Fab new island resort; Lazy Beach Bungalows, on Ko Rong Saloem

There is something really special about this island and this resort, just a few hours away from Sihanoukville.

Having seen several islands and beach resorts in asia almost ruined by overdevelopment, it is an absolute delight to find something that is still very new. Lazy Beach has been around for only 2 years, and is the only one at this end of the island. There are some EcoSea bungalows at the other end, and a Khmer fishing village too.

It is still very small and fairly rustic. The bungalows are big and roomy with en-suite and balcony, but there is no electricity during the day, unless someone wants a pineapple shake at the bar - in which case they’ll put on the generator for a little while.

All there is, is beach, bungalows and bushland. No wifi, no streetlights, no motorbikes, no touts, no music blaring along the seafront. Bliss.

Watching the sunset became an evening ritual – and what sunsets, viewed from the comfort of your own porch, perhaps whilst lazing on a hammock.

The thing that struck me most of all, was the feeling of being safe. No-one even locks their doors there! There’s no need, so few are the occupants of the island. It was like stepping back in time to an era when people lived this way, and as someone who grew up in a crowded city, I found it utterly refreshing.

We had the beach virtually to ourselves. Even when all the bungalows were occupied, there only ever seemed to be a few people around, as there are several beaches to choose from, and very long ones at that.  When we trekked across the island to the other main beach, the only ones other than us there were the owner’s dogs, who scampered ahead to show us the way.

The gorgeous dogs are called Spoon and Boysie. These two are smoochy types who love their bellies rubbed. Or they’ll take you for a walk in the bush and run along the beach with you.  Although Spoon is prone to spending hours curled up in her favourite papsan chair. Daww…

The guys who own and run the joint, Rich and Chris, are English, very nice and very funny. We felt right at home, as did the other couples and several families there. I reckon even singles would have a good time.

Helping out Rich and Chris when we stayed, were Carrie and Jay. Rich also had some UK friends visiting when we were there, so it was like hanging out with a bunch of mates from home, such was the great atmosphere.

D and I made plans to get a big bunch of friends to come next time – how fun would it be to have an island virtually to yourselves? The island is getting booked out for a wedding soon – what a great idea. 

There was nothing better of a nght, having watched the sunset and had a nice refreshing shower, than to sidle up to the bar for a cold Beer Lao. Or a cocktail. We got a special one from Jay, called the Choc-cock. Baileys, Kahlua and Frangelico – YUM!

And the food!! Quite a variety of Khmer and Western dishes was on the menu, though we stuck to non-western food. Whole fried snapper or trevally with sweet and sour sauce, garlic prawns, amok, red curry…

We could only get three nights there, but if you let Rich know when you first arrive that you’d like to stay extra nights, he keeps an eye out in case of cancellations. Those already on the island get dibs over requests from the mainland, so you never know…

Dom did a couple of dives nearby, but the snorkelling is just as good, especially around the rocky points. There are several walks on the island; as well as the one across the island there is a hike up to a lookout point, and a further one to the lighthouse (for the fit).  But really, swimming, lazing around, reading a book, and going for easy walks along the beach are the main attractions, I’d say.

While it doesn’t have the soaring karsts that characterise Phi Phi or Tioman Island, it has gentle pristine beaches, unpolluted bays, very little boat traffic so far, and is as laid back as an island can be. The tranquility and homeliness of the place will bring me back for sure.

So while Serendipity and Ochheuteal beaches at Sihanoukville left me a little disappointed  due to their development, this island put the smile right back on my face. This is what Ko Samui and Phangan must have been like all those years ago. The 2 1/2 hour boat ride from Snooky will keep this operation low-key for quite a while, I suspect.

But why not come now, while it is still an undiscovered gem?

