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“Very beautiful beach with very basic bungalows” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Sok San Beach Bungalows

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Sok San Beach Bungalows
Koh Rung Island | 33 klm from Sihanoukville port, Sihanoukville 18000, Cambodia   |  
Hotel amenities
Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Very beautiful beach with very basic bungalows”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

The beach is amazing, and probably worth all the hassle of getting there (3-4 hour boat ride) and staying in those huts. The negative reviews worried us, but it's really not so bad. The staff were nice and drinks good (not much more expensive than on main land). The huts are very basic, but I wouldn't say they are in bad shape (maybe they renovated?). If you want better huts, try the resort next door, although the beach is not as good there. If you want a really nice beach, walk 30 mins down the beach to the middle of nowhere. This is one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen!

What I didn't appreciate is that they changed the departure of the boat from morning to afternoon (which messed with our itinerary) and we only found out because we emailed 2 days before to confirm our reservation. Also, the 1st night they gave us the smallest huts. When I asked why we couldn't get the other empty huts, they said those are for customers who booked offline. So I recommend booking in Sihanoukville, not by email. If you do, ask for a big hut.

Despite this, overall it was a nice experience and I don't think the place deserves such bad reviews. Just don't expect much for 20 bucks on a remote island and you will be happy :)

Room Tip: ask for bigger hut far away from restaurant.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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36 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

We just visited this place last week. The restaurant was highly overpriced, food was tasteless and service was poor. We had to wait almost an hour to get one simple meal. The woman behind the counter said it was because there were so many guest at the same time... Come on, we were the first ones to order food and there were like 6 customers at the same time with us! Bungalows are in poor shape, there are huge holes in the roof, so we were glad it didn't rain at the time we were there. We couldn't close the bungalow door properly and floor boards (on bungalow and in terrace) were about to loosen at any time. The mosquito nets were in poor shape also, there were several holes that were "repaired" with band-aids and we had to do the same thing. There were also several people leaving before us and we never saw proper cleaning in the empty bungalows before the next customers were about to arrive. This one boy (staff member, I suppose) was constantly sleeping or relaxing on the terrace of empty bungalows and we thought he was suppose to clean up.

The woman "in charge" was really awful. She didn't even say 'hello' or 'good morning' when she saw us. And we didn't even complain about anything before the fourth night! This one time we actually saw her throwing this item (that looked like a butter knife) toward one girl in the staff area (we thought she might be her daughter), that's awful behavior especially in front of customers! I truly hope that they will invest in customer service in the future, because we weren't the only ones who were looking for a better places to eat or get better service.

The island is very beautiful and it's the only thing that makes me rate this place as 'poor' instead of 'terrible'. The only thing that you are really paying for is the ocean view! Bungalows are overall overpriced and there's a better and less expensive restaurant in the village nearby (we started to go there eating when we heard about it. There's also a little store in the village where you can buy water etc. at more reasonable price.

Everyone in Sihanoukville said that the boat trip there takes 2 hours - Don't believe it, it takes almost 4 hours!!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle
Top Contributor
439 reviews 439 reviews
117 hotel reviews
Reviews in 109 cities Reviews in 109 cities
230 helpful votes 230 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

My over all average rating is definitely colored by the fact that when we were there, water clarity was so poor that we didn't even try snorkeling (this was late November). Even if we had wanted to snorkel, the bungalows had pretty crappy gear -- for example, there were no clips to attach the snorkels to the masks. So all of that was a downer. The swimming was okay, but no better than Ochuteal Beach back in Sihanoukville.

The setting is quite beautiful. The beach is not-quite-white sand, but fine grained and pretty. The beach is rather narrow and, at anything much above low tide. water completely covers the beach heading away from the bungalows, so walking the beach very far is a challenge.

The bungalows are VERY basic. The walls are made of -- no kidding -- strips of bark. On the other hand ours was spoteless; the mosquito net was in good shape; the beds, while not luxurious, were acceptable. Our bungalow had a deck reached by a steep 3-rung ladder with no railing or anything else to hold on to. This was especially problematic descending; I ended up just jumping down from the deck.

