Sunset – Koh Ta Kiev

Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia – Travel Guide

Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia, is calling out to all hippies, beach lovers and free spirits! Not yet hit by mass tourism, this idyllic Southeast Asian island is Cambodia’s answer to the Koh Phangan of yesteryear. 

So, if you’ve always wanted to feel like a character in Alex Garland’s The Beach (spoiler alert: not the fella who gets mauled by the shark), you’ve come to the right place. At night, phosphorescent plankton abound in the ocean and during the day, you can explore the island’s well-marked but little-used footpaths. There are no vehicles here, so the only way to get between the beaches, bars and viewpoints is to walk. 

How long you choose to spend on Koh Ta Kiev island will depend on you but most travellers opt for anywhere from two to five days to truly make the most of this Cambodian treasure! If my visa hadn’t been close to running out, I would’ve extended my stay for as long as I could find a bed! 

Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia – Backpacking Guide

Koh Ta Kiev Map & Resources

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Best Time to Visit Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia

The best time to visit Koh Ta Kiev is from November to February. This is the dry season, so you can expect cooler days with almost zero chance of rain. As Koh Ta Kiev is an island, there’s often a breeze, which helps keep the temperature down.

Facilities on Koh Ta Kiev 💵🧼🪥

You’re not going to find a well-stocked shop or pharmacy on Koh Ta Kiev. Stock up on the essentials before you leave the mainland. Some accommodation options have small shops with soap or insect repellent but don’t rely on being able to find much more!
Also, make sure you have plenty of cash with you for your stay. There are no ATMs on this Cambodian island and most places only accept cash!

Where to Stay on Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia 🛖

There are a bunch of accommodation options on Koh Ta Kiev. They’re all ‘resorts’ in that they sell food, drinks and beds but don’t expect European beach-style resorts. These are little more than wooden structures with a few mosquito nets! 

Kactus accommdation koh ta kiev
Stiled bungalows at Kactus Resort, Koh Ta Kiev!

Some are more secluded than others but they each have plenty of space and offer similar room options; tents, bungalows, dorms, etc. None are what you’d describe as luxury but the quality and cleanliness does vary between them. Expect wooden huts, basic beds and mosquito nets.

Getting to Your Accommodation 🚤 

No public ferries run between Koh Ta Kiev and the mainland and there is no central pier. Each resort offers its own transport for around $5-10USD each way. When you book your accommodation, they will instruct you on where and when to meet the boat! 

Best Accommodation on Koh Ta Kiev


Set in a secluded corner of Plankton Beach, you don’t spot Kactus until you’re right on top of it. Wonderful rustic charm and accommodation options ranging from tents, dorms and private jungle huts, make Kactus the ultimate desert island hideaway. 

There are enough beds for more than 60 people but the layout of the resort makes it feel like there’s just a handful of you there! While one of the best things to do in Koh Ta Kiev is chill, Kactus offer twice-daily yoga sessions and a range of artsy activities to keep you busy if you’re bored with swinging in a hammock all day. 

Kactus – Koh Ta Kiev
Kactus is a great place to chill out and meet other travellers!

Boats pick up from Ream Beach around 12:30 for approx. $7.50USD per person, one way. If you cannot make this boat, a private transfer can be arranged for around $25USD per boat. 

Crusoe Koh Ta Kiev

Get ready to live in slightly more comfort than this resort’s namesake at Crusoe Koh Ta Kiev. Whether you’re looking for a tent on the beach or a bungalow next to the sea, Crusoe has you covered. Most rooms include shared bathrooms but there are a couple of en-suite options if that’s more your thing.

Located on the northern end of Long Beach, Crusoe is well-situated for those wanting to snorkel, swim or explore other parts of the island. They offer boat trips too! The area around Crusoe is well set up for lazing with hammocks and comfortable seating areas. 

Pick up is from Pat Pat Guesthouse on Otres Beach at noon, costing around $6.50USD each way. If you can’t make this boat, a second pick-up from Ream Beach can be arranged at 16:00. 

