Coconuts: ✔ Clear Ocean: ✔ Treehouses: ✔ Those were the three main things we wanted to find on our island stay, and each one surpassed our expectations on Koh Ta Kiev!
We had planned to stay in Cambodia for about a week (NOT ENOUGH TIME!!!) and wanted to escape on a boat to somewhere for a few days. After a lot of research, we decided on booking two nights on Koh Ta Kiev, a tiny island off the coast of Sihanoukville through booking.com.
If you’re looking for a relaxing and peaceful couple of days then I can’t stress enough how you should book a trip here. If you’re looking for something else, come here anyway and you’ll fall in love with the place.
We’d seen a few different prices for the boat across in the range of $10 and $25 before we arrived but weren’t sure whether to just book the boat with the hotel and risk being ripped off, or to find our own way.
In the end, we forgot to book the boat so we didn’t have many options…. We mentioned to our hotel in Sihanoukville that we were leaving for the island the next morning but were currently swimming, and they happened to run a boat across each day. FAB! $24 for two people return – everything else was so cheap so we didn’t complain.
Next morning, we waited outside the hotel for our (free) tuk-tuk to the boat’s pick up point. An hour later we were speeding off, albeit slower than usual I’m sure because they shoved A LOT of people onto the boat. The sea was beautifully clear and we couldn’t wait to paddle in.
Our wish came true much quicker than we thought because the boat stopped near some rocks and everyone grabbed a snorkel and jumped into the water. What!? It turns out that the boat we were on was actually a day trip boat to the island. Most of the others had paid to snorkel, cliff jump and spend a few hours on Koh Ta Kiev before being brought back to the mainland.
So, we were able to join in with the fun before we had even got to the island! Kev jumped from Elephant Rock and I definitely did not, but it was great (horribly scary for me) to watch everyone almost break their backs smashing into the water…!
On the way back, the boat stopped again twice for snorkelling and once for the cliff jump. If you’re visiting Koh Ta Kiev, definitely try to get a day trip boat to make the most of the time!
We did actually hear one group leaving the island and asking about how much the boat back was – the staff had a boat going back to the mainland anyway so let them jump on for free. A bit of a bitch for those who have paid for that service but if you want to risk it, just turn up and ask. We tried asking to jump on for our journey back because we wanted to spend more time on the island but they didn’t have a boat going that particularly day so we were unlucky.
We stayed at Coral Beach, a less than ten minute walk from Long Beach which is where we were dropped off. Some people were staying in hammocks but that’s a bit too rustic for me, plus there’s no privacy and swinging from a tree all night just does not sound that appealing. Anyway, our tree bungalow was super basic but we spent a limited amount of time inside.
The bed was comfortable and had a mosquito net – if you’re really fussy then maybe bring your own because ours did have a fair amount of holes in it. A huge tarpaulin sheet covered the entrance but you could roll it back up during the day.
The bar was fun – there were board games and darts, as well as a cute little treehouse area that gave you INCREDIBLE sunset views. The staff were friendly and helpful (but also read the note below) and the food was delicious.
The two ‘bathrooms’ offered a bucket flush toilet (not too bad) and a bucket shower (weird and awkward = mental hair for entire stay. If anyone successfully washes their hair in a bucket shower then please share your tips). They were very clean although one thing I did note was that there was no hand soap. I understand that they’re not going to offer free toiletries but hand soap is a different matter altogether. We used our own hand sanitiser each time but I just questioned what the chefs were using??
Overall, a great place to stay. We would definitely stay at Coral Beach again – for £10 a night on this amazing island, who wouldn’t!?
Food in Cambodia was great, but Coral Beach didn’t offer many traditional local meals. Instead, they cooked French dishes, which were absolutely incredible. The portions were usually massive and at $6-7 for lunch or dinner each, were very expensive but we expected that whilst on the island.
We visited the fishing village on the other side of the island and were served freshly caught crab by the local family there. It was amazing! The journey took us over an hour in the 35 degree Celsius weather, but this was because we got lost. Not only did we get lost, but we met 8 other people trying to find the same bloody place. In the end we all trekked through the trees together and managed to stay on track by following the blue splodges of paint on the trees we had all missed before.
Once we arrived, we found shade next to a kitchen and a lady came out and gave everyone a can of Coke. She also tried to ask us if we wanted food by repeating ‘yum yum’ over and over at us, so we repeated it back and hoped for some lunch.
We watched her walk over to the small pier, lift out a net full of live crabs and stroll back into the kitchen. Ten minutes later, those crabs were on our plate covered in the best sauce (like a sweet chilli glaze), along with a fish we didn’t ask for but were very grateful for, and two large bowls of rice. There were roughly 4 or 5 crabs between TWO OF US and there was plenty of meat to be shared. It was such an amazing lunch, and we gladly paid the lady $4 each. They rely on tourism heavily and the meal was definitely worth the money so we’re not complaining.
You can spend a whole week doing absolutely nothing here, or you can get up and explore the island a bit. Either way, you’ll enjoy the stunning scenery and meet like-minded people ready to forget time exists. We only had 2 nights here so decided to spend a lot of time in the sea snorkelling (free equipment from our accommodation – first come first served though so we had to be quick!) and avoiding the sea urchins! They are freaking huge – you do not want to be stabbed by their long black spikes on a remote island in Cambodia. They’re apparently not poisonous but we didn’t take any chances and stayed far enough away!
Unfortunately, the absinthe distillery relocated to the mainland recently. I was extremely upset about this as we didn’t have time to visit it when we got back, although I did mange to sample some of the last of the island’s supply and my God it’s strong! I chose the pink one, and watched as the girl behind the bar set it on fire and dripped sugar into it. I would suggest visiting the distillery in Sihanoukville to try the different types!
There’s no wifi on the island, and limited electricity so our advice would be to spend your days exploring, and your evenings making friends!
One last thing….
Everybody was high during our trip – both the staff and a lot of the guests! This meant slightly annoying but also slightly funny slow customer service and a stronggggg smell of weed drifting throughout the bar. We’re not into it but we’re not about to complain – we had already read a couple of reviews that mentioned it so just accepted that people liked to escape reality and live on an island for a few months whilst they ‘found themselves’.
We also made friends with a honeymooning couple who we later bumped into on the mainland, who told us a hilarious story about how they had bought some cookies and got so high they couldn’t feel their legs and slept for 48 hours. Not my idea of fun but it’s one to tell the grandkids, right?! ..On second thoughts… no, don’t do that!
Have you ever been to a Cambodian island? Share your experiences below!
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