The coast of Cambodia is a constellation of picture perfect islands, a world away from the pandemonium of Phnom Penh and the ancient splendour of Angkor Wat. Any one of these islands would be a perfect base for an isolated blue water getaway, but one in particular is special – Song Saa Private Island.
The story of Song Saa begins on another, much larger, island: Australia. Rory and Melita Hunter left Australia in 2005 to embrace a different sort of life in Cambodia. In between their work renovating French Colonial houses across the country, they took trips around the country, including a two-week trip in the Koh Rong archipelago, where they chartered a fishing book in search of idyllic island jewels. On the last day of the trip, they discovered a pair of small islands, home to a mere handful of residents who were aiming to move to the mainland. Captivated, the Hunters agreed to purchase the islands there and then.
Now consisting of 27 villas that can be book individually or en masse for the true private island experience, Song Saa offers unprecedented access to the pristine Koh Rong, still unknown to most travel itineraries. The villas are sumptuous, with some clever natural accents – during construction, Melita Hunter sent fishing boats on daily excursions through the Gulf of Thailand to gather branches, warped tree trunks and the remains of painted longtail fishing boats that the organic-sculpture artist placed discreetly across Song Saa’s buildings. The isolation is splendid, as is the food, which offers a Khmer-style twist to staple dishes. And Song Saa also has direct access to Cambodia’s other main attraction: through a close relationship with the Amansara resort in Siem Reap, guests can choose to traipse through the ancient temples of Angkor Wat before or after a private flight to Song Saa.