Photo: Hazy weather for a day over the water.

Kien Svay

Our rating:

With a beautiful river-side setting, dozens of floating bamboo salas to choose from, and plenty of cheap beer and food, Kien Svay makes for a terrific lazy lunch and afternoon away from the big smoke of Phnom Penh.

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Kien Svay, also known as Koki Beach, is just 15 kilometres out of Phnom Penh down National Route 1, just over the border into Kandal Province. When we visited there was no beach to speak of, but rather a brackish body of water, covered in a mix of floating raft houses and water hyacinth with no shortage of large jumping fish.

This is how you do it. Photo taken in or around Kien Svay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Stuart McDonald.

This is how you do it. Photo: Stuart McDonald

We visited one early afternoon midweek and largely had the place to ourselves, the weekend scene can be considerably different though as the raft houses are packed with young Khmer students and families relaxing by the water over icy cold drinks and grilled chicken. If you do visit on the weekend, expect to be repeatedly approached for photos and conversation—if this kind of thing bothers you, aim for midweek. Regardless, expect to be the only foreigner in attendance.

Raft houses come in various shapes and sizes, some big enough for a football team, others sufficient for just two or three people. The restaurant will supply a roll out mat for you to sit on and their are ample hammocks strung to make yourself comfortable. They’ll also give you an esky with ice stocked with beer or water of whatever you want to drink—options are limited and we think they would probably struggle much beyond water and beer.

In wet season, add 3-4 metres of water. Photo taken in or around Kien Svay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Stuart McDonald.

In wet season, add 3-4 metres of water. Photo: Stuart McDonald

Once you’re all settled in, you can order food (if you want) or just enjoy some cold drinks by the water. We ordered an entire grilled chicken with sides of rice and some fried vegetables, which came in at around $10. Beers were 3,000 riel, the esky full of ice 1,000 riel. Not the cheapest afternoon out for a single traveller, but if you can rustle up a couple of like–minded souls, this isn’t bad value at all. Do be sure to check prices beforehand—little to no English is spoken. Your sala should have a telephone number on it somewhere should you need to order more beer or grilled chicken and can’t face the trek back to ... Travelfish members only (Around 800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Kien Svay
Around 15km to the southeast of Phnom Penh, just off National Road 1.
Admission: Free

Location map for Kien Svay

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