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Koh Rong vs. El Nido, Philippines: which to choose?

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Koh Rong vs. El Nido, Philippines: which to choose?

My husband and I are trying to decide between these two beaches for a weeklong stay during his upcoming sabbatical. We will be traveling during January and February and also going to Sydney, Myanmar, Bangkok, Thai islands (probably Ko Tao?), and probably Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh). We like snorkeling, good street food, and hanging out at beach bars having drinks on the beach (bonus points for hammocks, live music, and wifi). Flashpacker budget of around $30 per night for a bungalow.

Koh Rong obviously provides a logistical advantage if we are already in Cambodia, but I just discovered El Nido and am amazed! Has anyone been to both places and can offer some advice?

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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1. Re: Koh Rong vs. El Nido, Philippines: which to choose?

i was at Koh Rong and Koh Rong Saloem.

Koh Rong Saloem is more quiet and more beautiful then Koh Rong (my opinion). But Koh Rong Saloem has no choice of restaurant and bar.

For logistic point of view, better to leave out El Nido since. Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia are nearby each other. So better to leave out El Nido for next trip :-).


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2. Re: Koh Rong vs. El Nido, Philippines: which to choose?

I've not been to Koh Rong (despite two trips to cambodia and it having been on my wishlist for years!). However, I went to El Nido last year and was disappointed. The main beach is not clean and I made the mistake of swimming in it and am pretty sure that was the cause of an upset stomach.

I'm sure it was stunningly beautiful 20 years ago but, in my mind, it didn't even compare to the much more touristy Krabi area of Thailand. I enjoyed my time there going on snorkelling trip and and walking to quieter beaches but I was underwhelmed.

There are not so many foreign tourists compared to other SE Asian beach resorts but Palawan is very much on the domestic radar due to the Underground River being called one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World". There was a tremendous amount of local tourists.

I liked hanging out with and chatting to the Philippinos on my boat trips but all the snorkelling trips go to the same places at pretty much the same time and the beautiful views were spoiled for me by 200 shouting, screaming and orange-life jacket clad local tourists having a whale of a time. I know it sounds churlish to moan about people enjoying their own country - and I'm not as such - it's just that different people behave differently on holiday and sometimes other people's behaviour clashes with yours. Serenity and picture-taking were off the agenda on those trips, for sure!

However, I'm not sure you'll find live music, wifi and street food on Koh Rong: it's a huge island with a limited number of accommodation options! I really want to go there to hang out in a hammock for a week and get through several novels and go for a few swims and walks... Koh Chang in Thailand would a lot more action, which seems what you are looking for. Have a look at Blue Lagoon bungalows on Chang.

Maastricht, The...
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3. Re: Koh Rong vs. El Nido, Philippines: which to choose?

Went to Ko Rong Samloem in July. It's absolutely stunning and very quiet.Stayed at Saracen Bay Resort . The best bungalows on the best part of the beach if you're looking for some luxury.Every resort has it's own restaurant so there's enough to choose from.Also nice is Lazy beach on the other side of the island(30 minute walk through the jungle,nice walk).It has a great restaurant and ok bungalows.Both Ko Rong and Samloem don't have wifi.If you want baraction you better head to Ko Rong.Samloem only has one bar on the beach.Never been to Phillipines so can't help you on that one.

4. Re: Koh Rong vs. El Nido, Philippines: which to choose?

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