Have you ever seen ads for those tropical paradises, places where you can stay in deluxe bungalows in the tropics on crystal clear water at a secluded white sand beach? Everything is amazing about these destinations except one thing: the price, hundreds of dollars per night.
Well, let me tell you a secret, something Inna and I didn’t even know until we met several travelers who told us. Cambodia has their own version of these destinations, complete with deluxe tents in the tropics overlooking crystal clear water on a secluded white sand beach. And in Cambodia, you can stay here for $15 per night.
Interested? Then keep reading below!
To get to Cambodia’s secret paradise, we journeyed to their coastline to the south. Here we are in Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s most popular coastal city and also the nearest city to the tropical paradise we headed to next.
From Sihanoukville we took a ferry to Koh Rong, Cambodia’s tropical island paradise. Above is Koh Rong’s largest town, Koh Tuich Village, which was pretty awesome. But even this wasn’t secluded enough for us (it is actually quite noisy, as tourism is turning it into a party town), so we continued on.
After riding the ferry around Koh Rong, we got off at Coconut Beach, a white sand beach located several miles from Koh Tuich. This beach contains two resorts, a pier, and nothing else, making it the ultimate in secluded paradise, with almost no one here but us.
Of the two resorts, we stayed at the family-owned-and-operated Coconut Beach Bungalows. But we didn’t stay in bungalows, instead we stayed in tents secured to wooden platforms just off of the beach. The tents had mattresses and were super fun and comfortable, not to mention their incredible location, all for only $15 per night.
Here are some additional tents at this resort, and also the common area, complete with a bonfire pit. This whole place was so cool and relaxing; it was awesome.
So, you may be thinking, sure the place was cheap and secluded, but was it really that amazing? How amazing can a place be that only costs $15 per night? Well, rather than tell you let me show you. First up: the white sand beach. This was the view of the beach from the common area beside our tent.
Here’s another view, this one from one of several hammocks the resort put out for us.
And here is the water, very warm, super calm, and unbelievably clear. Swimming here was awesome.
Not only that, but the plankton here glow in the dark! It had to be extremely dark though, so every couple nights our resort cut the power, resulting in all the lights going out. All we were left with was moonlight, making it was dark enough to allow the plankton to glow (too faint to capture with cameras, but we saw it with our eyes and it was awesome).
There wasn’t a lot of sealife on this beach, but we did find some.
There was a lot more life on land however, because our resort had dogs! Four to be exact, and one with only three legs. She was the sweetest, always playing and happy and super-affectionate to all the guests at the resort.
In addition to tents, hammocks, a firepit, dogs, and so much more, our resort also had its own restaurant, a necessary since we are secluded and need to get food somewhere. And while the food here wasn’t amazing (Cambodian food in general isn’t that great), it was pretty good.
Nighttime at our resort was bonfire time, our resort creating a fire like this every night.
For our third nighttime activity (after campfires and swimming with glowing plankton), we released Chinese lanterns into the sky.
Inna and I stayed at Coconut Beach for five nights, giving us plenty of time to relax and enjoy the island. It also gave Inna time to go diving again, but we had to go back to Koh Tuich for that.
We don’t have any videos from Inna’s Cambodia dives, because Inna didn’t rec-dive here. Instead, she trained for and received her Advanced Open Water certification. Here she is with the instructor who trained her.
While Inna dove I went on a day-long boating excursion. We went snorkeling, fishing, cruising, and had dinner and drinks, all for $10. Not only that, we also stayed out till sunset (which was gorgeous), and after that we swam with the glowing plankton. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera on this trip, so we don’t have any pictures it. But I did get a picture of the boat we took the following day, so at least I got something, even if it wasn’t much.
If you’re wondering how the snorkeling/diving was, we saw tons of fish but nothing else, and the visibility was good but not great. Of the fish we saw, it was mostly the same two or three types, none of which were amazing. The water was calm and warm and that was awesome, but we’d probably put this towards the bottom of our diving/snorkeling list. Thankfully, diving/snorkeling is always awesome, so even though it wasn’t the best, we still had a great time.
Inna’s second dive day (Advanced Open Water certifications take two days) was shorter than her first, so I simply slept in, then lounged in town until she returned. Thankfully, I had lots of company while waiting. First, a local kid, no older than eight, sat with me and asked to look at pictures on my phone: I showed him Vietnam and then he asked about Italy, so I showed him that as well. And after that, I showed him the animals at Featherdale. He loved the pictures and showing them to him was fun, one of the highlights of our entire trip. Then, after he left, a puppy came! I forgot to get a picture with the kid but I made sure to get one with the pup.
After Inna got her certification, we headed back to Coconut Beach. And once back, it was all about relaxing and swimming and enjoying the peacefulness provided by our stay here.
Here’s one last shot before we go. Coconut Beach was so much fun, so peaceful and beautiful and serene. Everyone told us that no matter how long we stayed here it wouldn’t be long enough, and they were right. We loved this place so much we never wanted to leave, and now all we want is to go back!
To conclude, I will say that if the above made you want to visit Coconut Beach, Inna and I cannot recommend it enough. But unfortunately, you’ll need to go soon, for Coconut Beach as I’ve described it above probably won’t last much longer. From what we’ve heard, Thailand used to be like this, before it was discovered and mass tourism and large resorts moved in. The same seems to be starting here; tourism is growing and large conglomerates are starting to buy up land. So if peaceful, secluded, tropical, and serene for only $15 a night interests you, you better visit soon, because the character on this island is about to change and once it does it will change for good.
As for Inna and myself, we still had more of Cambodia to see, so despite never wanting to leave, we did leave eventually. Up next, we visited Cambodia’s capital, a place completely different than everywhere else in the country we visited.