Ten years ago, when I first arrived on the island of Koh Rong, specifically on Koh Touch beach, it was an absolutely empty beach, with a small village on one side and Paradise Bungalows Resort on the other.
There was also a pier on which the Dive Shop Cambodia dive center was located and that was all, there was nothing more. Good old times.
Now Koh Touch has got living spaces, restaurants, guesthouses, hostels, bungalow resorts etc. The village houses that were built from rotten boards and rusty glands turned into three-story palaces made of glass and concrete … Well, about glass and concrete, I exaggerated a little, but for sure from bricks and a good planks.
Take a look at the photos, you will understand that I’m not exaggerating at all, the island changed beyond recognition, thanks to the efforts of enterprising people, locals and the people from rest of the world.
Yes, the island is a true international. Starting a business in Cambodia is very simple, but making it profitable for a long time is much more difficult. Therefore, businesses on the island were sold and resold, rented, closed, shares sold, new partners entered … Business life on the island was just in full swing, and now anyone can come to the island and buy a guesthouse or bungalow. Well, or to enter a share, as anyone likes.
And what about dive centers? I must say that diving centers did not escape the common fate of businesses in Cambodia.
Let me tell you about the situation in the present with some historical explanations.
Let’s open Google Maps and type “diving koh rong” in the search, let’s go straight through the list. The first number shown by the search machine, Koh Rong Dive Center, was opened in 2012, located on the island of Koh Rong in the already mentioned village of Koh Touch. This is probably the largest diving center in Cambodia now, managed by a team from Turkey.
Reef Dive Resort – closed a couple of years ago, the “Resort” remained, now called Reef on the Beach, but “Dive” has gone with the time.
Cambodian Diving Group – also no longer exists, was located on the island of Koh Rong Samloem in the village of M’pay Bei, the UK instructor Simon Herbert managed the diving center. I don’t know the details but in September 2019 Simon had to leave Cambodia and the dive center was closed.
Ecosea diver – as far as I know, this is the second dive center opened in Cambodia by the Japanese instructor Kiyoko. I mean, second dive center in Cambodia, not second dive center opened by Kiyoko. When Chinese expansion to Sihanoukville had begun, she went back to Japan. Ecosea Diver is based in M’pay Bei on the island of Koh Rong Samloem, now it is being run by Irish instructor Tom Mellon.
Scuba Nation Dive Center Cambodia – the first dive center in Cambodia, opened back in 2002, the founders of Cambodian diving Gerard and Vicky stopped operation in April 2019. In August 2019 the dive center was bought by a group of Chinese investors, now it is located at Saracen bay.
The Dive Shop Sunset beach and The Dive Shop Saracen bay are two branches of one dive center, located on opposite sides of Koh Rong Samloem island. The dive center was opened in 2007, managed by Dennis Funke from Germany. Two branches on different sides of the island is a very good idea, as the winds blow here six months on one side, six months on the other in particular. Depending on the season, dive center operates from one or the other branch. By the way, Dennis is one of the few technical instructors in Cambodia.
Samloem Dive Center – a small dive center in Saracen bay on the island of Koh Rong Samloem, was originally opened as a branch of the Koh Rong Dive center, later gained independence, Turkish instructor Deniz manages the dive center.
Dive College Koh Rong is us.
Adventure Adam Activities and Tours is not a dive center in the full sense of the word; Adam Packer organizes day and overnight trips around Koh Rong. Adam is a divemaster, previously worked at the Koh Rong Dive Center, he knows local dive sites very well and occasionally organizes diving for his clients, if they wish so.
Freedom Dive Center – no longer exists.
Paradise Diving and Watersports is located in Paradise Bungalow Samloem, the boss (and crew member) is Eric from Belgium, the second technical instructor in Cambodia.
Blue Lagoon Divers Cambodia is another dive center at M’pay bei led by Israeli instructor Itay Kadury.
Palm Beach Dive Center opened in October 2019, as it is clear from its implication, located on Palm Beach on the island of Koh Rong, there are two instructors Manua and Anne.
These are all dive centers shown on the first page of Google maps, but not all existing ones. We should also mention the Khmer Diving Group, the only dive center run by Khmer instructors’ team and where you can do diving courses in Khmer, it is located at The Tube Hotel on the island of Koh Rong Samloem, the manager is Pier Reak Kann.
Diving instructors, equipment and balloons can also be found at the Royal Sand Hotel on Koh Rong.
There is also diving service at Song Saa Private Island … if you are willing to pay $ 1,500 a night, you will get diving for free))
I saved the most exotic to the end – Octopuses Garden Dive Center and Kuda Divers, which are located on the island of Koh Sdach, this island is 1.5 kilometers away from the coast of the Botum Sakor National Park in the province of Koh Kong. Koh Sdach is only inhabited island of the archipelago of 12 islands. Getting there is very difficult. I’ve never been there and I can’t say anything about these dive centers.
So, as I know, it is the list of dive centers in Cambodia at the moment, 21/03/2020. Maybe I missed something, but in general it’s correct.Let’s see what the coronavirus pandemic will bring us.