Incase you missed our Christmas adventuring this year, we opted to spend our first Christmas away from home on the pristine paradise island of Koh Rong Samloem, off the southern coast of Cambodia. Due to the special occasion we decided to splurge and spend a bit more than normal on our accommodation. After all, we weren’t able to spend it with our nearest and dearest so we might as-well make it memorable! Browsing through the last minute options remaining on the island (shock we planned our trip with only a few weeks notice), we decided to take the plunge and book the brand new, never reviewed Pipes Resort. Risky, right? But the alternative was camping, and that just wasn’t going to cut it for a Christmas treat!
After a ropey start to our Cambodian island adventure – read: seasickness followed by dropping my ONLY pair of sunglasses into the ocean – we finally arrived at Koh Rong Samloem. Climbing onto the jetty and seeing the island for the first time, every frustration from the morning melted into an inexplicable joy of knowing your in for a couple days in beachbum-HEAVEN.
Koh Rong Samloem, you absolute beauty – crystal-clear, turquoise water – softest white sand – bungalows dotted along the beach front. Yes. We picked well.
The Pipes Resort
Were greeted with a warm welcome and a private boat ride to the resort, saving us lugging our luggage along the beach. After a quick check-in and a complimentary drink we were shown to our “bungalow” – novelly designed as pipes (hence the resorts namesake).
With full length windows, crisp white bedding, a hot shower, brand new AC and even a TV – these are some of the most luxurious bungalows available on the island. The Pipes design, while novel, has been thoroughly considered for the situation, with nice touches like a foot shower right outside the door to avoid bringing the soft sand inside.
The best part of this island retreat was definitely: being able to walk straight onto the this insanely beautiful beach. Say goodbye to your shoes and settle in for island life!
They also have adorable twin swings in the shallows of the sea, creating a picture-perfect backdrop for a shot of this tranquil island.
Sunrise on Christmas morning *insert heart-eyes emoji*
The resort only opened its doors to guests at the start of December, and they actually opened their restuaurant on the day we arrived (we were the first to ever eat lunch with them). We opted for some Cambodian dishes and were not disappointed. However we ate again one evening and I tried the Bolognese (sorry not sorry) which wasn’t bad but it was spicy, so a bit unusual! But that goes for everywhere in Asia – take western dishes with a pinch of salt (pun intended).
Breakfast was also included in our stay, and we were able to enjoy it from the stretch of beach right outside our front door which was bliss.
Breakfast on the beach outside our bungalow on Christmas morning.
To be brutally honest, breakfast wasn’t anything special, trying very much trying to cater to western tastes. Our recommendation would be to go for the fresh fruit based ones!
For our Christmas lunch The Pipes Resort arranged a private BBQ for us on the beach. They supplied the BBQ ready to cook and a selection of seafood and meat, as well as a side salad and baguettes. It was such a lovely and special way to make Christmas Day away from home fun!
Cooking our BBQ on the quiet beach of Koh Rong Samloem.
The Christmas napkins sent from home helped to make it feel like Christmas, despite being on a sunny beach in the gulf of Thailand.
Where to start – the team running the resort offer true Cambodian hospitality. They were all so pleasant and went out of their way to make sure our stay was great. From the mini-boat transfers to the pier, to the BBQ set up, to getting breakfast brought to us rather than at the restaurant and having drinks brought down to the beach – they really helped to make our stay as carefree as possible. Exactly what you look for in a tropical island like Koh Rong Samloem.
The only slight downside was the lack of online payment and intermittent internet. It took multiple attempts to FaceTime/Skype/whatsapp call with our families on Christmas Day. So maybe if you are looking for a beach to work remotely from this isn’t the one for you. But isn’t that why people love to visit remote, quiet islands so much? – To detox from social media and technology and fully unwind.
The payment issue is not specific to The Pipes Resort but to the whole island. Be sure to carry more than enough dollars to pay for your stay and all food and drink you will be consuming. No card machines/ATMs are available on the island so all payments need to be in cash.
There was no safe, which is usually something we avoid when picking accommodations, but at no point during our stay the island did we feel unsafe and our bungalow was very secure (there’s no way to break in through concrete without being noticed).