Would you kayak in a bay that lights up as you paddle? Koh Rong, the second largest island in Cambodia is Southeast Asia's new party central, but it's also home to one of the world’s more well-known bioluminescent bays, a phenomenon created by sea organisms such as plankton and jellyfish that light up when the water is disturbed. Located in the Sihanoukville province off the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Rong is a rising destination to watch. Night boat tours take visitors out for paddling in the bay, but it’s not advisable to swim—the sea creatures bite. Why bother with that anyway, when you'll find gliding about the water quite mesmerising. Motion “activates” a compound known as luciferin in the sea creatures, causing them to glow, creating watery, ethereal lights in the night.
Another reason for Koh Rong’s rising popularity is its growing reputation as a Southeast Asian party haven. Beach raves around Koh Tuch village draw the crowd, who can hop onto ferries, longtails and even helicopter from Sihanoukville Port. It’s just one of many indicators of the island’s staying power—luxury resort chains like Alila and Six Senses are set to open by the end of this year, setting the stage for Koh Rong to give its Thai equivalents a run for their money.
Agoda's latest Travel Smart survey based on booking traffic on the travel reservation site indicates an increasing popularity of lesser-known destinations with potential for new experiences for travellers. Niseko in Japan caps the list as a highly sought-after ski destination, followed by many islands in Southeast Asia. Get to know about these places while you still can.