reviewer's rating ★★★★★
In Short The rooms were amazing and the island was so beautiful. It is totally off the beaten path and we really felt like we were doing something different, we didn't know anyone who had been there and still don't.
To elaborate So much to say! South East Asia is one of my favorite places in the world, and I traveled there a lot in my 20s with friends. My husband had never been, and I really wanted to experience it together, but also go somewhere that I hadn't been. I had been to Cambodia before, but never Song Saa (or that part of Cambodia). We had tossed around the idea of going to the Maldives or the Seychelles, but with layovers it was going to take 30+ hours to get there. Also, because my husband hadn't traveled much, I wanted somewhere with a little culture too and Song Saa was perfect because we could go to Siem Reap before and go to Ankor Wat.
We started the honeymoon off in Koh Samui at the Four Seasons. I had been to Thailand before, but had only done it staying in $10 a night shacks on the beach, so it was fun to "do it up" and it was also a great way to start the honeymoon. It was very "easy" there. I mention this because it wasn't that way at Song Saa, which I will get into. From Thailand we went to Siem Reap for two nights and then flew down to Sihanoukville to catch the boat to Song Saa.
Song Saa is not easy to get to. There is only one flight a day from Siem Reap and the flight basically leaves whenever it wants to. They often wait for the plane to fill up and so it is delayed. In our case, it was delayed and then we had to flight at night, in a storm, on a plane with propellers (not fun). When we arrived to get the boat to Song Saa, it was dark out and thunder and lightning all over the place. It didn't feel safe to get on the boat but they assured us that it was fine and that they had GPS. We were the only people on the boat other than three young Cambodian guys who worked for Song Saa. It's about a 45min boat ride and it was SO scary and the waters were very rough. When we were halfway there our engine went out and we had on life jackets and thought that we were going to have to jump ship. They wanted to turn back, but they had second engine, so we kept going. We made it to Song Saa in one piece and it was almost magical when we arrived-- it wasn't raining and there were tiki torches everywhere and we were greeted by the GM, Karen, who has only been working there a week and said that was the worst storm they'd had in 8 months.
The rooms were amazing and the island was so beautiful. It's more "rustic" and doesn't run as smoothly as a place like the Four Seasons, or the Aman, but that is one reason why we chose it. It is totally off the beaten path and we really felt like we were doing something different, we didn't know anyone who had been there and still don't. They set up dinner in different places around the island, which is kind of fun. We went at the start of the "off season" (May) so it was a little deserted and felt kind of empty. The people working there are so friendly. They employ people from the surrounding areas which is really great, but the level of professionalism isn't always the highest. For example, we tipped one waiter on top of the 10% that is already built into the bill and the guy literally freaked out and was dancing around because to him it was a lot of money (it was $20 I think), but this guy had just started working as a waiter there and was so excited. It was endearing but obviously not something you would normally see at a "luxury resort." That was part of what we loved about this place though-- it didn't feel too polished and it has a very laid back feel. I only mention this because some of the reviews people are saying that it isn't "5-star" caliber, and I think it is in every other sense.
We also loved that they have a foundation set up to help a neighboring village on Koh Rong island. We took a tour of this village and heard about everything that they are doing. I would advise people not to do the tour until the day before you leave because you basically go from this gorgeous island to seeing people living in really dirty/hard/poor conditions and you can see that island from Song Saa. Once we knew what was just 15 mins away (by boat) it felt hard to be in such a luxurious place, looking back at that island and knowing that we had just seen kids eating styrofoam and animals with big sores on them. On the other hand, it's pretty amazing what the Song Saa foundation is doing for the local people, so that felt good. Kind of heavy stuff for a honeymoon.
The food was really good and there is a lot to do on the island but you are very isolated and I wouldn't spend more than 4-5 days there unless you really like to be remote. Overall, I would totally recommend it to couples who want to do something different and are up for a bit of an adventure. It is really unbelievably gorgeous and the nearby area is not built up or touristy at all.
Wedding date May 2016
Review by Sara S.