6 Best Islands in Cambodia and Accommodation Tips
Dropping in to Cambodia is treated as a pleasant addition during visiting its neighboring Thailand and Vietnam. It seems like nobody’s ready to acknowledge Cambodia as a separate self-contained touristic entity. Good for you! This country features mild and safe climate moreover it never suffered from typhoons, tsunami or earthquakes as distinct from other SEA seaside destinations.
For the record besides Khmer ruins and pristine nature Cambodia can also boast marvelous cozy beaches not yet teeming with tourists even in high season. As per latest estimates Cambodia possesses 458 km of the coastline and 52 islands most of which located within easy reach from Sihanoukville.
Here are some of them to start your epic island hopping with.
Koh Rong is the biggest of Cambodian islands and the most visited one. The length of the most beautiful beach on Koh Rong, so-called Long Beach, which is FYI also one of the world’s top ten beaches, exceeds 5 km.
Pristine nature; magnificent tropical forests, adorable waterfalls, and sweetest sea breeze will make you come back again and again. Koh Rong houses some fishermen’s communities where you can do an awesome fishing experience for USD10 including BBQ and a drink. Amazing sunset would be a perfect ending of a fantastic day.
For a change check out jungle trekking, it differs from that offered on mainland. Or you can get a master grade at a special diving school for USD25.
Local nightlife is a kinda fast and furious. Loud music strikes upon from every bar but at a certain hour comes the power shutdowns and from now on only distant murmuring of toasted pals can be heard.
Making barbeque right by the sea is a very often practice, only USD4-5 for sitting in a comfy lounge-chair and sipping a drink for USD1. Mm, not bad! All the above gives a hint for Koh Rong to be a party place.
Getting to Koh Rong: by high-speed ferries from Sihanoukville pier (end of Serendipity Rd.), USD20 return ticket.
Koh Rong Samloem
Just 10 min. away from Koh Rong there’s a beach astonishing with its beauty. It is Sarasen bay on Koh Rong Samloem with pure water and upmost infinite tranquility and incredible nature. This island is meant for family vacation. Long stretch of Lazy beach, low pitched seabottom, long and smooth. The locality is well within view. The sea is clear and azure so that nothing in the world would stop you from having a dip in first place. The sand grits underfoot as if newly fallen snow.
Getting to Koh Rong Samloem: ferries/ boats/ speed boats going from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong make a stop at Koh Rong Samloem, price depends on the operator.
Koh Ta Kiev, Koh Russei and Koh Thmei
Another group of islands includes Koh Ta Kiev, Koh Russei, aka Bamboo Island and Koh Thmei closer to Otres beach on the mainland and Ream National park, are no less attractive.
Koh Russei is mighty popular among tourists (8km from Otres, 12km from Snooky).
Koh Ta Kiev is famous for a 69% absinthe production on one-man ‘facility’.
These two as all the rest mentioned are not deprived of natural beauty. Edged with several colourful beaches they have swarming marine life and underwater sites, too. However their main selling point is the bioluminescent phytoplankton, yes, that’s right, that’s when the water glows at night.
Right opposite Ream National Park waterfront there’s an unpopulated Koh Thmei surrounded by mangrove trees. It is an environmentally pristine region where solar power and biodiesel for bungalows electric supply are used, yet why we’re telling you this…forget it! GET OUTside! NOW! There’s so much to see here; sandy beaches blurred with giant clamshells, colourful coral reefs, different bird species, monkeys, dolphins and even ponies. Nature watchers would be astounded.
Getting to Koh Russei: by boat from Ochheuteal beach, USD10 round trip.
Getting to Koh Ta Kiev: by ferry from Otres, USD8 round trip; OR by ferry from Ream Beach, USD5 one-way ticket.
Getting to Koh Thmei: by boat from Koh Kchhang Fishing Village within USD15; OR by car/ bike from Sihanoukville (taxi USD22).
There’s something to otherworldly feeling in eco-friendly huts of Koh Totang. Solar panels, drinking rainwater, compost toilets sound kinda health and safety manual. But it is a real place with innate colours of nature. The island itself is very tine and there’s only 1 guesthouse here. The owners share this piece of land with 5 other locals. That’s it. Nobody else to disturb you from kicking back in your hammock.
This single guesthouse named Nomads Land offers sea cruises, authentic type fishing (with a spear gun), kayaks and snorkelling sets for rent. Rocky coast of Koh Totang hosts beautiful coral gardens with various fish species and off-shore landscapes. Inspiring, isn’t it?!
Attention! No entry for Insta-people! There’s no Wi-Fi for many many miles away, so just leave your cell on mainland and relax.
Getting to Koh Totang (arm yourself with patience and go!): Make all bookings beforehand checking time and rates:
- by bus from Pnom Pehn (or any town hosting a bus station) to Koh Kong stopping at Café Sok Srei. Here make a transfer for local minibus (USD7.5) heading to Poi Yopon (one more transfer point on mainland closest to the island) being your target. Nomads Land service includes picking up their guests from here and transfer to Koh Totang by boat;
- by taxi from Phnom Penh will be about USD100 one-way;
- by ferry to Koh S’Dach archipelago changing boats at the last one.
Accommodation on the islands
Lodging on all islands in terms of prices and quality are practically equal and stick within affordable range USD5-40. It is presented mostly by simple and cosy bungalows and huts. Most of bungalows and dorms are located near the docks/ pier where the boats moor and take off so could be easily found.
It’s easy to transfer from one island to another at about USD5, depending on the distance. Larger islands have more developed infrastructure, as you may have noticed, and there are many ways to explore them and their outskirts, whether on foot, by boat/canoe or bicycle available for rent.
Information about islands and transfer to any of them can be obtained everywhere on the mainland: check booking agencies, touristic bureaus, hotel receptions/information desks, tuk-tuk drivers…. Always double-check what you have been told (use different sources).