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George Driver05:00, Jan 26 2020
Cambodia is exploding in popularity, and with its remarkable sights and cheap accommodation - it's likely to become the new Thailand for Kiwis.
I awake to the waves lapping beneath my tent and the screams of fellow campers going for their daily dawn swim.
I unzip the tent fly, step onto the sand and into the soft morning sun and wade into the warm water. Here begins another day, in my world reduced to 670 hectares of jungle and sand, castaway in the Gulf of Thailand.
After four years of restless and sporadic travel through Asia and Europe, I felt like I'd learned the great lesson of travel: knowing when to stop.
On Cambodia's Koh Ta Kiev island, I came for a day, I stayed for a week. Plans to continue exploring the country's coast were abandoned, the scooters my girlfriend and I had rented from Phnom Penh sat unused in a shed on the mainland. The search was over, I'd found it.
Koh Ta Kiev is one of a handful of islands off the country's coast, sandwiched between Vietnam and Thailand, which have opened up to tourism over the past decade or so. Still relatively undeveloped, they're often described as "like Thailand 30 years ago".
While most tourists head to the beachside bungalows of party island Koh Rong, or its smaller, quieter neighbour Koh Rong Samleom, Koh Ta Kiev is one of the least visited and least developed, despite being the closest to the mainland.
The 6.7km2 island has a handful of basic accommodation, mainly bamboo bungalows along its two main beaches. They're mostly trendy, new agey affairs – yoga and meditation classes, cocktails on bamboo balconies – but Crusoe guesthouse, where I stayed, is the most stripped back. Island living pure and unadulterated. For $20 a night, my girlfriend and I stayed in an army surplus tent pitched on a wood platform on the shore. The sea was so close, it would actually flow beneath the tent during the full moon tide.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinat ... f-cambodia
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