|Koh Prins, which is only reachable by boat, can take as much as eight hours by boat from Shanoukville (65 kilometers). The island offers what are said to be the best diving opportunities in Cambodia, but visits must be chartered or arranged through a dive shop.
The real draw for me and my wife was the
live aboard trip to Koh Prins and Koh Tang. The islands are 5 hours further out from Koh Rong and are well worth a visit. The
live aboard boat is fairly basic with no private accommodation.
Instead you sleep under a canvas on mattresses on the top deck. This
is to be expected though as the trip is fantastic value at $295 each
for 2 nights, all food and soft drinks and 8 dives.
When we went it felt like even better value as we were the only guests on the boat with the owner Dennis and instructor Babs, our own private guides and charter! The diving in the outer islands feels very frontier like with lots of new sites still waiting to be discovered. Indeed on our second to last dive we got to name a new site, Rocky Ridge. Only two companies visit them and not on a regular basis, needless to say we didn't see any other dive boats!
The visibility off Koh Prins was fantastic with 40 metres plus on our first dive and always at least 30 metres. The diving is reminiscent of the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea off Thailand, albeit with less coral and fish variety. There are huge boulders that tumble away in to the depths interspersed with sandy patches. Growing amongst the boulders are hard and soft corals, anemones and some truly huge barrel sponges. The fish life is prolific with large schools of yellow striped snappers and various fusiliers, as well as blue spotted rays and lots of white eyed morays.
The macro life was not quite as good as Koh Rong although there were a few nudibranchs and lots of whip coral gobies. What is sadly lacking is any pelagic life. We were hoping to see some sharks or large rays but judging from the amount of fishing boats that are around they have all been fished out.
We chose the dive shop as they were very prompt when replying to emails and were also running a liveaboard trip to some of the outer islands, namely Koh Prins and Koh Tang. The Dive Shop has a base in Sihanoukville and on Koh Rong Island, a slow two hour trip from the mainland. It is well worth staying on the island as it saves you the four hour round trip everyday for just two dives. If you stay on the island you also have the option of doing an early morning or night dive. The island itself is beautiful with great beaches and a very laid back atmosphere, far nicer than Sihanoukville.