Electricity and WiFi on Koh Ta Kiev ⚡️🛜📶

You’re not guaranteed 24-hour electricity when staying on Koh Ta Kiev. Some resorts do offer it, while others just don’t have the infrastructure. The same is true of WiFi. Some accommodation options have a 4G hotspot set up, so you can connect to the web for a daily fee. But don’t rely on a high-speed connection! Most Cambodian SIM providers get reasonable signal on Koh Ta Kiev, my Cellcard SIM gave me two bars of 4G throughout my stay, which was more than enough. 
If being able to charge your devices, flick on a light at any time of day or get your emails are important to you, make sure you read the profile and reviews of the accommodation options you’re considering!

Nak’s Shack 

For a no-frills island experience, Nak’s Shack is the place for you. Boasting only budget-friendly private ensuite rooms, Nak’s Shack is found halfway up Long Beach. Don’t expect the same level of design, organisation or cleanliness as with some other accommodation options on Koh Ta Kiev but what you’ll get instead is some of the friendliest service anywhere on the island. Nak knows how to make his guests feel like family!

The Last Point

Once THE spot for backpackers on Koh Ta Kiev, a lot has changed post-pandemic. The Last Point is still a friendly place to visit but the once-thriving resort feels like a shadow of its former self. The buildings need a good overhaul – which to be fair, appears to be happening – and the super social vibe of years gone by doesn’t seem to have made it through the rough COVID years. 

That said, work is being done to revitalise The Last Point. Upgrades are being made to the dorms and private rooms. The party atmosphere does pick up in the evenings (providing the right crowd turns up) and the food is excellent. 

Last Point – Koh Ta Kiev
The Last Point is getting some upgrades!

We truly hope The Last Point returns to its former glory as one of the premier backpacker hostels in Cambodia! To get to The Last Point, you need to get their boat from Ream Beach at 12:30 each day. 

Coral Bay Resort 

Found on the southern end of Long Beach, Coral Bay Resort is one of the newest places to stay on Koh Ta Kiev. Having taken over from Ten103 – one of the island’s longest-running guesthouses – Coral Bay Resort is off to a flyer. 

With tents, dorm rooms and private bungalow options, Coral Bay have offerings for travellers on all budgets. The onsite restaurant is cracking, serving up a range of local and Western food, as well as great cocktails and other drinks. 

To get to Coral Bay resort, the boat leaves from Ream Beach at noon each day. It’s around $7.50 for a one-way ticket. 

Things to Do on Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia

1. Enjoy Beach Life 🏝️

The number one thing to do on Koh Ta Kiev is to kick back and do nothing at all. Grab a hammock, a book and a good drink and laze the day away! It’s the kind of place where you’re not expected to wear anything but your swimming costume – your shoes can stay in your room for the duration of your stay!

Swing on Beach - Koh Ta Kiev
It’s all about beaches on Koh Ta Kiev!

But, if lazing around for days on end doesn’t appeal to you, there is plenty to keep you occupied! 

2. Party at the Different Bars 🍻

While you can certainly stay in your resort for the duration of your stay on Koh Ta Kiev, it’s nice to try a different bar from time to time. The drinks are pretty similar no matter where you go but the happy hours vary slightly and the atmosphere is different at each spot. Every accommodation option on the island has a public bar, so try a few out to find your favourite! 

420 💨😉

If it’s your thing, the 420 culture is rife on Koh Ta Kiev. It’s acceptable to smoke in the open, you can buy from most bars on the island, and some even have happy hour deals! 

3. Explore the Island Trails 🥾

Connecting the various resorts, bars and scenic spots on Koh Ta Kiev is a network of well-marked trails. It only takes a couple of hours to walk from one side of the island to the other but there are so many intersecting trails that you could spend days exploring them all! 

You can also try your hand (or foot) at a bit of trail running on Koh Ta Kiev. While it looks like the official Koh Ta Kiev race only ran for a couple of years, the trail markers are still in place. So, if you fancy a nine-kilometre blast through some beautiful scenery, strap on your trail runners and get jogging!

Koh Ta Kiev Trail
Only another 8km to go – you’ve got this!

