Southeast Asia has a lot of paradisiacal locations and relaxed places to wind down.
Get a break, chill by the water, catch some sun and have some cocktails!
Cambodia is no exception and there is no shortage of islands with postcard-like beaches in the kingdom. It is complicated to choose which one to visit if you have only short time… so which one should you pick? Here you can find some tips on where to go depending on your tastes…
Typical island life… (in Koh Rong Samloem)
Probably the most famous one in the backpacker circles, Koh Rong certainly fulfill the requirements of a proper Southeast Asian island:
Besides that, in the quietiest beaches you even have the chance of seeing the fluorescent plankton by night. Certainly an experience not to be missed.
Koh Rong is considered the party island, a kind of smaller sister of the Thai island of Koh Phangan, where thousands of young backpackers come every year expecting full moon parties and cheap alcohol. So yes, definitely here you can party a lot, if that’s what you are looking for, and meet plenty of other young travelers. But, being a big island, if parties is not your thing, you can still find other quieter places and secluded beaches if you can afford some more expensive options…
Anyway, check our article on Koh Rong for more info on the island.
Waiting for your jump. (in Koh Rong)
For a smaller and less noisy island, you can find Koh Rong Samloem just near Koh Rong. More untouched and wild!
Accessible by slow boat or speed ferry. Check out CamboTicket’s website for all the boats’ options.
Paradise, here I come! (in Koh Rong Samloem)
For an even less developed and more natural location, we can’t recommend enough the peacefulness of Koh Takiev, an island 45 minutes by fisherman boat off the coast of Otres (near Sihanoukville). There are only four or five guesthouses, one in each beach – the perfect place for some days without civilization: just you, the sand and the sea. The place called “Last Point” is highly recommended, you can even bring your own hammock or tent to camp! Find here more info on this island.
The meaning of solitude… (in Koh Takiev)
Not far away, just out of the Ream National Park a bit south from Otres, with only one resort and fewer tourists, Koh Thmei is for the ones looking for absolute silence and secluded location. A must if you want to finish that book you are carrying in your backpack since weeks or maybe for a romantic escape…
Other option is Rabbit Island, or Koh Tonsay, just a half hour ride by boat from Kep. Here the sand is more into yellow color but a must-see is the glowing-in-the-dark plankton that appears at night!
In case you have a really short time, visit Koh Dach (Silk island) just outside of Phnom Pen, for a relaxed lifestyle and pleasant countryside. Besides, it’s a great place to learn about silk farming and buy some souvenirs, like the traditional Khmer scarf (the Krama!) for your loved ones back home! Read our article about this island for more info on where to go and what to do.
Hope this post gave you some ideas for your trip through the islands of the south of Cambodia. If it’s white-sandy beach and clear blue water what you looking for, these are the places for you! Have a look at Camboticket website for different options on how to go to Sihanoukville, including bus+ferry tickets to some of the islands.
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It’s probably one of the most visited destinations in Cambodia, with white sand beaches and clear waters to swim, quiet jungles to trek and all-night-long parties to dance. Koh Rong, an island near the coast of Sihanoukville and one of the backpacker heavens in Southeast Asia, has plenty of activities to do and – even better – it offers a great atmosphere to doing nothing at all.
Cliché postcard kind of beach.
Koh Rong is just 25 kilometers off the coast, offering more than 20 beaches for your relaxed vacations by the sea.
To reach it you must travel to Sihanoukville. There, head to one of the ferry offices you can find on the road leading to Serendipity beach. The options to reach Koh Rong are many, from slow boats for 5 dollars per trip taking two and a half hours, to fast boats that cost 20 dollars (with return included on an open date – meaning you just have to confirm the ticket on the previous day you have decided to come back) and only take 45 minutes. You can find all the ferry options on CamboTicket website as well!
These ferries will take you to Tuich village, the main backpacker area with the highest concentration of guesthouses. Here you will find more options in terms of food and shopping (mainly small supermarkets with basic products) and the cheapest accommodations. From 4 dollars per night for a bed in a dormitory or 6 to 8 dollars basic room. It will be here that you will also find the most crowded and noisy atmosphere in the whole island, with bars playing music until late night and hordes of people spread in the beach in front.
The piers on the beach of Tuich village.
If it’s quiet time what you are looking for, better options are available if you walk to the left (while looking in direction of the sea). Long beach is the next strip of sand (also known as Sok San or 7KM beach). After that one, 4K is probably one of the most beautiful in the whole island (also known as Long Set beach). Here you can find more secluded accommodation, fancy and well-built bungalows for about 25 to 35 dollars a night, just a 40 minutes’ walk from the main beach in Tuich village. In case you don’t want to walk the whole way you can also hire a local boat for about 2 dollars to drop you there. This is also one of the easiest spots to watch the fluorescent plankton by night, so prepare yourself for beautiful nocturnal swims with glowing water around you.
For other types of budget, around the island there are a lot of pristine beaches with resort-type of accommodation so, in case your wallet allows it, explore options and book beforehand (they will probably offer boat service to drop you on their specific beach)
Around the island many are the spots with great diving and snorkeling opportunities, and businesses offering these services can be found everywhere. For the ones more into exploring the nightlife, Tuich village is the place to go, with many bars such as the “Island Boys” offering drinks and loud (but not so good) music every night. A couple of nights per week there’s also one pub crawl happening, in addition to regular parties on Police beach where you can dance until morning – in fact, the end of the party is typically watching the incredible sunrise on the sea.
