Arriving at Lazy Beach feels like you’ve come across a well kept secret. A secret cult of pure laziness.
Between two outcrops of headland, turquoise waves roll onto an empty, white stretch of beach. At first glance, the only signs of life are a rickety wooden jetty and a tender boat used to deposit new castaways to shore.
This is the south-western bay of Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia. An island sleepier and more unadultered than its popular neighbour Koh Rong. There is no wifi, no phone signal and little to do except eat, sleep and swim.
The only inhabitants in this bay belong to the rustic Lazy Beach resort, a hamlet of 18 or so thatched wooden bungalows settled unobtrusively where jungle merges with sandy shore. The main bungalow that serves as the reception, bar and restaurant is bedecked with hammocks, swinging chairs and lounging sofas. As the days wear on, guests sit in the sea breeze, reading, eating or doing absolutely nothing at all in solidarity.
The atmosphere of the place, good management and the way every small detail is considered, speaks of somewhere expensive and exclusive. Only the price – $50 a night for a bungalow sleeping up to four – suggests otherwise. It draws a mix of families, couples, backpackers and friends; all happy to miss the expense of pomp and circumstance in favour of unspoiled, natural beauty.
Rendering the situation even more appealing is its ability to serve really great food. The kitchen opens from 07:30 and offers a menu of Asian and international favourites. Varied enough to keep you entertained and full of tempting options: seafood can be ordered in advance to be freshly caught that day; French toast comes with sweet, gooey banana jam and crisp rashers of bacon; baguettes are homemade and the vibrant green curry far outshines every other I’ve eaten in Southeast Asia. There is a nice selection of international wines starting at $14 for the house white (Chilean Sauvingnon from Concha Y Toro). Everything offers good value for the captive castaway market. You get the feeling prices are as fair as they can be.
For anyone with an uncharacteristic burst of energy there are things to do. There’s a badminton court, ping pong table, Neanderthal style gym on the edge of the beach and a jungle path taking you on a short hike to a nearby bay. There’s snorkelling gear to rent and the staff will let you know where and when to go for a night swim amongst the bioluminescent phytoplankton.
Splashing around with the tiny sparks of plankton underneath a clear, starry sky was one of the best moments at Lazy Beach. Close behind was watching the sun go down whilst hundreds of hermit crabs appeared, lacing patterned tracks across the sand.
But maybe the best part was climbing into bed at night unable to get rid of the swaying motion of too long spent in a hammock.