“One of my favourite trails is the meditation path that goes from Kactus to the swamp. It also connects with the trail between Kactus and The Last Point!”

Tim Ashdown, Writer at South East Asia Backpacker 
Last Point Trail – Koh Ta Kiev
Find the Meditation Path this way!

4. Visit Elephant Rock 🐘 

Often included on boat tours around the island, Elephant Rock is a popular spot with travellers not for its elephantine appearance but for the adrenaline rush of the seven-metre jumping rock! 

But even if you don’t fancy the leap, the trail to Elephant Rock is a lot of fun and there are some stunning viewpoints along the way! 

Viewpoint – Koh Ta Kiev
Soak up those views!

5. Do a Beach Clean 🚮

Not only is picking up some litter a wholesome way to devote 30 minutes of your time, but if you do it near Kactus Resort, they’ll give you a free can of beer in return for a bagload of litter! You’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling from the good deed and the alcohol! 

6. Head Over to the Floating Village 🛖

I’ll be honest, I’m not one for visiting local villages to ogle at the way people live. But if it’s up your street, Koh Ta Kiev’s floating village is a great example of a traditional way of life. The route is marked along the various walking trails that crisscross the island! 

7. Get Up Close and Personal With Phosphorescent Plankton 🌊

No matter where you are on Koh Ta Kiev when the sun goes down, the plankton come out to play. It’s most obvious on a really dark night, so head out after the sun has set but before the moon rises. You’ll see the plankton by just paddling in the shallows but for the full experience, jump right in and go for a swim! 

8. Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Nature 🐜

Whether you’re walking the island’s trails or just chilling in the bar, nature is everywhere on Koh Ta Kiev. From the dizzyingly long lines of ants clambering up and down trees, to the vast array of insects, small mammals and birds that call the island home, there’s plenty of life roving around!

Big Spider – Koh Ta Kiev
That’s close enough buddy!

Nature Up Close and Personal 🧼🐀

It’s worth noting that rodents and other animals are attracted to resorts around the island. If you take your own food with you (which most resorts ask you not to), make sure it’s well sealed and don’t leave it where it can easily be sniffed out. Rats and mice will happily chew through your backpack to get at your half-eaten bag of fruit or chocolate! I even caught a rat eating my bar of soap when I went for a midnight pee! 

9. Settle In for Sunset 🌅 

If you’re already living the lazy island dream, set up in a good spot for sunset. The blazing colours of the setting sun are incredible on Koh Ta Kiev! 

Sunset from Hammock – Koh Ta Kiev
Find me a better spot for sunset…

“The island became one of my favorite places I have visited durin my travels! It’s a little paradise island, not too many people now as it is low season, but it had amazing vibes with the people that were there at the time (they always have a few volunteers, some of them long-term) and the sunsets are out of this world! Amazing place to relax, unwind, swim (with plankton at night), go on hikes in the jungle, work out and the food is so so tasty. 👌🏻

Vera, South East Asia Backpacker Community

10.  Snorkel 🤿

With crystal clear water, Koh Ta Kiev makes an excellent spot for snorkelling. Most resorts rent out snorkel gear for a few dollars a day. The best places to see fish and other marine life are around the rocky headlands at the ends of the beaches! 

11. Kayaking 🛶 

If you’re happy kayaking on the sea, rent one and head out into the waves! Not all accommodation options rent kayaks but a few do. Ask at yours and if they don’t, they’ll be able to tell you who does! 

12. Join In With Social Activities 🎤

Resorts across Koh Ta Kiev put on a range of daytime and nighttime activities, from karaoke, movie nights and ecstatic dance to guided walks and macramé classes, you’ll find something to keep you occupied during your stay! Ask about to see who’s doing what, when!

13. Turn Your Trip Into a Yoga Retreat at Kactus 🧘‍♀️

With twice-daily yoga sessions, you can easily turn your trip to Koh Ta Kiev into a dream Cambodian yoga retreat! Classes cover different yoga disciplines such as Tantra, Kundalini and Hatha.  You can book your stay as a full-on retreat or just join in with the donation-based classes. 

