The Gulf of Thailand is home to some of the last untouched pieces of Cambodia. Don’t expect paved roads, 24-hour electricity or the tourist amenities you’re used to. What you can expect are stunning landscapes, immaculate beaches and some authentic Cambodian experiences.
Island-hopping Cambodia will require effort and patience but the experience is totally worth it. The islands (there are more than 60!) are no more than a few hours from the mainland but transport between the islands isn’t so easy. You may rather have to travel back to the mainland, Sihanoukville, Kep or Koh Kong, in order to reach a different island. Hiring a private boat for your trip is also a possibility.
Koh Rong has 23 white sand beaches to choose from. Off-shore there is some incredibly untouched jungle to trek and calm waters to snorkel and dive. Every night, thanks to the little light pollution, you can watch phosphorescent plankton in the water, a rare occurrence anywhere else.
- Size: 78 km²
- Beaches: 43 km worth
- How to get there: ferry from Sihanoukville, usually departing in the mornings
Koh Rong Samloem
Koh Rong Samloem is the smaller and quieter sister of Koh Rong. It’s just two hours away from the mainland but a world away in terms of culture. This island offers one of the few opportunities to experience traditional Cambodia life on the islands.
- Top attractions: diving trips to the coral reefs
- How to get there: ferry leaves Sihanoukville from the Serendipity Road Pier
This small island is practically uninhabited, bordered by forests of mangrove trees. The island is part of Ream National Park which includes some of the best beaches in all of Cambodia. The best sunrises can be caught from the beach to the east of the dock that is flanked by pine trees.
- Top attraction: home to 100’s of rare birds
- Activities: snorkelling, beach combing, bird watching
- How to get there: boat from Sihanoukville or longtail boat from Prek Toeuk Ranger Station
Koh ta Kiev
Koh ta Kiev is by far the best island in the Gulf of Thailand for snorkelling. It is just one hour away by boat from Sihanoukville but you’ll be surprised how few people visit. For accommodations, there are Robinson Crusoe-style tree houses just back from the shore.
There are more than just these islands to explore but this will certainly give you an idea where to start if you’re looking for untouched beaches, Cambodian culture and a taste of what island living is really like. What more could you ask for on your holidays in Cambodia?
Who’s in for an adventure to Cambodia?