Koh Rong island is the second largest island in Cambodia, located approximately 25kms from the mainland of Cambodia, in the Gulf of Thailand. The island comprises is around 78 km2, most of which is currently untouched rainforest. There are 43kms of stunning beaches, and a wide range of fauna and flora, making Koh Rong a beautiful place to be.
The local island population is around 2500 and growing, with the arrival of more Cambodians from other provinces seeking work, and expatriates who chose to make Koh Rong their home. Construction is largely unregulated and development is happening rapidly, albeit on a small scale. The village of Koh Tuich, the base of Friends of Koh Rong, is the most touristic village on the island. Whilst most of the other villages on the island remain small fishing communities, Koh Tuich has changed rapidly in the past few years, with both locally and foreign-owned businesses springing up on a weekly basis.
Like many areas in Cambodia, land rights is an issue here, with ownership of land often unclear and legally ambiguous. Much of the island has been granted to The Royal Group conglomerate on a 99 year lease, who have outlined plans for development including an airport, a golf course, and a range of resorts and residential developments.
At present, most tourists who arrive on the island are backpackers, traveling South East Asia on the cheap. Increasingly, as word of the beauty of Koh Rong gets out, people from all different walks of life are arriving to experience the Cambodian islands.