Cut off on the island

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

Cut off on the island


Rabbit Island, Kep, Cambodia

In the world these days, it seems the most isolated you can feel is when you are without the internet. No wifi with which to read your emails, no connection to check current events, no broadband to browse your bored friends and their updates on social media.

So it is that I feel isolated here on Rabbit Island… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

Rabbit Island is a small patch of land in the sea off the coast of southern Cambodia. From the town of Kep, it’s accessible only by boat through choppy but refreshing waters. With only a few backpackers and a few backpacks as its cargo, the boat takes just 30 minutes to glide to the island.

There’s only one part of the island where visitors can stay – on the beach which the boats land on. Stretched along it, just metres from the sand, are dozens of small bungalows. There are no guesthouses or hotels. The only accommodation option is a simple little shack. There must only be about one hundred bungalows on the whole island. That means no more than two hundred people here at any one time… although I suspect it’s normally much less.

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

Every ten or so bungalows belong to a different owner, and each has also built a little bar or restaurant by the shoreline. They’re the only places to get anything to eat or drink – not that it’s a problem because the food is delicious and the prices reasonable. I order crabs for lunch and, several minutes later, the boy who took my order wanders out into the water and collects some crabs from the cage floating ten metres out to sea. There’s no denying the food is fresh.

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

There isn’t really much to do except eat, drink, relax and enjoy the water. The only power on the island comes from generators – and usually only for a few hours during dinner in the evening. There are no electronic distractions, no other places to be, no outside influences. The most exciting parts of the day tend to come from finishing a chapter of your book.

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

I decide to be slightly active one morning and go for a walk around the whole island. It takes me almost two hours… but not because it is particularly large. It’s more because there is no obvious path or development so at times I’m forced to beat my way through bushes, clamber over rocks, or wade through a rising tide.

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

Local fishing families and their small wooden shacks are the only signs of life on the walk. Some of them are clearly out to sea, but others have the boats and nets pulled up close to the sand. I get smiles and waves from them as I walk past… and on one occasion, a friendly point towards the path which I couldn’t quite find myself.

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

But for the most part, Rabbit Island is about doing nothing. The other tourists here seem content to lie in the sun, read a book, take a leisurely lunch, nap in a hammock, and any of the other things you might expect on a remote beach. One hairy backpacker told me he was here to detox after a week of partying in Phnom Penh, but I don’t think that is the norm.

rabbit island, kep, cambodia, cambodian islands, relaxing, holiday

No, this is just one of those little tropical getaways where the worries of the world are left at the mainland. It’s far enough off the trail to not feel crowded. It’s the perfect little place to get away from it all for a few days.

  • Natasha von Geldern | Mar 12, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Sounds like absolute paradise, for a time. I never got to the coast when I was in Cambodia – obviously a mistake!
    Natasha von Geldern recently posted..Our Expanding Eco Traveller Team and the AFTWMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:30 am

      The coast was beautiful. And not nearly as crowded as the beaches in the neighbouring countries. I love the laidback atmosphere at places like Kep.

  • Jade Johnston - | Mar 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Sounds like a lovely get away! I didn’t make it to the coast when I was in Cambodia and now I regret it.
    Jade Johnston – recently posted..Travelling With Children -Interview With Walking On TravelsMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:32 am

      It was really peaceful. I wouldn’t have minded wifi and power. If I’d had that I would have stayed for a week!

  • Arjen - On My Way To Freedomland | Mar 12, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    hhmmm…I get totally relaxed by reading this. When I was in Cambodia I went to sihanoukville to chill out for a couple of days but this sounds like a much better option.

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:33 am

      Sihanoukville is nothing like Rabbit Island. If you want to party, go to the big town. If you just want to relax and enjoy a peaceful environment, this is the place!

  • TammyOnTheMove | Mar 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Love love love Rabbit Island. That’s how I imagine the Thai Islands used to be about 10-15 years ago.
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    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:33 am

      Oh, I hope Rabbit Island doesn’t become like the Thai islands. I’ve got no problem with them but I like to think there are small places like this where you can escape the mayhem!

  • Andrew | Mar 13, 2013 at 6:55 am

    The idea of a tropical island away from everything including the Net could be really nice. Time to read and time to think would be really great, especially a warm place.
    Not sure I could do it for very long, I tend to be a city person. I need people around, just a quiet oasis among them.
    Andrew recently posted..Walking the Ihlara Valley in Cappadocia, TurkeyMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:36 am

      Yeah, I’m the same, I get a bit antsy. I don’t mind being away from the net and civilisation and all that… but I like the ability to check in occasionally and just make sure there’s nothing urgent to deal with.

  • Dale | Mar 13, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    I always love the idea of going to the beach & taking it easy reading, swimming, sipping cocktails & eating fresher-than-fresh fish, but when every I get to a white powder sand beach I get so unbelievably bored after 30 minutes. The same for Franca. I don’t know what it is. Maybe we just don’t know how to relax. Maybe it’s just not our type of relaxation?

