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Cambodia’s Beautiful Beaches – The Lazy Beach Hotel

By Courtney Ridgel

If you desire tropical white sand beaches without Thailand’s crowds and pricey hotels, look no further than Cambodia’s Lazy Beach Hotel – a beautiful property on the island of Koh Rong Saloem, off the coast of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Julia Cuthbertson and Carlos Jimenez traveled to Vietnam and Cambodia for their honeymoon in March.  In Cambodia they discovered a private paradise at the Lazy Beach Hotel and shared their experience below:

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Julia Cuthbertson looking out over Lazy Beach

Lazy Beach, located on Koh Rong Saloem island in the Gulf of Thailand, was the perfect island getaway to cap off a fabulous trip. The slow 2.5 hour boat ride from Sihanoukville was just the beginning of a few days that were fabulously slow and restful. We were greeted at the dock by Chris, the wonderful owner, who brought us to the bar for a welcome drink and to meet the staff.

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The path to the restaurant, which is open all day long
Our bungalow was just feet from the water
Home, Sweet Home!
Home, Sweet Home!

Our bungalow, positioned about 50 feet from the beach, came complete with 2 hammocks and a sitting area on a large porch, and 2 queen sized beds outfitted with mosquito nets. Although the bungalows are being renovated, ours was an older model, and harkened back to a simpler and more rustic lifestyle. The property generator only turns on from around 4 or 5 p.m. until dawn, so you can charge electronics and use the fan at night, but not during the day. WiFi has not yet arrived to the island and I am hoping it stays this way. We had two friendly (and stunning) spotted gecko friends that alternated between our porch and our bathroom the whole time.

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There are many places to relax, read a book and sip a fresh fruit smoothie
One of the colorful local boats
One of the colorful local boats moored off the beach

The rustic nature of Lazy Beach was appealing to us from the beginning and was definitely what made our experience there so special. Without any programmed activities, emails to check, pictures to post or high-end amenities, the hardest decision to make was where to be… lazy. Whether snorkeling, reading, lounging, playing cards, or going for a walk, we were utterly relaxed but never bored. One day we walked 20 minutes to Saracen Bay, a beautiful beach on the other side of the island, and the next we did a short (and vertical) hike up to a lookout point that gave us the most spectacular views of Lazy Beach and beyond. The last night we went swimming after dinner and were amazing by all of the bio-luminescent plankton that surrounded us.

We had the beach to ourselves
We had this beautiful beach all to ourselves
Julia taking in the sunset
Julia taking in the sunset

The bar and restaurant is in a large, beautiful and recently renovated villa and the kitchen is open continuously all day. The menu is varied, with a mix of traditional Cambodian and Asian dishes and some more international/western offerings as well. We thought the food was absolutely delicious, and we enjoyed eating it while lounging in all of the different areas of the villa.  Wandering up from the beach for an afternoon smoothie became a quick habit of ours. The staff was lovely, service was quick, and they were extremely accommodating.

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The dining room at the Lazy Beach
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Freshly made spring rolls

Chris, the owner, told us that development on the island is happening at lightning speed (which we could see in Saracen Bay). For now, Lazy Beach is the only resort on this particular bay and we hope it stays this way for as long as possible. It felt like true luxury to find ourselves, at times, completely alone on such a beautiful beach in the warmest, most inviting country.

An end to another perfect day at the Lazy Beach Hotel
An end to another perfect day at Lazy Beach

Ha Long Bay – Reflections on the Dragon’s Pearl Junk 3 Day Cruise

By Courtney Ridgel

Guests Julia Cuthbertson and Carlos Jimenez share their experience in Bai Tu Long Bay (the peaceful northern part of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam, commonly overlooked by most visitors) while on their honeymoon:

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On board the Dragon’s Pearl Junk

I just wanted to emphasize that we LOVED our 2 night/3 day boat trip to Bai Tu Long Bay – amazing to be the only boat within sight for almost the entire time. The scenery was stunning and we really loved the boat itself – we expected the rooms to be as small, but we didn’t expect them (and the bathroom) to be so nice! I still think about our dinner in the cave our second night – so awesome!  I would highly encourage other travelers to do this tour.

For that matter, we thought our entire itinerary was perfect – we really thought it was the perfect mix of nature, city and temples. We actually have multiple friends and some family who are so amazed by our pictures that they want us to send them over all the details so they can do the same exact trip!

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Relaxing on the upper deck

Information about the Dragon’s Pearl Cruises: The Dragon’s Pearl Junk Cruise offers 2- and 3-day cruises, and includes delicious multiple-course meals. Admire the hundreds of fascinating rock formations rising from the emerald green water as you cruise through Bai Tu Long Bay. You’ll have the opportunity to visit a few of these islands, explore Thien Canh Son Cave, relax on the beach, swim, kayak or relax in the comfortable sun chairs on the top deck. You’ll also have the chance to visit the local floating village of Cong Dam that survives from fishing in Ha Long Bay and learn about their daily lives, the floating school and their fish farms.

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Our Cabin
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An arch in one of the many islands
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Julia and Carlos kayaking in Baid Tu Long Bay
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Kayaking into a cave
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A delicious dinner in Thien Canh Son Cave
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Bai Tu Long Bay
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The Dragon’s Pearl Junk