Better known as Rabbit Island, Ko Tonsay is a lovely little island about 25 minutes away from Kep by hired boat, making it one of the most easily accessible of all the islands. It is also one of the least-developed, with no motor vehicles, no mains electricity and few residents, making it an ideal getaway from the grind.
Boats leave the ferry ‘port’ in Kep regularly throughout the day — a return ticket will cost around $7 or pay $25 for a boat with enough seating for six to eight people. Travel agencies near the bus stop can organise tuk tuk collections, boat tickets and accommodation. Or just turn up at the jetty in the morning to make your own boat arrangements and find somewhere to sleep when you arrive. Weekends and public holidays get busy and may require booking ahead, but on a normal weekday the island will be beautifully peaceful.
You’ll need to bring your passport with you as the police tend to check them.
The main beach where the boats anchor is about 600 metres long, and lined with coconut palms, hammocks and lazy chairs, a few dozen huts and a handful of fresh seafood joints serving up some outstanding seafood.
There are eight ‘resorts’, each with a beachside restaurant shack and a collection of stilted bungalows arranged around a lawn with coconut palms. Accommodation runs the length of the beach, with a choice of single or duplex huts. The cheapest, at $6, do not have their own bathroom. Pay up to $15 for a sit-down toilet and cold shower, or between $8-$12 for a squat toilet, bucket shower and tap. Forget complementary toothbrushes and air-con — rooms come with a bed and a mosquito net. And that’s about it.
Lights go out at 22:00, when the generators are switched off, so don’t forget to bring a torch for those midnight toilet trips.
The seafood is worth a double mention — it doesn’t get fresher than here. When we asked for some crab in garlic and pepper we watched our server wade out into the water and pluck our meal from the crab traps bobbing in the water.
There are opportunities for walks to other little bays on the island and the swimming straight off the main beach is excellent. You can hike around the entire island in about three hours. If you want to get more active, you’re on a fishing village island remember, so look into trying to rustle up a fishing trip — either through the boatman who brought you in the first place, or else through just about anybody else on the island. Snorkels and masks are available to hire and there’s plenty of colourful fish to watch in the warm shallow water.
It’s also worth keeping an eye out for occasional jelly fish and spiky sea anemones that will spoil your fun (although your friends will probably love an opportunity to try out pee-related first aid remedies).
Definitely not flashpacking, Koh Tonsay will float your boat if you appreciate a good sunset and you’re not averse to shower dodging. Come on over, the crab’s waiting for you!
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Text and/or map last updated on 29th March, 2015.
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