The restaurant was okay, albeit with a limited menu (see attached photos of the menu). The barbecued fish, topped with a kind of Khmer salsa, was excellent. On the other hand $2.50 for a baguette with jam is outrageous, esp. when Angkor Chum Guest House, in the village, sells baguettes for 50 cents.

The staff tried to tell us there were no shops in the village (not true) and told us that the village dogs were so aggressive we would need a stick to beat them off (not true). I guess they just wanted us to do all of our business at their place and would say what it took to keep us from the village.

All in all, a mixed blessing of a place.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

My girlfriend and I spent 2 nights/3 days at Sok San and enjoyed our stay very much. The bungalows are right on the water and it actually took us a bit to fall asleep with all the ocean "noise." The place was undergoing some repairs (damage from a recent storm took a sizable chuck of the beach away and did a bunch of other damage to trees and the nearby village) so things should be a bit nicer soon. The bed nets were in good order and they had new comfortable chairs on the porches. Overall, the bungalows were basic with a private toilet but not enough water pressure for a shower (we did bucket showers which were refreshing). They have some simple LED lights in the room (and an electric outlet) for nighttime use. The menu was limited (and during the busier season they offer more options) but we enjoyed the dishes we had. The curry and fresh fish were some of our favorites for sure.

We were the only guests at the bungalows during our visit which we really enjoyed. One of the the best parts of our stay was the service. Gary the owner, Mr. Thorn the manager, and the rest of the staff did a great job taking care of us. They really went out of their way to help us and it was obvious that they appreciated our visit. My girlfriend also really enjoyed visiting a nearby waterfall (15 minutes).

Boats don't run every day from this side of the island during the low season so we ended up taking a very adventurous moto ride (over the sandy beaches, down washed out trails, through small streams, up step hills...) which I loved to the other side of the island for 1 night. In terms of the other side of the island, things are very different there. There are a lot more visitors, places to stay/eat and prices are cheaper. However, there is a strong level of poverty and a dark side here that disconnects the visitor from the local folks. So, if you want to party, meet fellow travelers, and have more options of things to eat/buy, then the east side is your best option. If you want to be lazy, read, nap, swim and lounge in a more private and basic way, the west side is a much better option.

The price of the bungalow when we were there was $20 a night which feels expensive give the quality when you compare it to Sihanoukville hotels. However, you are on an island a few hours away from the mainland and things are more expensive because of transport and the fact that you are totally off the grid. If you put the location in perspective, I feel the price (lodging and food) is a bargain but not all travelers will agree.

I am big time into snorkeling and diving and the water clarify was better than I expected (we had monsoon storms 1-2 weeks before our visit). It wasn't amazing clarity but it was descent (maybe 10-15m) and I swam a bunch. There is indeed a nice reef (about 30 min walk on the beach) and we snorkeled around for 1-2 hours. We actually got a ride to the reef with owner on his boat who wanted to swim for a bit as well. If we had walked back and forth, it might be a bit much given how hot the sun can be.

Two final points. Cellcard has a tower on the island so I got great service (2g, not 3g) the entire time. Also, I left a valuable piece of snorkel equipment at the resort and Gary and the manager worked hard to get it back to me in Phnom Penh (where we live). For me, this really shows how hard they work to keep the guest happy. Personally, one of the high points of the visit was talking with Gary who has been around and seen some interesting things. Because of how much time he spent talking with us, I felt more like a welcomed friend than a tourist.

Bottom line, if you enjoy Cambodian rustic bungalow stays and want a good beach, a great atmosphere, and only have a small budget, this place should be at the top of your list.

Room Tip: If you want quiet time to relax and veg, skip the east side of the island and come here instead. Mak...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2012

This was our second visit to Sok San Bungalows and like the first it was a fantastic experience. Soc San Bungalows are on the far side of Koh Rong Island facing the gulf of Thailand and its another hour away from the rest of the island where most of the backpackers go. Its a quite idilic spot. There is a small community that lives close to the bungalows and it gives you the opportunity to experience a bit of the island life and culture. The bungalows are basic but you have everything you need. The chef cooked us the most amazing food. Tina one of the girls that works there took us on a walk to a nearby waterfall, she was amazing. We went snorkelling, saw a sting ray, loads of colourful fish, sea urgent and barracuda. We went for an long walk into the forest on one day that was great, great to hear all the sounds from the forest and I saw an owl. Next time I will remember to take some fishing rods, if you ask the locals they can take you out fishing. My partner is a photographer and he could not stop. I think the experience we had there was special, definitely of the beaten track.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
winterthur
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2012

It's a very quiet location. When you're sitting in front of your bungalow (on your broken chair) you have an amazing view on the beautiful bay with its white sand and turquouise sea. The food was always really tasty and freshly cooked. Also the staff was friendly.

