Tucked away in a quiet corner of Ream National Park on Cambodia’s southern coastline, Monkey Maya is surrounded by beautiful beaches and lush jungle. The secluded guesthouse offers a variety of accommodation options, lots of activities, and a big, comfortable restaurant and bar. Here’s our rundown of everything you need to know.
Accessible only via boat or by tuk tuk or motorbike along a dirt-track road through the heart of Ream National Park, Monkey Maya provides a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of Sihanoukville. The journey takes about an hour, and is an experience in itself, with gorgeous scenery for most of the trip. Monkey Maya’s tuk tuk makes daily pick-ups from their sister guesthouse, Monkey Republic, in Sihanoukville ($5 one way) and Otres Beach ($4 one way), and can also pick up and drop off bus passengers at Ream Junction next to Sihanoukville airport.
Monkey Maya has ten ensuite bungalows, and a sixteen-bed dorm. The bungalows are set back in the jungle, offering privacy and great views of the surrounding trees and ocean. There are five double bungalows and five new family bungalows, each with a double bed and bunk-beds. Bungalows cost between $20 and $35 per night, and a bunk in the dorms is $12.
All the bungalows have private balconies and verandas. The dorm is spacious, with comfortable bunks, private reading lights, fans, and towels and lockers are provided. There is also a big balcony with plenty of hammocks for chilling, and the bathrooms are just a stone’s throw away.
Even if you’re just stopping through on a day trip to the National Park, Monkey Maya’s large, airy bar and restaurant is worth a visit for its picture-perfect views of the coast. The menu serves a variety of Western and Khmer dishes at affordable prices, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. The bar opens at 8 a.m. and closes around midnight, with $1 beer and $3 cocktails during happy hour every day. The kitchen is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and then 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For the adventurous, Monkey Maya also offers a variety of activities. You can trek along signposted jungle trails, go wildlife spotting, visit a local village, or kayak through the National Park. Boat trips and guided treks can also be organized with the park rangers.
There are plenty of beaches and bays to explore as well, including the nearby Tinker Island, famed for its beautiful wooden walkway. Closer to home, options include beach volleyball and frisbee, and night swimming with bioluminescent plankton, or, if you just want to chill, there are plenty of books, board games and comfy couches.
While Monkey Maya is the perfect place for a relaxing getaway, for some, the only downside to being so secluded is the lack of power and WiFi. For now, Monkey Maya runs a generator from 5:30 p.m. until midnight every night, and you can get 3G/4G service with some mobile phone providers, but it is far from reliable. Still, there’s not many places in the world where you can watch dolphins frolic in the bay while you sip on your morning coffee, so if you do want to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature, it’s definitely worth checking out.