Koh RusseiEarth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Cambodia : Cardamom and Elephant Mountains : Sihanoukville : Koh Russei
Koh Russei (Bamboo Island) is a small island about 10km off the coast of Sihanoukville.
Koh Russei(េកាះឫស្សី), also named Koh Russey or Bamboo Island is a green, gilt-edged crescent, resting on emerald or blue water. This is the island one always longed for, the archetype from your wildest dreams. 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. Its virgin, private and intimate characteristics make it a site for high-end development, and positively compare with the world's most exclusive sites.
Bamboo Island(េកាះឫស្សី) - can be reached by private boat for US$5, at the Sunset Cafe on Occidental Beach, ask the owner the night before you want to go, or from the beach near Ream National Park (about 20km east of Sihanoukville).
As of September 2015 it was impossible to reach Koh Russei, as the island has apparently been entirely sold for development.
The Beach at Bamboo Island is a great place for finding shells. The water stays shallow for a long ways out in some areas of the beach. Otherwise though the sand is very coarse and you may want to bring some kind of shoes to protect your feet.
There are no banks or ATMs so make sure you take enough money.
On the island there are 2 sets of huts on either side of the island, both with bar/restaurant and offering 10 basic huts each for US$10-15 per night (early 2008 prices). Bookings though Koh Ru booking office or Coasters Guest houses in Sihanoukville. This pure unspoilt tropical island experience is a wonderful place to relax. Prices on the island tend to be about 50% above the average Sihanoukville level
There are only four choices for temporary accommodations on Koh Russei.
All four are very basic bungalows and do not provide current water or electricity all day long. Shower is made with buckets and toilets also are shared.
All those bungalows are built on lands that do not belong to the exploitants of the bungalows and should therefore be moved in a recent future.
Nevretheless, here is what you can find on the island:
- Kenny's Bungalows - Kenny's has 2 nice new bungalows and a good restaurant. The operation is looked after by Kenny who is a Cambodian American who has returned to Cambodia after leaving in the late 70's. Kenny is a friendly host and will make sure that your stay is fantastic. The beach in front is large and there is a volleyball net where local kids, navy personnel, and tourists play during the day. Kenny's had his Grand Opening in early December 2007.
- BimBamBoo - BimBamBoo has been around for a couple of years. However, it was just purchased by a friendly Brit named Dariush on December 7, 2007. There are 16 bungalows crowded together on the beach. Eight of the bungalows are set right on the beach facing the water and have average views. The other 8 are set a few paces behind the first and are equally nice. All rooms have mosquito nets and attached bathrooms. There is a bar with a large wooden deck over the sand covered with bean bags. They do a BBQ on the beach every night often cooking up the fish they catch on the sunset fishing cruise. Dariush is a great host and will certainly make sure that you have a great stay on Bamboo Island.
- Coasters - Coasters is owned by the same foreign trio that own the resort of the same name on Occheteaul Beach. The ten bungalows are ok. The restaurant is ok. The bar is ok. Service is ok.
On the South-West side of the island there is only one place to stay:
- Koh Ru -  The ten bungalows have just been renovated, painted and re-roofed. The Koh Ru side of Bamboo Island has the nicest beach on the island. The bungalows are have a bright and colourful paint job. They are not en-suite but there is a well maintained and clean toilet and shower block a short walk away. The restaurant has good food and is very beautiful. The sunset views are spectacular. The restaurant always has a foreign manager on duty as well as a Khmer one. This place is much quiter than the other side of the island as all of the resorts pack their side with day trippers few of whom bother to make the 15 minute walk to the Koh Ru side. This recently refurbished bungalow resort is quite basic with $10 having a shared bathroom but excellent location right on the sand. The resort has its own private beach with no hawkers or vendors to be seen. The owners are in the process of building a dormitory priced at $3 a bed to make the island more accessible to budget travelers. You can book $10 return boat transfers from the Koh Ru booking office two doors away from the Boom Boom Room shop on Serendipity Beach Road.