Koh Thmei is part of Ream National Park but this hasn't stopped the government from selling a substantial amount of the island to the highest bidder.
Right now the island is mostly empty; although a few families live on the island, there's not so much as a village, although the recent addition of a shrimp fishery means that's probably not far off. The only current accommodation is Koh Thmei Resort, which opened in December 2010. Their owners believe that they were allowed to open because of their eco-friendly policies — they power it by day using solar panels and have a complex natural water filtration system. You'll often find the local police drinking beers there.
A 99-year lease has been granted to one of the main property developers in Sihanoukville, a Malaysian firm, which plans to build a resort town on 2000 hectares of the island and a bridge to the mainland. They've promised to protect at least 40% of the island but we're not holding our breath ...
For now, though, the island is practically pristine. Flanked by mangrove forests, the island is a natural paradise that is as far from Sihanoukville as night is from day. Koh Thmei is the habitat of many types of interesting wildlife, particularly birds. Over 150 types of birds make their home in the park and a trip to the island offers ample bird-watching opportunities. To be fair, they seem to have their share of bugs as well.
Snorkellers will be happy with the possibilities around the coral reefs and the beaches are piled with exotic seashells for those who don't want to go underwater. Athletic types can kayak and when the weather's right, surf.
Phone service is accessible on the island through Metfone and Viettel.
Text and/or map last updated on 15th March, 2011.
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