White-sand beach lined with straw-thatched umbrellas next to azure waters in Cambodia's coast.

Koh Rong

The second largest of Cambodia’s islands, Koh Rong is a proper tropical paradise: think white sand, luminous turquoise waters, and chilled-out, palm-shaded beach bars.

Picture one of Thailand’s famed islands, with over 45 kilometres of pristine, golden-white sand and a sea so clear and blue it looks like someone’s turned the saturation up on your sunglasses. Now imagine there are only a handful of hotels, and you can walk for miles and barely see another soul. What you’re picturing is Koh Rong — or near enough.

That a place can be this beautiful and yet so little-visited is something of a marvel in this day and age, and that’s exactly why we love Koh Rong. Our favourite haunt is Sok San Beach: only accessible by boat, it’s bookended by two hotels (both fabulous) with nothing in between but four miles of utterly beautiful and deliciously isolated beach. From here, take to the jungle trails to explore the island’s lush interior — practically vibrating with the buzzing, squawking, hooting and humming of a billion birds and insects — or grab some snorkel or scuba gear to explore the coral reefs, which are equally alive with neon-bright nudibranchs, bamboo sharks and manta rays.

This is a tropical paradise on a par with anything else Southeast Asia has to offer, with a sense of seclusion you won’t find in Thailand today for love nor money.

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