Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island) 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.
main beach where the boats anchor is lined with coconut
palms, hammocks and lazy chairs, a few dozen huts ($5 a
night, shared facilities, $7 if you want a private
Many people say Koh Tonsay is a ‘tropical paradise’ but
don’t expect the sanitised resort version.
The main beach
(250 long) faces west towards the setting sun.
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.
There is no electricity, so at night it is just you, your
torch, perhaps a beach bonfire and about a million stars
Avoid going down on weekends, too, since when we last
visited, a large group of young Cambodians brought their
karaoke machine and blasted pop tunes until wee hours of the
morning. Most nights it's very quiet.
There are opportunities for walks to other little bays on
the island and the swimming straight off the main beach
If you want to get more active, you're on a fishing village
island remember, so look into trying to rustle up a
The name Koh Tosay is derived from the word Rumsay3. While trying to avoid the commander’s troops, Prince Sakor Reach grew hopeless because his own troops began to tire. He led his remaining troops across the sea to an island in front of Kep city, where the troops spread out. Accordingly, the island was called Koh Rumsay, the Koh Ormsay or Koh Ornsay, and the Koh Tonsay, as it is known today.
Koh Tonsay is 2 square Kilometers. During then-Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s Sangku Reastr Niyum regime, it was used as a place to rehabilitate criminals, who were also used to defend the island. Horse cart paths and wooden, thatch roofed motels were also constructed during this time. Most of this infrastructure has been destroyed by weather and decades of war. Today, seven families live on the island. They earn their living by fishing and growing coconut trees.
Koh Tonsay is located about 4.5 Kilometers southwest of Kep. Tourists are drawn to the two beautiful white sand beaches. The sea here is shallow and has a long slope, making Koh Tonsay excellent for swimming. At the sea bottom area a variety of corals, sea animals and plants which attract researchers and ecologists.
Getting there: Boats leave from Koh Tonsay pier in Kep for $10 return.
Only 20 minutes by boat from Kep.