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Mainland Cambodia is so full of surprises and adventures, that It can sometimes be easy to forget that just off the south coast are some hidden treasures. The Cambodian islands ladies and gents.
These are all sandy and tropical havens that Castaway’s Tom Hanks would have been more than happy to set up camp on. We’re talking velvety white sand, crystal clear waters, and scintillating sunshine.
Our island hoppers have been marauding around the coastline in search of 2017’s isolated gems. You’ve got no idea the tropical treasures that our beloved Cambodia has in store for you!

The Cambodian Islands – Ultimate 2017 Island Hopping Guide


The Cambodian Islands - Ultimate 2017 Island Hopping Guide


We know there’s already a whole host of places that you’ll be wanting to visit. However, if you’ve got time, these are all destinations that you should try and squeeze in to your backpacking itinerary.
Whether you’re a traveler on a shoestring budget, a party animal, a chilling villain, a nature lover, or a deep sea diver; there’s something in here for everyone.
Pack your bikinis and budgie smugglers, we’ve about to go islands hopping!
First up…
Take yourselves off the grid on our beautiful, ultra-chill Mad Monkey backpacker resort.


2017’s Best Cambodian Islands – Koh Rong Samloem


2017's Best Cambodian Islands - Koh Rong Samloem


Taking a leaf straight out of Leo Dicaprio’s book, visiting this island is like stepping into Alex Garland’s epic novel, The Beach.
Tucked away on a small, secluded corner of the island is our secret backpacker paradise. A tiny commune of thatched wooden shacks that are right on the beach, and centred around a wooden-decked bar that stretches out towards the horizon.
This is the dreamy slice of sand that will make your island escape dreams to come true.
Something for every occasion…
Feeling like a good ol’ chill? Perch yourself on the deck in one of our bottom tingling bean bags.
Explorations calling your name? Wander into the surrounding jungle and evoke your inner tree hugger.
Looking to fulfil an aquatic fantasy? Grab a snorkel and go frolic with the fishies.
Pulling up your dancing socks? There’s no shortage of cracking cocktails and late night festivities to keep your party boat afloat.
So, how can you claim your place in paradise…
Koh Rong Samloem is just off the coast of Sihanoukville. It’s incredibly easy to grab a speed ferry across to the island (via the neighbouring Koh Rong), tickets should be around $20.
Time for some visuals…


Join Leo Dicaprio, by checking in to Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem right here.

Now we’re here, it would plain rude not to pop over to say hi to Samloem’s neighbour…


2017’s Best Cambodian Islands – Koh Rong


2017's Best Cambodian Islands - Koh Rong
© Courtesy of visitkohrong


Most travelers who pass through Sihanoukville, will end up making the short boat journey across to Koh Rong.
Popularity of this island has surged in recent years. Having previously been a sandy wilderness swarming with jungles, Koh Rong is now a beachin’ backpacker Shangri-La where you’ll dance under the twinkle of the stars until moonlight.
Local business owners are making sure that the party keeps pumping. They’ve even transported generators across to the island to ensure the playlist never ends.
That’s not all…
You can expect some regular appearances from live DJ’s and a non-stop selection of happy hours to sipple on.
Herbal remedies…
Another reason this island has made the hit-list from backpackers all over the world is its relaxed attitude towards marijuana, which feeds into the extremely laid-back nature and vibes of all those who visit.
If you find yourself cruising along the south coast of Cambodia during April, be sure to touch down on Koh Rong for the green dream that is 4/20. It pops off!


2017’s Best Cambodian Islands – Koh Thmei

Hands down…
This would be Bear Grylls, The Wild Thornberrys and Ray Mears’ favourite of the Cambodian islands. They would be creaming their animalistic panties over the natural wonders of Koh Thmei.
This island is also just of the coast of Sihanoukville, so could be easily packaged up into a 3 island combo meal with Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem.
Say goodbye to the human race…
The island itself is virtually uninhabited, with little more man-made impact than a few wooden shacks dotted around.
Nature lovers rejoice…
Koh Thmei, which is home to Ream National Park, is swarming with all sorts rare and wonderful wildlife. You’ll find yourself face to face with our madly beloved monkeys, loose lizards, and over 100 species of bedazzled birds.
Welcome to the jungle!


