Koh Rong Islands Overview
- Coast line
- Gulf of Thailand isles
- 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.
Keenly Koh Rong
Full Moon parties are taken to new heights at Song Saa. Forget backpacker hordes swilling buckets of cocktails – here the monthly soirees start with moonrise cocktails and a Lunar-inspired tasting menu, before DJs play sets on the beach until sunrise.
- 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.
- Tipping culture
- A 10 per cent tip for good service should do the trick.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Days are lazy on Koh Rong. Swap your smart phone for a diving watch and ease into 'island time'.
- Packing tips
- Bright and breezy, with a different swimsuit and kaftan combo for each day of your stay. Bring your own snorkel set for the perfect fit, magazines for perusing poolside, and sunscreen to fend off those tropical rays.
- Regional specialities
- Just-landed seafood – you can see the squid boats bobbing in the bay at night – is delicious served simply grilled with lemon and pepper, wok-tossed with garlic and peppercorns, or simmered in a light turmeric-laced curry. Tropical fruits are also divine.
- Cambodian riel (KHR) or US dollar (US$). US$1 = about KHR4,000.
- Time zone
- GMT +7 hours.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for Cambodia:+855; Koh Rong Islands: 034 (drop the zero if calling from overseas).
- 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.
Don't go home without...
getting your 'om' on... a sunrise yoga session beside the pool is sure to get your day off to a serene start. The cloud of smug will follow you for hours (well, at least until that first sip of wine at lunchtime).