which kept the kids busy and excited. EcoSea Dive also offers all kinds of PADI diving courses and instructions for beginners and advanced divers just off of Koh Rong Samloem’s beautiful beaches.
How to get to Koh Rong Samloem
Koh Rong Samloem is located just a short 45-minute high-speed ferry boat from Sihanoukville. The closest airport to Koh Rong is Sihanouk International Airport (airport code: KOS). The well-researched MovetoCambodia site does a nice job of summarizing the ferry options, cost, and schedules. We rode Speed Ferry one direction and GTVC on our return. Ferry rides are always exciting with kids so you’re already winning if you start with a super fast boat ride!
Planning your trip to Koh Rong Samloem
The best time to go to Cambodia with kids is just about any time of year because the weather is tropical year round. Seasons are split into a dry and wet season, with hot, humid and monsoon weather starting in April and going through the next few months typically. Plan ahead for major Cambodian holidays like Khmer New Year (April), Australian school holidays, Chinese New Year (changes, but typically late January or early February), and typhoon season in Asia (July – October) which can affect regional travel plans or transit.
Standing on the pier waiting for the ferry can be quick or you might wait up to a half hour in the sun depending on how close to the schedule the ferry is operating. There are no safety rails or walls on the pier so hold on to your kids or have them sit on their bums out of the way while luggage is loaded and unloaded to avoid any falls. Porters from the hotel will assist you to transport your luggage to your room. All you have to do is carry your personal items and remove your shoes for the beach walk to your hotel.
Allow enough time for your return trip to the airport. Plan for at least 1-hour return plus another 30 – 45 minutes taxi ride from the Sihanoukville ferry pier to the airport. Sol Beach Resort will book a driver for you in advance so that as you depart the ferry your driver is ready and waiting with your name on a placard — one of our favorite family travel tips to take the stress out of arrivals and departures.
Swimming, snorkeling, and diving are popular activities for everyone. Shallow calm waters on Saracen Bay are great for kids, while snorkelers will enjoy Lazy Beach and divers will love short trips to nearby dive locations and PADI training classes. EcoSea Dive is a great choice.
Where to eat on Koh Rong Samloem
Making a choice about where to eat on Koh Rong Samloem is one you can make meal by meal. The island is truly tiny, and you can easily walk the beach in 30 minutes stopping at places that interest you most. We enjoyed food at the Moonlight Resort (and their rooms and patios look really cool!), as well as Cita for pizza, Lime Beach, and Sweet Time.
What to Pack for Cambodia and Beach Time with Kids
- Bring these affordable and high-quality kid goggles to the beach – much better for young kids than a snorkel mask.
- Don’t arrive without the best books for the beach on your Kindle. Reading for hours for kids and parents is easily done on Koh Rong Samloem.
- I consider a flashlight an essential item for travel. Our kids have these awesome headlamps!
- Bring an art kit, especially for tweens or teens. I got this soft-sided travel art kit for our daughter.
- Surprise your kids and create hours of fun with these inexpensive small travel fish nets (buy one for each kid, hours of fun, very little results!)
- Seriously, the best water bottle for travel is this one! Lightweight, BPA free and rugged.