As our boat putts away from the Cambodian coastline, Rabbit Island life begins to take shape in the distance. A long strip of deserted beaches lined with wooden bungalows and towering palm trees comes into focus. Just ashore a grinning woman stands waving and waiting for our arrival. Her name is Simone, and she owns one of the five family guesthouses on the island. Yeay Meng Bungalows and Restaurant is a family affair. Simone's husband worked the kitchen while her nephews swept out one of their 13 huts. As we began to unpack, mainland Cambodia could be seen from our window – so close it looked like you could touch it, but just far enough for you to feel completely off the grid.
About a 20-minute boat ride from Kep, Cambodia lies Koh Tonsay (which means Rabbit Island in Khmer). Without Internet or phones and with minimal plumbing, Rabbit Island is secluded and enticing to the exhausted traveler looking to strip down to the bare necessities. There are no rabbits to be found here; the shape of the island is what it's named after, resembling an Easter bunny floating on its back in the middle of the sea.
For just $7 a night guests can enjoy oceanfront views equipped with a hammock or two. Only three hours of electricity is available per day (from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.), making gadget usage scarce – plenty of sun block and reading material is recommended. Fill up your time with swims in the warm ocean water, hike around the island, or have a nap in the sand. Also, attached is a family restaurant serving an array of Cambodian dishes and beverages. For just $3 to $6 per plate, travelers can enjoy a wide selection of Khmer cuisine: Kampot peppered crab, spicy curries, stir-fried noodles and more.
Just two square kilometers in area, life is simple on Rabbit Island. Although there isn't much to do, its sleepy atmosphere is what makes it so beautiful. With such a welcoming family and stunning sunsets, easing into the beach bum life won't be too difficult. You may never want to turn on your cell phone again.
More information: There are no ATMs on the island or in Kep. Be sure to stock up on cash at a larger neighboring town. Boat tickets to Rabbit Island can be purchased in central Kep for about $12. [Call +855(0)12893102, +855-36-6688881 to make reservations]