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Introducing Koh Tonsay

Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island), said to have the nicest beaches of any Kep-area island (except Vietnam’s Phu Quoc), is so named because locals say it resembles a rabbit, an example of what too much local brew can do to your imagination. If you like rusticity, come now before the island is changed forever by development.

At the 250m-long, tree-lined main beach, which faces west towards the setting sun, you can dine on seafood, lounge around on raised bamboo platforms and stay in thatched bungalows. North American travellers of a certain age may be tempted to hum the theme tune from Gilligan’s Island. Many people say Koh Tonsay is a ‘tropical paradise’ but don’t expect the sanitised resort version – this one has shorefront flotsam, flies, chickens, packs of dogs and wandering cows.

From the southern end of the main beach, a 10-minute walk takes you to a fishers’ hamlet and two more sand beaches, one on either side of the island’s narrow southern tip. It’s possible to walk all the way around Koh Tonsay.

The island’s interior is forested and, except along the beaches, trees grow right up to the water’s edge. On the hilltop you can see the ­remains of a one-time Khmer Rouge bunker.

Other Kep-area islands include Koh Pos (Snake Island; about 20 minutes past Koh Tonsay), which some say Chinese investors plan to turn into a resort, and beachless Koh Svai (Mango Island), whose summit offers nice views.