2017’s Best Cambodian Islands – Koh Ta Kiev

Alcohol connoisseurs start licking your lips. This Cambodian island is whipping up some liquid gold that will have you seeing the green fairies.
Koh Ta Kiev is a beautiful, deserted spec of land that is also off the coast of Sihanoukville. It’s packed full of some life’s greatest and most feared specimens.
We’ll get onto the green fairies in a second. The first thing you’ll need to keep yours eye out for…
Malaysian viper snakes!
These little sons of b*tches have a venomous bite that will leave you 6 feet under in around 2 hours. So tread carefully. In the rare occasion they do try to snack on you, don’t worry, you can be on a boat and treated with anti-venom with the hour.
Now, for pièce de résistance…
The ultimate drinking adventure. Buried deep in the snake-filled jungle lair is an absinthe distillery. Syn Absinthe Distillery. The distillery is located 20-feet up in a mesmerizing tree house. Owned by a brew master who moved to the Cambodian islands from Portland, this alcoholic den should definitely be on your liver’s hit-list.
There are regular tours that will guide you through the whole distillery process, before letting you dive into the fiery green waters of cloud 9.
If you’re tight for time, it’s possible to visit the island and distillery in an afternoon. However, Koh Ta Kiev’s beaches are also worth dropping anchor for.
Shiver me timbers.


2017’s Best Cambodian Islands – Koh Tang

“Eh Ruben, you for scuba?”
The Cambodian coast is so full of vibrant aquatic life, you’ll be wishing you sacked off your legs, grew a scaly fin, and joined the mermaid kingdom.
Given that that’s still just folklore (or is it…?), your second best bet would be to slip on some rubbery gear and plunge into the crystal clear waters of Koh Tang.
The island boasts some of the clearest and most undisturbed fluids in this stretch of ocean. Located about 5 hours from the mainland, this wavey enigma was the site for the last official battle of the Vietnam War.
Steeped in history…
Koh Tang is now entirely uninhabited, except for a tiny outpost of Cambodian military personnel.
Poseidon’s secret garden…
The 8 epic dive spots surrounding the island are jammed packed full of psychedelic coral reefs that are teaming with some of Nemo and Dory’s favourite Asian cousins. You should be expecting to see everything from nudibranchs, to poisonous pufferfish, and even electric blue stingrays.
You’ll be winning when you’re swimming.


2017’s Best Cambodian Islands – Song Saa


2017's Best Cambodian Islands - Song Saa
© Courtesy of finest spa


If you’re in need of some serious brownie points from your significant other, and recently fought off the livid leprechauns to claim your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, then Song Saa could be the island for you.
The nickname for these 2 private twin islands is indeed Song Saa, and means ‘sweethearts’ in Khmer.
Sitting in a lap of luxury…
Who ever you treat to this island experience will certainly be feeling pretty sweet, with villa prices stretching to over $3000 per night.
No stress, no worries…
After you’ve evacuated your bank account on the villas, all of the resort’s amenities will be at your beckoned call. All inclusive baby!
Fully stocked mini bar? Yes.
Fresh seafood straight from the ocean? Oui.
Buoyant boat trips around the blazing horizon? Ach ja.
Free international prank calls from your bedroom? Sì.
Good karma…
Not only is Song Saa delivering luxury to all it’s lucky guests, but also uses it’s financial powers to look after the local community. We have always got endless love for sustainable developments of the Cambodian islands.
The resort has developed education and waste management programmes for their local buddies. As well as investing in some serious conservation efforts for the the surrounding wildlife.


Do Tom Hanks proud, and cast yourself away to the islands…


Cambodian Islands - Castaway
You’ll be living the dream in no time!

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About the Author

Mad Monkey is Southeast Asia’s leading hostel operator — born in Cambodia with more properties in Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, Laos, and the Philippines. We pride ourselves in creating meaningful and sustainable travel experiences for our guests, whilst promoting socially responsible tourism.