A gift from the skies, during sunset time while walking towards 4K beach.
For food, you can find plenty of restaurants along Tuich village and along its beach, with most of the typical options of Western, Italian, Middle Eastern and Asian food available. There also plenty of vegetarian options as well, and if you are on a budget, head to the Khmer-owned “Nice Food” restaurant which is the only one having meals for around 2 dollars.
On a different note, it’s pleasant to see as well how the businesses catered for tourists are helping the community, with Friends of Koh Rong organization created by some of the owners supporting education and health care to the local population.
So if beach is what you are looking for, have a look on Koh Rong island for some really special days in your vacation. Camboticket has various options to go to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh or Kampot, including bus+ferry tickets (check theses here from Phnom Penh and here from Kampot).
When we arrived in Cambodia, we were at the end of our fifth month in Asia. We thought we saw it all, in the means of chaotic cities with surprisingly beautiful twists. And we’re coming from Istanbul so tell me about chaos on the street! But Cambodia managed to surprise us once more. It’s safe to say that, it started with our” airport pick-up”. Well, the hostel said they arranged a car to pick us up, an airport shuttle. How naive we were to expect an actual car! OF COURSE it was a tuk-tuk. It was our first of many jolly surprises of the country. Trying to prevent our bags from falling out of the vehicle on the bumpy back roads to our homestay once again we told ourselves, never have assumptions on Asia. And that’s the real beauty of travelling unknown places isn’t it, destroying assumptions!
After a few days in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, we had to make our way to the small village of Ream. Because you see, we’re travelling via volunteering. We’re exchanging a few hours of work for accommodation, food, laughter, new friends and a chance to see the country in the most precious way. Sounds neat, right?
So this time our way was to this small fishing village of Sihanouk Ville. But before heading there we had a small problem on our plate in Phnom Penh. We needed to get visa for our next stop, Laos.
You see, Turkey is an amazing country, with weird connections all around the world. And not necessarily good connections. When we read online that Laos, is giving a hard time for Turkish people on visa process, we didn’t want to believe. I mean, what bad history we could possibly have with a country we basically had no interaction with, am I right? But obviously, world politics is more complicated than that.
Anyway, we knew it would be a little tricky on the embassy so we wanted to go there prepared, with our bus tickets and everything. But of course for that, we needed refundable tickets, because we weren’t sure about the visas. That’s where Camboticket gets wonderfully involved in this story.
When we were searching for online tickets to Laos from Phnom Penh, the name Camboticket caught our eyes more than once. And we found stories about how extremely helpful these people are. So we said, let’s go stalk them with our questions!
The stories were true. They were so helpful and friendly that; although it’s actually an online business, customers kept coming to their offices to handle things. They helped us to find the perfect ticket to Laos and told us about the refund options. We left the office so happy and relieved, that we wanted to have excuses to go back! And Laos embassy gladly gave us the excuse we needed! Yes, you guessed it right, no Laos visa for us!
Well, we did the exact thing that experienced travellers do in times like these: changed the plans! We changed our next stop from Laos to Myanmar and Camboticket changed our tickets from Laos to Thailand + Ream. (unfortunately they don’t have direct tickets to Myanmar. We’ll get there they said, and I believe them my eyes wide shut.) Everything solved seamlessly and we were on our way to Ream, peaceful we can ever be!
Sihanouk Ville is a popular summer spot for both locals and foreign tourists who endeavoured Cambodia’s inland treasures. It’s numerous cafes, easily accessible beaches and pier to the near by islands, make it a perfect stop! Whereas Ream is the silent, peaceful small brother of Sihanouk Ville. Right between Ream National Park and Sihanouk Ville airport, it seems almost stuck.
We didn’t prefer to visit the national park. First of all the reviews we read online were not really appealing. And when our host Roy mentioned you needed to pay for a ranger to wander around in the park, our enthusiasm for national parks were gone instantly. But the curious traveller, with a huge apetite for trees, can gladly combine his/her day with a small Ream Village tour.
It has two virgin beaches. So you can make sure no unwanted tourists will be photo-bombing with your sunset capture. Prek Chak Beach, the long one, has smooth white sand and a magnificent forest background thanks to the unvisitable-national-park-by-low-budget-traveller. A perfect mixture of earthly palette, green, yellow and blue.
On your way to the beach, you’ll see the hammock restaurants with wonderful views of Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Sramauch. Nothing’s better than laying down in a hammock, with the sea extending in front of you. Oh and I forgot to mention the fresh coconut juice.
But before finishing up your day, remember to take a look at Wat Ream, up at the hill. Impressing with a breath taking view, this temple also hosts the most unusual Buddhist sculptures, you’ll ever see.
Our host is a little bit out of village, right on Toek Sab river, a perfect spot for kayaking. We definitely recommend renting a kayak and make a peaceful trip on the river with only wild surrounding you. End of the river is Kbal Chhay Waterfall. It’s a nice complex of waterfalls. A must-see, if you’re around the area. If you trust your level of athletism, going there by kayak would be a nice rewarding experience after three hours of rowing. We did trust ourselves but somewhere on the road laziness overcome and we thought that “maybe we can go there with motorbikes later”. We went there with motorbikes the other day.
We’re coming to the end of our days here in Ream, and missing it already. If you prefer the small villages to the big cities like us, then Ream might be your alternative option against Sihanouk Ville. Or with it’s extensive fruit market, hammock restaurants, scenic beaches it might be a nice combination for your trip!
Safe travels everyone!
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