    I don’t know, either way it looks like you had a nice time and a much deserved break.
    Dale recently posted..Involuntary Hitchhiking & The Kindness Of StrangersMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:39 am

      I don’t mind relaxing, in the sense of not doing much. But I’m with you – I get bored pretty quickly with just lying in the sun. A good book can help but ultimately I want to explore things!

  • Jennifer | Mar 14, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Sounds lovely and just my kind of place!
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    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:41 am

      I’m sure you would love it!

  • Lillie - @WorldLillie | Mar 18, 2013 at 2:26 am

    This is making me miss the best parts of Southeast Asia!
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..Unexpected International Flair in Newport, Rhode IslandMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 3:58 am

      Awww… don’t be like that. I’m sure you’ll be back here soon enough! 😉

  • Cam @ Traveling Canucks | Mar 23, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Looks wonderful! I love places that force you to disconnect and take a deep breath.
    Cam @ Traveling Canucks recently posted..Photos from our travels to Luxor, EgyptMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Yeah, but disconnecting is something I’m not entirely comfortable with! 🙂

  • Laura @Travelocafe | Mar 26, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Rabbit Island! You find so many interesting places!
    Laura @Travelocafe recently posted..Go Solo: An Argument for Travelling AloneMy Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Mar 26, 2013 at 6:20 pm

      Didn’t find any rabbits, though. Probably for the best 🙂

  • The GypsyNesters | Apr 8, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Wow! Love the idea of crabs coming straight out of the water. What a find.
    The GypsyNesters recently posted..It’s Cherry Blossom Time in Japan!My Profile

    • Michael Turtle | Apr 16, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Oh my gosh – and they tasted so good!!

  • Michel | Jun 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Funny. We just missed each other by a couple of days. 🙂

    I am doing an internship in Phnom Penh and with all of these public holidays here I was able to escape the buzzling city for a couple of days. As I just read your text about Sihanoukville, you can imagine why I choose to go to Koh Tonsay or Rabbit Island (as tourists call it).

    I just think it’s great there. Hanging around in a hammock and some wandering around the island. Usually the beach dogs keep followi8ng you within their territory, which is quite funny. And having a huge gecko in the bamboo hut is quite special – even when he shits on your backpack. After a can of cold beer at sunset, the moon comes out and bats emerge in the sky.

    When I arrived there were only 3 (!) foreign people at the beach. I loved it. But now in the low-season you better rent a private boat, as I met people who waited 1 day to go back to Kep. So they were pretty stuck. Also some jellyfish action was on one day. But they diasappered as the burning did the next one.

    Anyway. – Write on.

    • Michael Turtle | Jun 23, 2013 at 12:40 am

      What a pity we missed each other. I MUCH preferred Kep and Rabbit Island to Sihanoukville. The crowds were a bit too much for me but the quiet beach with the hammocks was really relaxing.

  • Mike Petersen | Aug 28, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Look like heaven on earth. After reaching the island you will forget all your tensions easily. I just want to know more about this island. How can we go there? Is there any danger of Cambodian rebels?. Can we rent or purchase hammocks there?

    • Michael Turtle | Aug 29, 2013 at 4:25 am

      You can get to Rabbit Island by boat from the town of Kep. It doesn’t take too long at all and you can easily arrange accommodation beforehand or when you get there. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘Cambodian rebels’ but it’s all very safe.

  • Rachel | Feb 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I am about to travel to Cambodia and am planning to go to Kep. I am so glad that you’ve confirmed what I thought- that it is a real escape, tranquil and almost untarnished by people! Did you need to bring your own mat and sleeping bag for the huts?
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    • Michael Turtle | Feb 10, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      It’s so peaceful – the perfect place to get away from everything! And, no, you don’t need to take any sleeping equipment for you. There are a few different types of huts you can stay in but they all have bedding.

  • thonmey | Nov 20, 2014 at 2:43 am

    Retaining the theme by Stuart Cohen and Julie Hacker

    As successful furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials informed, visual consistency plays an important role when a kitchen is designed to become an addition to the adjacent living environment as the pictured kitchen portrays by architects Stuart Cohen and Julie Hacker.
    The duo duplicate the traditional millwork found throughout the house. “We also replicated the crown moulding, base boards and the casing around the doors,” said Hacker. “But we invented the rest of the vocabulary of the woodwork. The island and sink cabinet, for example, feature a classical column design, which is a homage to renowned English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.”
    Other key features include retro pieces that enhance the traditional theme of the design such as a custom steel hood and cabinet brackets in antiqued patina. A walk-in pantry and a large butler’s pantry were also added.

  • Upcoming: top 5 authentic destinations in South East Asia! | El Bueno, El Feo y El Malo | Oct 26, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    […] first was taken on a short boattrip to Rabbit Island in Cambodia. To get there you catch a local fisherman´s boat from the town of Kep and the island […]

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