But now for the "dark side" of the Sok San: The bungalows have seen their best times and there's a lot to be fixed, e.g. stairs, veranda, mosquito net, tables and so on. Also we're used to live in simple places on our vacation, but "rustic" doesn't mean "broken" or "dirty" (toilet). Therefore, we think 20$ is highly overpriced.

Dear owner, please don't let this place fall apart as it could be perfect if some maintenance was done!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SokSan, Owner at Sok San Beach Bungalows, responded to this review, April 25, 2012
Thank you for your response.
We take all comments seriously.
We are sorry your stay was not as enjoyable as it SHOULD have been.
We are aware of all the repairs needed at Sok San and we will be rebuilding and repairing all the bungalows starting in the next few days and continuing over the coming month and through out the low season.
We were unable to repair earlier this year as planed because we had the French survivor series take over all of sok San for 2 months with a closed set and repaired nothing giving it back to us in the middle of the high season in the state you see it now.
We do hope you will visit us again next year to the new and improved Sok San beach bungalows.
However we are still the only place directly on the best beach on all the islands in cambodia
Again we thank you for your concerns

Sok San
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

Let me start with the positive things: the owner and the staff are very friendly and the place certainly has potential.
That said, Sok San didn't meet our expectations. Initially we planned to stay here for three nights to relax. However, we left after one night. When we arrived at Sok San we didn't understand how the nice pictures on the website were taken. We thought it would be located on a desolated beach, but instead a small village and another set of bungalows are nearby. But apart from that, the setting - on a white beach, clear water - is quite ok. The biggest problem was the bungalow. It is advertised as a rustic bungalow with basic facilities. We are used to stay in rooms with basic facilities, but that does not exactly mean the same as "no maintenance is needed". We got the feeling that the resort was not maintained at all. For example, we didn't even have a proper chair (or hammock) to relax on our balcony. The only things available to sit on were a couple of broken chairs with dirty, wet cushions. Moreover, our room was not cleaned very well either. Since the price - we paid $20 for one night - is quite high, we expected at least a neat bungalow.
Other travellers really seemed to enjoy their stay at Sok San, but because we expected a little bit more, it was not the right place for us. If you are looking for a place to relax, but also for a little bit comfort, I would recommend to spend some extra dollars and stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sok San Beach Bungalows

Address: Koh Rung Island | 33 klm from Sihanoukville port, Sihanoukville 18000, Cambodia
Location: Cambodia > Sihanoukville Province > Sihanoukville
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #27 of 74 Specialty Lodging in Sihanoukville
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
14 Rustic bungalows right on the beach front on a white sand beach.We also have 5 rustic rooms close to the lake behind the bungalows.By far the best and longest white sand beach anywhere in Cambodia.Come enjoy our stunning views and beautiful 6 km long white sand beach.We are located on the nearby Island of Koh Rong 33 Klm off the Cambodian coastal town of Sihanoukville.Explore the jungle and waterfalls and the river.Come enjoy our restaurant and bar where we have heaps of food and drinks. Nearby we have snorkelling at one of the best resently found reefs in all the island only 6 meters deep.Diving on the reef can also be arranged Go fishing with our staff or villagers bring home your own barramundi for dinner.A stunning peace of paradise in Asia.Come and visits us before its all gone and gets developed like every other paradise in the world.Please don't get talked into the cheaper boats that go to Koh Rong they only go to the closer side of the island and not to Sok San and it will take you 3-4 hours to walk it or $25 one way on the long tail boatThere is only one boat going to Sok San so please only ask for this boat ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sok San Beach Bungalows Hotel Sihanoukville

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