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  • Coast line Gulf of Thailand isles
  • Coastlife The three Rs: reef, rainforest, relaxation

In a pristine pocket of the Gulf of Thailand, off the coast of party-primed Sihanoukville, lie Cambodia's Koh Rong Islands, a handful of isles that are piquing the interest of luxury hounds around the world.

Delivering the kind of off-the-radar experience Koh Samui and Phi Phi offered 30 years ago, this untouched archipelago promises sugar-white beaches, protected reefs and jungle-shrouded hills. For years, backpackers have been hitching a ride with fishing boats for the 20-kilometre jaunt from mainland Sihanoukville, but these days speedboats ferry folk directly to Song Saa Private Island, an eco-luxe retreat on Koh Ouen and Koh Bong, where sleekly designed abodes, diving sessions and sunbaking beckon.

Do go/Don’t go

For sunny, dry yet cooler days, time your visit for November to March. Things heat up from then until May, and become seriously hot and steamy from June to August. September and October are wet and cool, which can play havoc with sunbaking plans.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Fly into Phnom Penh International Airport, in the Cambodian capital, from regional gateways including Siem Reap, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. From here, it's three and a half hours south to the coastal hub of Sihanoukville. If you’re staying at Song Saa Private Island, the hotel can arrange road transfers, starting at US$200.
  • Automobiles Visitors aren't allowed to self-drive in Cambodia, which may be a blessing in disguise – road rules are thrown out the window here. For short trips on the mainland, one of the local remorks (three-wheelers) will do the trick. Ask your hotel to arrange a car and a driver for longer jaunts.
  • Taxis The only 'taxi' you're likely to need is the speedboat that whisks you to Song Saa from Sihanoukville, or one of the hotel's longtail boats for island jaunts.