Island Hopping in Cambodia

Any travel story to Cambodia starts with the phenomenal Angkor Wat temples, and often that's where most tourists spend most of their time. Some do make it to the coasts and spend time on it's beaches as well. However, one of the most underrated way to explore Cambodia and it's gorgeous coast is island hopping.

As a traveller, I love to explore offbeat destinations, whether I am in Dubai, Hong Kong or in Mumbai, and Cambodia was no different. I was meeting some friends there and we all decided to postpone a visit to the temples for another visit and spend all our time on the islands of Cambodia. My mother almost rebuked me for this, and still can't comprehend why I skipped the iconic temples.

island hopping cambodia
Island hopping in Cambodia

Cambodia coast

Cambodia's coastline is located on the southern part of the country and is about 445 km long. It's coastline is well known for beautiful beaches and silky smooth sand. The water is absolutely clear and swimming in them is as close to paradise as you can get.

However, what I recommend is going beyond the coastline and exploring it's islands every few days. Start your journey from the coastal town of Sihanoukville, which also boasts of some really lovely beaches. Enjoy for a day or so and then spend the next few days exploring the islands near the coast.

Here are the three islands I recommend - Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Sdach.

Koh Rong

Koh Rong island is the second largest island in Cambodia and is 25 kilometers off the Sihanoukville’s coast. There are four small villages and the island has a beach-line of about 43 km!

With no roads, no traffic and very few people, it's a great place for those who are seeking solitude. However, if you are looking at one reason to visit the islands, then it has to be swimming with the lights plankton after dark.

Koh Rong Samloem

Koh Rong Samloem is only about 9km long and 5 km wide, and it's actually easy to explore the entire island on foot. Saracen Bay is the most popular beach of the island and the one where boats from Sihanoukville and other islands drop you. The beach is clean and beautiful, and there are numerous cottages and resorts on the coast.

However, I would recommend walking away from the Saracen Bay and hiking through the thick forest to reach the other side of the island where magic happens - the Lazy beach.

Sunsets are particularly great here and at night you will hear no one else but the sound of the water and perhaps some music from a bar close by.

Koh Sdach

Located in the gulf of Thailand, Koh Sdach island is one of those places where you won't visit just to relax on the beach, but to explore the local way of living as well. It's primarily a fishing village and you can always see small fishing boats around the island.

The island is also great for snorkelling and the equipment can be easily rented for only $5 or less.

All the islands are connected by boats or speedboats, and you don't always need to book in advance, except when you leave from Sihanoukville. Check with the locals with the boat timings as the frequency to the smaller islands is fairly limited.

Thai baht is almost always accepted at these islands as they are fairly close to Thailand.

Where to stay?

Over the past few years of travelling, I have completely fallen in love with airbnb and have been using it even for my international trips, like Barcelona and Hong Kong. So if you plan to hop across islands in Cambodia, you can do the same. Yes, the islands are remote, yet each one of them, including Sihanoukville have properties listed on airbnb. Here's a secret - someone of these cost less than Rs 1000 ($15).

Plus, you can avail great offers on Airbnb with Citi cards on all listings outside India. You can check it out here.

The offer is valid only for the month of June, so what are you waiting for?

Go beyond the conventional, get out of your comfort zone, and do something new this summer!


Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with Citi cards. Needless to mention, all the views expressed above are based on my personal experiences and original research.