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Island Hopping

Island Hopping in Cambodia

 island hopping in cambodia

I am from the Philippines where beautiful beaches are common. So island hopping in Cambodia wasn’t really a major part of my itinerary. Anyhow, I got a few days off before I left for Thailand so I decided to check out what are Khmer beaches like.

Well, they may not have very long coastline but its islands are never short of delightful surprises—white sand beaches, clear blue seas and a wonderful underworld.

Many backpackers on the banana pancake trail look forward to island hopping in Cambodia.

island hopping in cambodia

Just across the mainland town of Sihanoukville, are a cluster of islands dotting the Bay of Kampong Som and the Gulf of Thailand. All of these islands are accessible and well-explored.

From party vibes to quiet escapes and from the simplest beach huts to the most sophisticated hamlets on cliffs, these islands always have something for everyone’s specific holiday fancies.



island hopping in cambodia

One of the biggest islands, Koh Rong is the popular choice among backpackers for its cheaper accommodations and nightly beachside parties.

The island has nice white beachlines. But it is also very filthy and flies are everywhere.

The dining and party zone is on the southeastern side of the island. Barbequed seafood is the staple offering but other international and Khmer food are also available. As night falls, the island gets amped & beer begins to flow.

A good sunset view is on the northeastern side. But you have to trek through its thick jungle until you reach Long Set Beach.



Photo credits: Saracen Bay Asia

Photo credits: Saracen Bay Asia

I like Koh Rong Samloem. It is smaller than Koh Rong but it’s more beautiful & peaceful.

Cradling Saracen Bay on the west, Koh Rong Samloem is a snorkeling and diving spot. It is decked with designer resorts & chic restaurants. Koh Rong Samloem is a perfect spot for just lazing by daytime and stargazing by night.



island hopping in cambodia

Just a quick ride from Otres Beach in Sihanoukville, Koh Russei is a private island now being developed into an island resort. With the large clearing being made on its face, it is unsightly and full of rubbish.

Popularly known as Bamboo Island, it used to be a favorite seaside camping spot. Beach bums would comb the island’s lush jungle, lie on the sand and bask on its water all day. At night, bonfires lit the island as the endless laughter of happy campers echoed under the stillness of the Cambodian moon.

But it’s all over now as Bamboo Island is soon to become an exclusive destination.



island hopping in cambodia

Across Koh Russie is Koh Ta Kiev, a small island that is largely undeveloped. Activities in the island are limited to snorkeling, fishing and easy jungle treks.

But if you look for a quiet retreat, Koh Ta Kiev may be best for you. There are only a few choices in accommodation like pretty tree houses tucked on its jungle trail or close to the sandy hems of the island.



Photo credits: Song Saa Resort

Photo credits: Song Saa Resort

Koh Bang Palin is the crown jewel of any island hopping in Cambodia. Popular for Song Saa Resort, it is a private island reserved for upmarket tourists.

Song Saa defines what lavish island accommodation is all about. It has swanky amenities befitting its sophisticated guests. Elegantly designed villas, finest international cuisine and all the flares of everything opulent.

island hopping in cambodia


Overall, island hopping in Cambodia is nice but not really spectacular.





  • Sihanoukville is the usual jump-off point to the islands.
  • Boat tickets and hotel bookings in the island are usually arranged in Sihanoukville through tour operators, especially if you are coming in during the peak season (March-June).
  • There are hydrofoil fast crafts and slow boats. Specify this when you purchase your ticket. For other islands without public boat schedules, you may opt to hire a private ride.
  • In Koh Rong Island, do not stay at Coco’s (terrible service; mosquito-infested) and never eat at Seahorse Resto (filthy and very slow service).
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