Food and Drink on Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia 🍜

There are very few stand-alone food and drink vendors on Koh Ta Kiev. Most businesses on the island offer rooms, as well as food and drink. 

Breakfast – Koh Ta Kiev
It’s better than the view from my dining room window!

The fishing village does house a couple of small eateries. These are aimed at locals more than foreigners and you will almost certainly be hit with tourist prices, making these local joints around the same cost as everywhere else on the island.

Getting Around Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia 🥾 

Unless you’ve developed the power of flight, there are only two ways to get around Koh Ta Kiev; walking or on a boat. The network of walking trails around the island is well-marked and super fun to follow. You can get to every bar, guesthouse and popular viewpoint using these trails.

Signs 2 Koh Ta Kiev
The walking trails on Koh Ta Kiev are well-marked!

A Word of Warning

“During my visit to Koh Ta Kiev, I decided to hit the trails and explore the island for the day. My girlfriend preferred to stay at the accommodation, so I went alone. During the walk, I had an unfortunate encounter with a local islander. His house was beside the trail and as I approached, he stumbled out onto the path, waved and started shouting at me in Khmer. I smiled, said hello and went to walk past. He gave me his hand, which I shook, not wanting to be rude. But he didn’t let go after the handshake was over. Instead, he tried to drag me into his house. He smelled strongly of booze but his plate-like eyes suggested he’d been doing more than drinking. I was able to pull my hand out of his grip and make my way past without any other issues. One small, old, unsteady Khmer man wouldn’t put me off walking the trails of Koh Ta Kiev alone, but as a six-foot, able-bodied man who was perfectly sober at the time, it would be disingenuous of me to not mention this encounter. If you’re concerned about safety on the trails, I recommend not walking them alone, especially after dark.”

Tim Ashdown, Writer at South East Asia Backpacker 

Some of the accommodation options run boat tours to different sights, these cost around $10-20USD and get you to the spots without having to walk across the island!

How to Get to Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia 🚤

Getting to Koh Ta Kiev is easy. You need to get a boat from where your accommodation tells you. This is usually Otres Beach in Sihanoukville or Ream Beach, around 30 minutes outside of town. 

If you’re coming from somewhere like Kep or Kampot and need to get to Ream Beach, ask your bus driver to drop you off at the Sihanoukville Airport roundabout. From there, you can arrange a tuk-tuk through PassApp, the most popular Uber alternative in Cambodia. If you can’t get one, there are usually tuk-tuks waiting near the roundabout but in my experience, they will try to overcharge you for the journey. 

Boat to Koh Ta Kiev
The boat from Ream Beach to Koh Ta Kiev!

It’s also possible to arrange a day trip to Koh Ta Kiev from Sihanoukville. While these are a good option if you’re short on time, the best way to experience this island is to stay for at least a few nights. If you’re running out of time on your Cambodian itinerary, I suggest jiggling things around to make room for Koh Ta Kiev, you will not be disappointed – and if you are, the problem is probably with you… 😁

Where to Go Next:

Kampot – Most famous for pepper production, Kampot is becoming Cambodia’s backpacker Mecca. With a great collection of hostels and guesthouses, as well as plenty of bars and restaurants, a few days in Kampot won’t be time wasted! Don’t miss Bokor National Park while you’re there! 

Koh Rong – Cambodia’s most popular island, Koh Rong isn’t the idyllic castaway destination it used to be. But if you’re looking for a less rustic island experience, Koh Rong is still a good choice! 

Koh Rong Samloem – The quieter, albeit still very popular, sibling of Koh Rong, KRS offers a more laidback vibe. Check out the backpacker hub of M’Pai Bay, or head to Saracen Bay for the larger resorts and hostel chains!


South East Asia Backpacker is a ‘travel diary for everyone’. This article has been written with the help of backpackers and local experts. We would like to thank…

🙏 Sheree Hooker | Editor at South East Asia Backpacker
🙏 Alex
| Kactus Koh Ta Kiev

Tim Ashdown | Gear Specialist

After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since then, he has travelled Southeast Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and backpacked South America. His first book, From Paralysis to Santiago, chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident and will be released later this year.

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