"Though I didnít mention it as one of my goals for my round-the-world trip, being on the beach was deeply embedded in my plans. I love the sun, the sand, the saltwater. Waking up to waves and not wearing shoes. Thereís something special about losing oneself on the beach. And thatís exactly what I did on Bamboo Island (Ko Russei), just off the coast of Sihanoukville here in Cambodia. My island life, as it turns out, is pretty awesome. Somehow I manage to wake up around 8am, something Iím completely incapable of elsewhere. A quick swim, some breakfast, a book, a hammock, eventually lunch, my Moleskine, my thoughts. Life is good. Repeat in the afternoon. Sunset. Dinner, drinks, loud music at night. Stars, phosphorescent algae, a campfire. Life is very good."
Koh Russey is really a jewel of a beach with fine pink or ochre sand and a deep and mysterious forest. For those loving the sun falling
into the sea whilst surrounded by jungle sounds, Koh Russey is the place. An island of gentleness. An island of passion. Its virgin, private and intimate characteristics make it a
site for high-end development, and positively compare with the world's most exclusive sites.
The best time to visit islands is during the monsoon season. Between November and February, northerly winds pick up and can make the group more difficult to navigate.
There are currently five resorts of basic wooden bungalows on Russei. Four are situated on the beach where the boats come in and only one makes use of the terrific and pristine sand of the other. The ten-minute walk between beaches is a
pleasant one; they're connected by a path that traverses the island through a jungle forest filled with deafening cicadas.
There are little things to do on Koh Russei as it is a paradise for relaxing journey to the nature. You can swim all day, read in a hammock in the morning, go on a fishing boat or play volleyball with the fishermen a number of
shirtless sarong-wrapped anglers play during the day. There are bonfires and barbecues by night. The bar and restaurant has a full menu, offering the usual beach fare such as omelettes, French fries, curries and soups.
At Bamboo Island, all bungalows are equipped with fans and mosquito nets. Toilets and cold water showers are shared.
The generator runs when it's dark and goes off about 11pm. Remember to take the following: insect repellent, coils, soap, sun block, toilet paper, any snacks you fancy, extra
liquor if you have a big group, a hammock, a bed sheet, and a first aid kit might be a good idea.
Getting there: Ana's travel agency in Sihanoukville will pick you up from your hotel ($15 for a day of island hopping including Koh Russei) or Coasters boat leaves every morning at 9.30am from Ochheuteal beach in Sihanoukville ($10 return to Koh Russei).
From a Travel Blog:
"Last week, I took my own advice about not wasting time and spent my last few days in Cambodia on Bamboo Island. Iím glad I didóit turned out to be the highlight of my trip, my first glimpse into Khmer (Cambodian) culture. Bamboo Island is an hour off the coast, near the town of Sihanoukville (where Iíve been the last month). Itís a small island that you can cross in 10 minutes and has only two beaches. There isnít a lot of
I spent my days on the beach, did a freestyle poetry night, limboed, and caught up on my Family Guy. After a few stressful months of writing, it was just what I needed to relax. But what I enjoyed most was my night with the Cambodians on the island. I had come to Bamboo with two friends because we knew the manager of the bungalows and he was having a ďbungalow warming partyĒ to celebrate his newly built bungalow. It would be him, the local staff, and us.
After the kitchen staff had served the tourists, they shut down early and we all went over to the new bungalow for food and drinks. I ateóand ate some more. They kept putting food on my plate
and drinks in my hand. Curry dishes were poured onto my plate, filling my mouth with fire, spice, and unknown chicken parts. Savory BBQ fish was passed to me.
There was no filletóI just picked what I wanted off the bones. There were also grilled squid, shrimp, and vegetables. As we ate, I was struck at how different cultures outside the West always seem to eat. Like much of the world, the locals in Cambodia enjoy communal eating. A tarp is put down, dishes are brought out and placed in the middle, and everyone sits crossed legged, eating and grabbing what they want. Thereís no my plate or your plate. Itís a shared communal meal in a society where community is important. I was struck by not just how they ate, but what they ate as well. Like many poor, rural communities Iíve visited, nothing here is wasted. The squid is cooked whole, the shrimp head is eaten, and no part of that chicken goes unused. This isnít unique to Cambodian culture; it happens throughout the world and is in stark contrast to the wastefulness of the West. Everything we eat is super sized and thrown away."