An eco-resort whose spectacular location makes it one of Koh Ta Kiev’s most popular destinations
Koh Ta Kiev’s Kactus eco-resort is a step up from the rest, with a beautifully designed treehouse bar and decking overlooking a spectacular private beach and some of the island’s best sunset views. Kactus has been designed to complement the natural beauty of the island. It’s one of the island’s most popular resorts thanks to a great location and lots of attention to detail.
Located on the southern tip of Koh Ta Kiev, just a five-minute walk through the jungle from the Last Point Hostel, Kactus boasts its own bay, with a two-kilometer-long stretch of white sandy beach and a stunning coral reef. A book exchange, plenty of hammocks, and ample seating on the beautiful deck make Kactus perfect for a relaxing holiday.
Those who fancy being a little more active can rent snorkels for the day, enjoy a game of beach volleyball, explore the local area, swim out to the awesome chill-out boat and set up camp in a swinging hammock out in the middle of the ocean, or even rent a longboard to try a spot of surfing. After the sun goes down, Plankton Beach is the perfect place to go for a nighttime dip in an ocean come alive with bioluminescence.
The resort’s bar and restaurant live up to the natural surroundings. A tree grows right through the middle of the building, its branches stretching out along the roof, adorned here and there with the odd ornament. Well-built multi-tiered seating and a hand-carved wooden bar invite you to enjoy a sunset cocktail or a delicious gourmet meal. The bar is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, offering a wide array of hot and cold drinks, including real Italian coffee, as well as shakes and snacks. The kitchen is only open during set hours, with breakfast served from 7 to 10 a.m., a lunch special at 1 p.m., and dinner at 7 p.m. sharp.
Breakfast choices are classic staples with a Cambodian accent ($4 with a tea or coffee); the $6 lunch and $7 dinner specials vary from day to day. The well-thought-out menus are designed with an eye to flavor and presentation, using locally sourced ingredients to give Western fare an interesting twist. The kitchen staff can cater to most dietary requirements and vegetarian and vegan options are available; just make sure you let the staff know when you sign up at the bar.
The resort offers a variety of accommodation options, including bungalows ($25), dorm beds ($10), and hammocks ($5). Some bungalows afford a little more privacy than others, but as with most other resorts on the island, facilities are basic and shared with your fellow guests. A few hidden bungalows tucked back in the jungle will appeal to those who want a more secluded experience and don’t mind missing out on the famed sea views.
If you feel like splurging, then the beautiful private bungalows tucked into the jungle are highly recommended. They offer a touch of luxury and of romance, if that’s what you’re seeking. Of course luxury (and romance) are relative, since this is a rustic island resort unspoiled by such mainland amenities as hot showers and flush toilets.
Be assured, though, that the hard-working team at Kactus keeps things clean and comfortable, and amid the lovely facilities and exotic tropical setting it’s easy to overlook the bucket showers. Prices range from $25 to $70 per night for bungalows that sleep up to four people. Note, however, that the bungalows fill up very quickly, so book in advance to ensure getting the best spot.
To get to Kactus from the mainland, just hop on their boat from outside O’Beach on Otres 1 (opposite Wish You Were Here) at noon and 4:45 p.m. every day for $13 return. The journey takes almost an hour and a half, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Given the resort’s more isolated location, if you’ve booked accommodation it is essential that you take the Kactus boat in order to guarantee your spot. The return boat departs from the island at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
In rainy season Kactus often closes for a few months. When the resort is open during the low season the boats run from Ream National Park, but transport will still be organized from Otres.
In order to preserve the eco-friendly, sustainable nature of the resort, Kactus does not allow any other boats to moor in its bay and does not allow free camping or fires on their private beach. There are also no dogs allowed at Kactus.
Written by Cassie Wilkins
Looking for more? View the full Koh Ta Kiev island guide for info on how to get there, tips on where to stay, and what to do.