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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Koh Ampil’s Paradise: Discover Full Moon Resort!

Full Moon Island ResortThis was my first visit to Cambodia in almost a decade, and we wanted to explore its coastal region.

I was introduced to the Full Moon Island Resort on Koh Ampil by its owner last year at the SEAHIS (South East Asia Hotel Investors’ Summit) in Bangkok. During the conference, we chatted over lunch and explored ways how we could help. I connected him with a few contacts. Now, I count him among my friends. Mr Lay Prohas, the former Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, is a kindly soul and a gentleman. With an easy, smiling, charismatic charm, he speaks intelligently and from the heart. A family man and his wife are preparing the all-villa resort to open in September, featuring their beautiful Khmer-inspired villas. Many are over-water or in lush jungle gardens adjacent to the shoreline. Plans are well advanced in this soft opening phase.

The resort’s use of natural materials provides luxurious, sustainable accommodations. The water, for instance, is drawn from deep underground—pure, safe, and with a high mineral content, it could quite easily be bottled.

The resort is located on Koh Ampil, part of a small group of Cambodian islands privately owned by Prohas’s family. Located approximately midway between Trat in southern Thailand and Phú Quôc in Vietnam, the islands reminded me of the Maldives, with turquoise blue seas, white sand beaches, abundant palm trees, and nature.

We opted to fly from Bangkok to Phnom Penh with Bangkok Airways, a one-hour flight. The resort team picked us up at the airport and transported us to the island by comfortable car, followed by a 10-minute boat ride in the resort’s speedboat.

We bought a Cambodia Smart SIM card at the airport—it was valid for seven days and had 15GB for just seven dollars US.

Island life on Full Moon Island Resort, Koh Ampil.

With the SIM installed, I could follow our route on Google Maps on my phone. It was a journey southward of 240km on primarily good motorways/highways. The trip, with natural breaks and a coffee shop, lasted under 3 hours. It flew by—my attention and nose glued to the window as a fascinating movie kaleidoscope of country life passed across my ‘screen’.

The resort is nestled amidst the blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand and Koh Ampil, where time seems to have stood still.

Nature’s beauty was on show everywhere.

At the heart of this white-sand island paradise sits the Full Moon Island Resort, a peaceful and serene oasis that beckons travellers seeking respite from the chaos of everyday life.

Cambodia 

  • Official Name: Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Local Time: UTC +7
  • Country Calling Code: +855
  • Capital City: Phnom Penh
  • Other Major Cities: Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang, Poipet, Kampot
  • Government: Constitutional Monarchy; the Royal Cambodian Government (RCG), formed based on elections, internationally recognized as free and fair, was established on 24 September 1993.
  • Population: 16.7 million (2022)
  • Area: 181,035 km² (69,900 sq. mi.)
  • Climate: Rain falls from May to October and is dry from November to April. December and January are the most incredible, and April is the hottest.
  • Religions: Buddhism 95% (official); Islam, Christianity, animism, atheism.
  • Languages: Khmer (official); English, French and Mandarin are popular second languages.
  • Currency: Cambodian Riel (KHR)

We arrived in time for lunch, but first, the hotel offered their famous gin and tonic welcome drink, perfectly served in a heavy-cut crystal tumbler packed with ice and a slice. First class! It was a good start.

After a delicious lunch of Prawn Caesar Salad, Asian Seafood Noodles and another G&T at La Luna Restaurant, we retired to unpack and relax in our over-the-water villa, the “Saturn” situated opposite the Resort’s Full Moon Spa and swimming pool.

The villa was huge, located right on the water’s edge with its spacious verandah, sunbeds and patio furniture. Our three-night stay was not going to be enough – it was too short!

The resort’s Khmer wooden architecture is exceptional. The villa and all the buildings have impressive timbers. They look solid, and some are of great age. Towering high, the local hardwoods reach the full height of the buildings, supporting their traditional high ceilings and roofs.

The bathroom and bathtub face out to sea, and you can open all the picture windows and doors. Relax and soak under the moon and stars, with cool breezes and in complete privacy—a perfect romantic retreat.

At dusk, as the sun dips below the horizon, it casts a golden hue over the tranquil waters. We were prepared and headed for La Luna’s outdoor lounge, ready to toast the stunning sunset—a splendid tradition we recommend performing in the resort each evening!

