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MT 27 March 2016

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maltatoday, SUNDAY, 27 MARCH 2016 40 This Week MARC CASOLANI HAVE you ever found yourself needing a proper break to refresh your body and mind? I know you have because we all have. It's not easy to find a location that will help you harness the most out of a place. Yet I believe that the tropical is- land of Koh Ta Kiev has the effect to help a person replenish their energy. The island can be found on the eastern coast of Cambodia, tucked away behind many other islands that are gathered off the coast of Sihanoukville. It's a fairly sized island that takes about 3 hours to hike around. Sandy beaches can be found on all sides, however White Beach unfor- tunately gathers a lot of sea waste. The rest are lovely to enjoy and bathe in. Cor- al Beach may be the most attractive as it is always protected from the elements and thus boasts a lovely garden of coral in which an array of small tropical fish thrive. The rest of the coast is a mix of rocky boulders to a really particular set of rocky beaches that look like they were carved out by man. The centre of the is- land is all jungle except for a small ring road that was flattened at some point. The rest of the island is connected by various footpaths, hacked out by ma- chetes, thanks to the local fishing village people. It's quite an easy journey to get to this island. Cambodia is still on the long road to development and all routes have to by- pass the capital, Phnom Penh. Therefore if you fly into Cambodia, bus it or bike it, you must first drive to Phnom Penh and then take the road to Sihanoukville, from there grab a tuk tuk to Otres beach and then a long boat straight to Koh Ta Kiev. Ideally you try and get in contact with the few bungalows that are found on the island prior to landing on the beach as they tend to fill up quite fast. Cru- soe Island offers hammocks and camp- ing, American-owned Ten103 and Last Point offer bungalows on Long Beach and White Beach, whilst French-owned Coral Beach and Kactus bungalows can be found in some of the loveliest spots on the island. Coral Beach is where all the best coral gardens are found and Plank- ton Beach is where on a dark night you can see the bioluminescent organisms illuminate the beach, also visible from your beachfront bungalow at Kactus. So imagine this – you wake up in the morning and find yourself looking out over the sea to the horizon and then walk down into the water to wake up. For those active souls, you can add some yoga, a jog or a swim to this. After all that, grab some breakfast, a 5-star meal, and you can have it served in your bun- galow or out on the dining terrace over- looking all this scenic beauty. Your day can then be spent reading a book in your hammock, snorkelling, swimming, trek- king around the island and experiencing the fishing village and a place called El- ephant Rock, which people enjoy jump- ing off into the sea from. Might I suggest that if you do check out the fishing vil- lage, try out some crab for lunch. Then spend your evening chilling out by the bar of the accommodation you have cho- sen and enjoy meeting travellers from all over who are there to enjoy the island's energy just as you are. I warn you, this place can be addictive and you may overstay your time, how- ever you will most definitely leave with a smile and some newfound energy to take on whatever awaits. How to get there Emirates offer regular flights to Cam- bodia with a stop over in Dubai. Flights departing from Malta on 25 March and returning on 14 April were priced at €1,312.48 at the time of going to print. Total flying time is approximately 23 hours. Hiking around a Cambodian paradise Koh Ta Kiev, Cambodia

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