International business magazine Forbes has
recognised three pristine Cambodian beaches in its ranking of
Asias Best Beaches.
On the list of the top 22 were OTres Beach in
Sihanoukville, nearby Ream Beach in Prey Nop, and the sands of Koh
Rong, an idyllic island just 30 minutes off the Cambodian coast
which is being developed as the regions first environmentally
planned resort island.
The accolades recognised beaches across the
region, from New Zealand and Sri Lanka to China.
Although largely unknown to international tourism, Cambodias 443
kilometre coastline is studded with paradise islands bordering Thailand to the north and Vietnam to the south. It
is being touted as the next Asian Riviera to rival the likes of Phuket and Koh Samui.
Tourism in Cambodia has developed
strongly over the past decade, reaching 2.16 million last year,
but by far the main attraction is Angkor Wat.
Unlike neighbouring Thailand, where most tourism concentrates
around beach resorts, a mere 7.7% of Cambodias tourism is
so far coastal. Visitors to Cambodia tend to combine Angkor Wat
with a beach holiday elsewhere in Asia, overlooking the unspoiled
beauty of the countrys undeveloped coast.
set to change, however, with a newly expanded airport at
Sihanoukville which is currently open for chartered flights and
private jets, with connections to the capital Phnom Penh and Siem
Reap, as well as regional flights, expected with the development
of tourism and international standard resorts along the coast. The
Cambodian government is also encouraging international investors
to develop coastal tourism in the area to complement the
countrys cultural attractions.
undiscovered paradise which was first discovered by adventurous
backpackers also featured recently on National Geographic
Adventure Channels 'The Lonely Planet: Roads Less Traveled.
Rong covers 78 sq kms a third the size of Koh Samui with a
population of just 1,500 in small fishing villages. Its beaches of
pure white sand and crystal clear water have been compared to the
Development of Koh Rong as Asias
first environmentally planned resort island for high-end tourism
is now gathering pace.
Behind the visionary plan is
one of Cambodias largest business, property and infrastructure
conglomerates, The Royal Group. Headed by prominent tycoons Kith
Meng, The Royal Group has been granted a 99-year lease by the
Cambodian government to develop the island.
of leading international consultants has started realising the
vision with a Master Plan nearing completion by MAP Architects
of Hong Kong, in consultation with world renowned environmental
and airport consultants Scott Wilson.
international property firm CB Richard Ellis is advisor and sole
agent driving the marketing campaign targeting international
tourism infrastructure developers and operators.
The main focus is on developers with plans for exclusive,
environmentally sensitive tourism projects, said David Simister,
Chairman, CBRE Thailand and Indochina.
of the undiscovered paradise island for high-end tourism includes
an international airport and golf courses.
Rong archipelago is already setting the benchmark for luxury
tourism off Cambodias coast. On a nearby island, Song Saa Resort
is on schedule to open next year as one of Cambodias first international
The exclusive private island resort
is being developed by Brocon Investment Co., Ltd. It comprises 14
one and two-bedroom residential villas, with facilities including
a 5-star over water restaurant and bar, swimming pool, spa &
wellness centre, yoga & meditation centre and water sports centre.
International investors snapped-up the villas at
Song Saa ahead of completion. Mr. Simister said, Song Saa is
the first project to target foreign buyers and its runaway success
indicates the interest in this area. The Koh Rong story is similar
to that of Samui and Phuket 20 years ago. It is one of the last
undiscovered paradises in South East Asia.
Hunter, Chairman of Brocon Investment Co., Ltd. added, The launch
of Song Saa Island Resort has put Cambodia on the global map and
paves the way for future developments in the area.
Bart Kluskens, a conservation adviser for Song Saa Resort and
a member of the panel consulted for the Forbes list, said, The
further you go from the mainland, the more and more beautiful the
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