The Full Moon Resort Story

Full Moon Island Resort’s inception is a tale of good fortune and vision. During an impromptu stay on a secluded island, Mr Lay Prohas and his wife, Pen Vokhanith, were captivated by the night illuminated by the full moon’s glow. This moment of wonder catalysed the creation of a unique retreat.

Resting within a trio of islands, the resort blends untouched natural beauty and refined architectural elegance.

The name “Full Moon Island” was chosen from the romantic setting. The islands are planned to be a legacy for their four children.

Island Life

We went to explore. First, we stopped at the pool, then strolled along the island’s coastline, where white-powder sands meet crystal clear waters teeming with marine life at the Blue Moon Beach Bar. It is a lovely space; we gravitated here throughout our short stay. As the day transitioned into night, we generally returned to our villa, showered and changed, prepared for sunset cocktails at La Luna’s outdoor lounge, and later had dinner there. Glorious!

Everything you need to chill including two large swings roped under the trees that gently rock in the sea breezes.

Stress-Free.

On our second day, we awoke to the gentle sounds of water lapping against the coastline, the rustling of palm leaves and the chirping of tropical birds. After breakfast, we embarked on a beach day adventure. Swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and jungle walks were all options open to us, including fishing and boat excursions. After a hectic few weeks, we opted to chill. A book, a swim and a lazy snooze under an umbrella.

The Blue Moon, Beach Bar beach, has everything you need to chill, including two large swings roped under the trees that gently rock in the sea breezes. Fitted with a soft mattress and large oversized pillows, I plopped myself down and gently rocked. My favourite Spotify tunes are on my ear pods. It was selfishly resplendent. I just let the feeling of euphoria wash over me, happy and stress-free, as I sank into that mattress, swaying in the breeze. I was utterly relaxed. To my left was a perfect beach – white and gorgeous, the sea a beautiful turquoise graduating to a deep blue hue. Above palm trees and orchids. To the right is a beach bar and the sounds of the island. Natural sounds – waves, wind and rustling palms. The abundant bird life inspects every branch, and hardly a soul is around. It was heavenly. I lay there thinking this is it! Perfection! A spiritual awakening! A kind of epiphany, I was thankful for life. My thoughts turned to how lucky I was and GRATEFUL! It truly delighted all my senses and nourished my soul. It was a blessed moment. Carpe Diem!

For those seeking a deeper connection with nature, guided nature walks at the resort offers the opportunity to discover the island’s rich biodiversity, from exotic flora to rare bird species, whilst soaking in the warmth of the tropical sun and panoramic ocean views.

With the stresses of daily life a distant memory, I indulged in a day of pure relaxation and reflection.

The resort’s luxurious spa is slated to open in a few short weeks, and it will draw inspiration from ancient Khmer healing traditions. The spa will offer a range of holistic treatments designed to nourish the body, mind, and spirit, from traditional Khmer massages to invigorating body scrubs infused with indigenous herbs and spices. Each treatment will be tailored to address the individual needs of the guest.

Also on offer, guests can gather for a sunset yoga session on the beach, harmonising their breathing with the rhythm of the ocean waves, finding their inner peace and balance amidst nature.

Regrettably, the final day dawns on Koh Ampil, and after breakfast, we bid farewell to the Full Moon Island Resort.

We had lots of memory-making moments. Where we reconnect with nature, creating memories to last a lifetime.

We boarded the speedboat back to the mainland with a newfound sense of peace and tranquillity. We had found our slice of paradise, our mini Maldives, right on our doorstep. The Full Moon Island Resort offers a sanctuary of serenity and tranquillity in a world filled with chaos and uncertainty. We certainly hope to return!

For those seeking an unforgettable escape from the ordinary, Koh Ampil beckons with open arms!

About Full Moon Island Resort

Full Moon Island Resort is the flagship venture of Full Moon Island Co., Ltd., situated in the serene Kiri Sakor district of Koh Kong Province, Cambodia and endorsed by the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Founded in 2008, the resort encompasses three pristine islands, each offering its unique slice of paradise.

For further details and reservations, https://www.fullmoonisland.com.kh.

 

 

 

Written by: Andrew Wood

 

 

 

 

 

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