When you think of Cambodia your first thought probably isn’t deserted islands with long pristine beaches, but if you’re looking to escape the grind you’ve got excellent options. There are 2 stand out islands where you can have your own Robinson Crusoe experience, Koh Tonsay or Koh Ta Kiev. As I was in the right area I decided to visit Koh Ta Kiev, by all reports Koh Tonsay is a very similar experience.
Off the coast of Sihanoukville lies the small uninhabited island of Koh Ta Kiev. With long sandy beaches, no electricity, no running water and absolutely no chance of getting a wifi connection this is the place to escape! I organised to stay with Kactus hostel so they came in the morning at 11am to pick me up from Otres beach. After a 1 hour boat ride along the coast we arrived at the deserted beach and headed to our accommodation.
Kactus is a rustic little place that really makes you feel welcome, most of the staff are fellow travellers who have escaped civilization to work there for a short while! You need to be prepared to rough it, the showers are of the bucket variety and there’s no running water. The accommodation is a choice of hammocks under the stairs for as little as $3 a night, a dorm style beach bungalow with mats or little beach bungalows with no walls, a decent sized bed and a little seating area with a candle. For $12 a night this seemed like the best option to have a little bit of comfort in a fairly primitive situation!
So why come to Koh Ta Kiev? Well there isn’t a huge amount to do apart from chill, you can hike around the island forging your own trails or sit on the beach catching up on reading. This really is the place just to sit back and do nothing. Kactus is set right on a long sandy beach, with clear waters and not much else, so relaxing on the beach is pretty idyllic as you’ll be the only ones around.
In terms of eating and drinking you are completely limited on options, so make sure to bring some snacks and plenty of water with you. There are no shops on the island, so the only option for eating is lunch and dinner at Kactus, they have an awesome little restaurant that provides 2 meal options for lunch and dinner, one of them is normally vegetarian. You can’t expect too much choice when all the produce has to be delivered daily from the mainland, so if you don’t like the 2 choices on the menu that dinner time you are pretty stuck. Breakfast provides a bit more choice, so you can always fill up in the morning and snack the rest of the day.
This type of experience won’t be for everyone, you need to be totally prepared for being cut off from civilisation. Not only that but meal times at Kactus are set to a one hour schedule meaning you need to stick to their schedule for meal times and don’t have the freedom to eat when you want. You will struggle to spend any money on the island except for on food and drink, due to the cut off nature these are more expensive than the mainland.
Overall it’s a fantastic experience if you are prepared to be lost in the wilderness for a few days! For me after 2 days of being completely at one with nature and finding my piece of tranquility I was ready to head back to civilisation, to have the freedom to eat when I wanted, drink for cheaper and enjoy some home comforts like wifi and a proper shower. If you are more able, than myself, to get rough and ready then you’ll love the deserted feel to this island!