A favorite pass time in Asia is to lay on a white sandy beach with a cocktail in hand watching the world go by. It’s no different in Cambodia, but when people think of idyllic beaches and dream of island hopping, they most likely think of Thailand or the Philippines first. However, Cambodia has a few island treasures of its own to show off. With the Cambodian islands being less known, you get the advantage of secluded beaches and sunsets to yourself! To find those hidden gems and chase that perfect sunset, we’ve compiled a list of the best beaches and islands in Cambodia.
- Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Samloem
- Long Set Beach, Koh Rong
- Southwestern Beach, Koh Rong
- Koh Ta Kiev Island
- Koh Thmei Beach, Ream National Park
- Koh Totang Island
- Main Beach, Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island)
- Best Cambodia Beaches in Sihanoukville
- Best Time to Visit Cambodia Beaches
- Don’t Forget Your Island Essentials!
- Useful Guides When Traveling Around Cambodia
Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Samloem
What better way to kick off our list than with Lazy Beach? Literally, as the name suggests, you will find yourself turning into a bit of a beach bum so why not enjoy it! The waters here are also popular for snorkeling, so if you can bare moving, cool off and explore! If you have been to or heard of a Cambodian island, it is most likely Koh Rong Samloem. One of our favorite hostels, Mad Monkey is located there and if you can manage to tear yourself away from the epic parties that they throw, spend a few lazy afternoons this favorite beach of ours.
What we love: The sand here is amazing! The sand is a unique golden and silver mixture and the feeling when you bury your toes in it is like nothing else!
How to get there: There are speed ferries from Sihanoukville at 9 am, 11 am and 3 pm, so ask at the Reef Resort on the mainland.
Resources: Where to Stay in Koh Rong Samloem
Long Set Beach, Koh Rong
If you think of that perfect beach that people daydream about, Long Set Beach is the closest you’ll get to making that dream a reality. This secluded beach is known for its pure white sand and crystal blue waters. In fact, it’s also notorious for its scenic beauty in general. Home to a grand coral reef that is rich in marine life, Long Set is one of the best beaches in Cambodia for snorkeling and diving!
What we love: You know we love a good sunset! This beach is perfect to watch the sky turn from blue to warm orange and navy, and gets even more perfect at nightfall. As the moon comes up the bio-luminescent plankton becomes noticeable, glistening under the dark waters like an underwater Milky Way! Definitely a sight worth waiting for.
How to get there: Take a 2-3 hour boat ride to Koh Rong from Sihanoukville.
Resources: Best Places to Stay in Koh Rong
Southwestern Beach, Koh Rong
Koh Rong is the second largest island in Cambodia but the best place to go for a party! Although a favorite of young backpackers, the constant turnover of traffic here hasn’t seemed to have affected the island’s beauty. If you step onto Southwestern Beach, you will be greeted with a blissful calmness in contrast to the usual party laden shores around the other parts of Koh Rong. With just the waves lapping the shores of the tropical forests, this beach is the picture of serenity.
What we love: We love secluded beaches! As there are not many people living in the villages of this island, it is so quiet and beautiful.
How to get there: From Sihanoukville, catch a boat to Koh Rong from any guesthouse on the island. The trip takes between two to three hours and will cost $15-30, depending on if you take the slow or fast boat.
Resources: Where to Stay in Koh Rong
Koh Ta Kiev Island
Another island that is easily accessible from the mainland, but is often ignored by travelers heading to Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloem, is Koh Ta Kiev Island. Here you have your pick of three gorgeous beaches: Long Beach, where you’ll find most of the accommodation, Coral Beach, a secluded bay that is best for snorkeling, and Naked Beach, the most untouched and spotless beach you will ever see. As well as offering vast golden stretches of sand, the island also boasts vibrant coral reefs and a thriving jungle. Let’s just say this is the place for snorkeling, trekking, cliff jumping, and any other island adventure you can think of!
What we love: This little island has everything! Pristine beaches, luscious jungle, and adventure, what more could you want?
How to get there: Take a boat from Sihanoukville, usually Otres Beach, and the journey will take approximately 1 hour.
Koh Thmei Beach, Ream National Park
This is definitely the island for nature-lovers, so if you want to experience exotic wildlife, you need to add Koh Thmei to your list! With the almost inhabited island sitting just off the Ream National Park, this is the perfect place to have seclusion, nature, and wildlife all in one.
