3 Tropical Islands Off Cambodia You Need To See Now
Nestled amongst the pillars of casino’s in Sihanoukville, you’ll find a creaky, old dock waiting to take you somewhere new... A port(al) to a tiny crop of islands off the shores of Cambodia. Join one of their many speedboats (or take your own!), and in around 45 minutes, you’ll reach the tropical islands. Think The Beach circa 2000! Each of these little lands possesses a unique quality worth discovering. Amongst the many situated there, three islands stand out. Whether you’re searching for a wild night out, eco-living or true modern day paradise... Rest assured you'll find exactly what you’re looking for. And more.
Best for: Partying and Socialising
Upon arrival on Koh Rong, you cannot help but feel in awe of the scenes you're faced with. From the sea of faces welcoming you, to the mini stalls selling coconuts and the intense scent of freshly caught fish smoking on fire... This island is breathtaking. An established community lives here, Khmer and Barang alike. Along Koh Toch pier, you'll discover a variety of local and western cuisine, music and of course... Some very unique nights out!
Almost every night has an event on, though be sure to check out their Saturday party on Police Beach. For a mere $10, you have access to one of the most incomparable party destinations in the world. Think the vibe of a Full Moon Party meets the music of Burning Man meets the freedom of your very own private island.
Okay, so you’ve danced the sunrise away, and need a way to fix your headache? Check out the Rising Sun for a refreshing banana smoothie and a delicious breakfast! Opt for a beach day sunbathing and enjoy the warmth of many Cambodian vendors strolling past. Whether you’re looking for a hair of the dog (think $0.50 beer!) or a tasty snack, you’ll be more than appeased. Stop for lunch at one of the many yummy restaurants along the pier, and take in the functional chaos that is Koh Rong. As the sun goes down, take a short hike up to discover the most incredible bar to date: Skybar.
Situated in the heart of the jungle, and 100 steps up, you're faced with a place of outstanding natural beauty. Reminiscent of childhood dreams; a jungle treehouse, set in the depth of a tropical forest. Add in some exotic cocktails and insane views of the ocean, you’ve got Skybar. Get here in time for sundowners, and watch the night roll on in front of your very eyes. To quote the words of Julian, a young Italian traveller: “There’s nothing quite like Koh Rong”. No truer words were spoken.
Koh Rong Sanloem
Best for: Luxury and Relaxing
Koh Rong Sanloem is a beautiful representation of what Koh Rong would have looked like 10 years ago. Much like Koh Rong (only its a smaller, baby sister version), the island carries far calmer energy. Barely built on, Koh Rong Sanloem has everything you could want from an island getaway. According to National Geographic, Koh Rong Sanloem has one of the “21 Best Beaches in the World”... With crystal clear oceans and sunrises to die for, this becomes self-explanatory. Be sure to head to Lazy Beach late afternoon, and surrender to the serenity of a magical sunset.
Once on Koh Rong Sanloem, you’ll stumble upon a bunch of accommodation arraying from enchanting little wooden huts, to full-blown resorts... And all the wonderful things that come with this unique luxury. One in particular worth mentioning is the Sol Beach Resort - located in Saracen Bay. With its unique Khmer-style villas, the resort hosts an array of luscious surroundings. Add in a relaxing spa, many instagrammable hotspots and a beach on your doorstep... Sol Beach is a perfect getaway spot with a healthy dose of luxury, and tranquillity.
Aside from finding a beautiful home for a few days, be sure to walk around and test out some local cuisine. You can almost guarantee the best fish in Cambodia as it comes right off the shores every single morning! The Fishing Hook has an unbelievable seafood barbecue, and again, some stunning views. Like Koh Rong, KRS has many areas to explore, and as they’re walkable, be sure to step away from the main areas and get hiking!
Koh Ta Kiev
Best for: Sustainability and Eco-Living
Last but not least, you have Koh Ta Kiev. Though the largest of the three islands in diameter, only a small amount of people actually know about it. The true speciality that comes from a visit to Koh Ta Kiev is the way the island runs. With a wholesome approach to a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, KTK is exceptional. Only six accommodation options exist - most often, wooden bungalows set on the beach. Thus, if you’re looking for an eccentric experience, Koh Ta Kiev’s the place.
Amongst the rustle of the palm trees, the faint sounds of geckos in high places and the smooth waves crashing onto the island... It is certain you will find peace here. Real peace. With a strong focus on disconnecting from the modern world (minimal electricity!) along with all things eco, many spaces exist here to help you meditate and work on your inner sense of calm. Head on down to Kactus, an eco-village “designed to complement the natural beauty of the island”. Its unique spaces include quirky accommodation, beachfront scenes, and a vibrant bar. If you're into yoga, head onto the beach and work on your crow’s pose whilst hot, white sand crushes between your toes.
After sunset, stroll down to Plankton Beach to witness one of nature’s strangest phenomenon’s. Bioluminescent Plankton. Light's produced through "chemical reactions taking place within their bodies known as Bioluminescence”. It is something spectacular to behold, and a memory (and story!) that will last a lifetime. What’s not to love about vast rainforests, pristine beaches and off the grid living? Koh Ta Kiev is undoubtedly an explorer’s dream. This is your alternative Asian experience, in the heart of nature, just the way it should be.
So why do you have to see the islands now? You may or may not know that China has invested in a large part of Cambodia’s coastline... Including these islands and their future. There's no doubt that these islands authenticities will fail to suffice new development. Get your bags packed and get down to that creeky dock before its too late!
Love & light,
The African Rose
PS. All photos were shot with HUJI on an iPhone 6 - my camera and I were having a little disagreement at this time (no, this does not make me an iPhoneographer!).