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Comments

  1. Looks purdy! I am also totally down with taking a big crowd of friends en masse to a resort somewhere and having it all to play in, what fun – have been talking to quite a few folks about doing something along those lines later this year ;)

  2. You know, you impress me with your green hair. You're really cute on these pictures! Sorry, that was a too personal comment ^^

  3. Cass – it's a totally cool idea :) There's a cool summary of "hidden" islands here http://www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/12/31/southeast.asia/index.html
    Valerie – of course it's not too personal, esp when it's a compliment! :) But I don't think these pics are very flattering of me. And it's a kind of washed out aqua at present…

  4. i love the green /aqua also! and it looks more intentional than washed out in these pictures :)

    when i had blue hair it faded to an icky muddy green because at the time dark hair couldn't be bleached enough so i had a strange yellow-orange base. haha.

  5. Don’t stay at EcoSea Bungalows

    Go somewhere else. Avoid ecosea – they are misusing the word eco :(

    Wanted to escape the city/town and get to a quiet island, do some diving and snorkelling and chilax. Got good intro to package from European dive master trainee. I asked who I’d be diving with and was told with local guides. I asked if they are qualified DMs – they were not I was told. I asked if I could always dive with a trainee DM and was assured yes. I gave the reason of having bad experiences in the past with unqualified local guides. Paid for 2 nights and 4 dives for myself and girlfriend.

    I wish i had read the negative reviews on here first because the bungalow on the island was horrible. We don’t mind basic, but dirty is not good for the price we were paying (around US$50 per night incl food). The floor had not been swept, the toilet floor had nails, bits of cement, and dirt on it (from removal of old roof by the looks of it), and the bed sheet cover and pillow had not been washed for more than a week or several guests. The bed stank. There was no soap provided at all. The manager later told me we don’t want people using soap. I asked about the hygiene issue of washing after the toilet, then she said “you should bring your own!” – she thinks she is being eco-friendly by not providing soap. Tight ass more like it. Everyone using their own soap, rather than her buying something biodegradable in a refillable format (like a pump action bottle filled from a large container [as ALL the worlds' hotels should be using!]). As for being an eco-venture, this makes me laugh because there were 4 different pieces of rubbish at the bottom of the bungalow’s stairs (see photo) and all over the surrounding area where the bungalows were located!! They don’t even bother to clean up the whole area where the bungalows are located. Nevermind the adjacent fishing village polluting the water and not following EcoSea’s education attempts – EcoSea can’t even pick up rubbish on the land it is leasing from the fishing village!! Just in it for the money I suspect and using the eco in the business name to attract business. It’s sad how often businesses these days are doing this. We walked through the dirty fishing village to another set of bungalows and there were nice plants and landscaping and no litter – so pleasant and a good example to the village. Wished we were staying there. Anyhow, our peaceful retreat to this imagined paradise was a dream really because the village now can afford a loud karaoke sound system which they crank on at 10pm until around 12 or 1am and their new, bigger boats loudly chug past throughout the night to catch as many fish as they can. Woken at 6.15 by the air compressor for the scuba tanks and construction workers building the next bungalow right next door (which of course we were not told about when we paid).

    Food was fairly good and the crew that I dived with were attentive although after we got back to the mainland, another couple complained their guides did not stay with them when they should of. The drunk owner said “ah, you a Padi certified diver, look after yourself” forgetting that we were paying him to provide guides!! This guy was a disgrace to Cambodian people. He would not give me a refund for the 2nd night or the 4th dive I was not able to do. He sat there smoking, drinking more beer with this smug look on his face because his military police buddy was smoking next to him. He said the F word to my girlfriend and was had no valid reason not to refund my US$60. Pure dickhead. Wish I had used another dive shop and went to a different island (find one as far from the fishing village as possible.

    • Thanks for the warning :) The experience sounds awful for you. Tho I have to point out I didn’t make any negative comments myself in this post…just mentioned that Eco Sea is at the other end of the island.

  6. Sounds great. How does one get in touch, that is make a reservation at Lazy Beach Bungalows?

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