Insider’s Tip: The only accommodation on the beach is Koh Thmei Resort. It’s perfect if want to be off grid but if can’t live without electricity and WI-FI, consider staying on one of the other islands and taking a boat over.
What we love: The best islands are the ones that take an adventure to get there! By the time you have made the journey, you will be blown away by the sight of this place as soon as you step off the boat. What we also love about this place is the nature. With so many different terrains comes a hell of a lot of animals!
How to get there: Take a taxi from Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville or wherever you are staying to Koh Kchhang. This small fishing village is the closest to the island, and from here you can take a boat to Koh Thmei island.
Koh Totang Island
A tiny island at 1.3 kilometers by 500 meters wide, Koh Totang is one of the 12 tropical islands that make up the Koh S’Dach Archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. Obviously, with the island being quite a distance from Cambodia’s mainland, Koh Totang is THE island that is completely off-grid. Here you will find unspoiled beaches on this undeveloped island, with only one eco-resort! Nomads Land sits smugly alone on the beach, offering five quirky and colorful bungalows. This place has serious eco-credentials using solar power to provide electricity, stored rainwater for drinking water, and bathrooms consisting of composting toilets and bucket showers! If you don’t want to stay here for the genuine castaway experience, then come here for the cool factor alone!
Insider’s Tip: When we say this island is undeveloped we mean very undeveloped. There are no roads and barely any tracks, so it’s the perfect place to get back to basics and spend some time living simply.
How to get there: You will need to get the Royale Ferry to Koh Sdaich, a small fishing village. From here you can then arrange a short private boat ride to Koh Totang. You can also contact the hotel, Nomads Land to organize it for you.
Main Beach, Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island)
Although one of the most easily accessible islands in Cambodia, Koh Tonsay is one of the least developed. This is what we love about secluded islands though: no motor vehicles or electricity, with a few residents and tourists. It’s a heavenly getaway from the busy touristy islands! Main beach, in particular, is even more of a hidden gem than the island itself, despite its name. Expect a long stretch of soft sand, bordered by a row of simple and traditional Cambodian huts dotted amongst the palm groves. With the huts serving up some amazing local seafood and cold beers, don’t be surprised to feel like you have found paradise.
What we love: We can’t get enough of those lesser known destinations! Rather than being surrounded by upscale resorts and restaurants, we love going back to basics by staying in a wooden bungalow on the beach. It’s the best way to experience the local culture and lifestyle this way too!
How to get there: Take a 20-40 minute boat from Kep. Local slow boats leave the Kep boat dock at 09.00 AM and 13:00 PM throughout the day while fast boats are more regular. Organize a trip through a travel agent, your guest house or just show up at the jetty.
Best Cambodia Beaches in Sihanoukville
As Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s premier beach destination, it is definitely worth visiting some of its beaches while you’re island hopping. We can’t do a best Cambodia beaches list without mentioning these beauties in Sihanoukville, so here are our top 5 favorite beaches in Cambodia.
- Otres Beach
- Sokha Beach
- Serendipity Beach
- Koh Pos Beach
- Victory Beach
Resources: Check out our personal recommendations on the Best Places to Stay in Sihanoukville
Best Time to Visit Cambodia Beaches
You can visit Cambodia all year around but it’s worth noting that the wet season descends on the country from May to October. In high season, November to March, expect a higher number of travelers and therefore higher prices, with potentially less choice of accommodation and tours as they start to fill up. We personally love to travel during off-peak seasons as there are fewer crowds and we can score bargains on accommodation! With that being said, this isn’t possible if you have a limited amount of time. With off-seasons as well, transport is less consistent and some islands ‘shut down.’
Don’t Forget Your Island Essentials!
When staying on secluded islands, it’s crucial to have everything you need with you at all times! Here are the most important items you can’t go without:
- Cash – with no banks or ATMs on some of the islands, you need enough cash to last you!
- Insect Repellent
- A Travel Flashlight
Editor’s Note: Not sure what to bring? Download our FREE Southeast Asia Digital Packinglist
Hopefully, you are all beached out by now! Whether you fancy slothful days on the beach or island adventures, with this handy guide of best Cambodia beaches, you should have no problem planning your trip to the islands.
In case you haven’t checked out our other articles on Cambodia or other island guides, you definitely should as there are loads of other useful tips and information on making the most of this country!
Useful Guides When Traveling Around Cambodia
- What to Do in Cambodia: Things You Shouldn’t Miss!
- What to Eat in Cambodia: The Best Cambodian Food
- 5 Reasons Why You Should Do The Cambodia Challenge