Holiday in Koh Russei
If you are looking for an island getaway without having to travel too far from the mainland shore, Koh Russei is the place to be, just a little over an hour away by boat ride from Sihanoukville.
In the local Khmer dialect, “Russei” means bamboo, which is also why most foreigners call the place Bamboo Island. In its glory days, Koh Russei was an island paradise, replete with fine grains of sands in that distinct shade of gold. Nowadays, the influx of tourists has left its mark but the place is still worthwhile to visit.
At first glance, Koh Russei’s beachfront is dotted by numerous fishermen boats and remnants of old, Russian guns. The reason for the latter was that this island was a former navy base turned into a tourist destination. In 2011, however, after several developers purchased the island from the government of Cambodia, the bungalows erected and owned by local businesses on the island were demolished which reverted the place back into the secluded island it once was.
And it is that particular and often hard to find serenity and tranquillity, missing in Sihanoukville, which makes Koh Russei worth the travel. You can reach this island on the boat tours going to the three islands of Koh Russei, Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Charaluh. The tour includes an introduction to snorkelling and a sumptuous lunch of the common seafood in the area. Note, however, that these tours are still in the process of developing their services so expect a few glitches once in a while as to their safety and quality of service. Safest way to go is to observe conservation principles when visiting (i.e., leave nothing behind and take nothing with you).
You will be let off on the island on the side nearest to the mainland. The resort ideal for watching the sun set is called Ko Ru Resort, the sunniest and the most secluded of them all. The beaches can all be seen by a 10-minute walk through a path crisscrossing across the island’s dense forest where you’ll get lost in the midst of the noisy sounds of cicadas.
Sounds like your cup of tea? The beaches of Koh Russei, just a stone’s throw away, is the perfect place to be to get some much needed rest and relaxation.