"Not Every Island Fits the Definition and Paradise is Real"
Ko Russei or Bamboo Island is a place worth seeing. The boat ride over was so beautiful that the pictures I took were mostly a disappointment.
The camera couldn't capture the beauty.
Especially when I sat on the front of that small boat, watching the bow of the boat cut through the clear emerald waters with the rat-tat-tat sound of the diesel engines in the background; This gorgeous Island getting bigger as we approached the beach.
The beaches are much better than those on the Mainland of Sihanoukville. It's so calm that it's immediately infectious. No hawkers constantly coming by. 'YOU BUY MY FRUIT'
And the honking horns and motorbikes that swarm the city, filling the air with a nagging noise that you don't even notice until you come out here. It's nice without all that under.
You have to get a boat to Bamboo Island or Ko Russei (Same place). There are probably a lot of options abound and I got the boat that was most well spoken of and established.
When it comes to boats and planes and places where I could die, I go the established route.
The boat leaves every morning from the beach in front of Coaster's Restaurant on Serendipity Beach (Which is part of Ochheuteal beach.)
It departs at 10am UNsharp and returns about 4.30 pm. The journey takes around 45 minutes in average sea conditions.
Especially easy if you are staying at Coaster's Bungalows.
They will wait for you for up to 18 minutes. Only because if they don't get your ticket, then they don't get their money. Everyone will leer at you angrily for the rest of the day, though. Wear your life-jacket right away. Don't ask how I know.
I was told that tickets on the boat and any reservations for the bamboo huts on the beach could only be booked through Coaster's Bungalows in Sihanoukville.
It seems this is both a lie and the truth.
I reserved a Bungalow on the beach and a seat on the boat over to the Island at the reception desk at Coaster's Bungalows. At the reception desk, in fact. It was a very ordinary moment. You can do it at any time between 7 am and 11pm.
I later found a few people who said they had booked at Bar Ru. Ask any driver to take you to the Golden Lion Traffic Circle and you'll find Bar Ru.
I did get a phone number from reception at Bar Ru. It's 012 388 860. I am not 100% sure about booking to Bamboo Island from Bar Ru but you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was just too lazy to research it further. In July of 2007 you shouldn't have to pay more than $6USD for the boat ticket. Cheap but shop around if people start being silly with you and ask $10USD because the boat is new and it has a nuclear powered toilet and...
The water off the sandy beaches is very shallow at first and gets deeper slowly so you hung over people don't hurt yourselves. So it offers something for everyone, including children.
I only saw 2 kids there but they were cool and didn't bother anyone. The beach is large enough so you can always find your own little spot.
Here's a video that gives you a good idea of the beaches. This is on Bamboo Island but I did not take the video. I would have to hire a girl like that to sit through any video I made. But I've been to that beach.
Notice the beach huts in the background where you can overnight for $7USD-$8USD a night.
On each beach you'll find a 'Resort' or rather a grouping of wooden bungalows that are lit at night by a single 60w bulb.
Sitting outside one of those bungalows, under the night's sky, so bright with stars was worth months of working a crap job.
Here's a satellite map of The Island. You can clearly see the two beaches.
Zoom around on the Google map and find whatever you are looking for by using the controls on the top left corner of the image.
Or click on the 'View Larger Image' at the bottom left corner of the image of Bamboo Island to you'll get a full page view of the Satellite Image.
Neither of the beaches has a distinct name of its own. "It's just Bamboo Island Beach", they always said to me, wondering why I was always asking stupid questions.
Bamboo Island Resort is on the beach facing back to the mainland of Sihanoukville.
I didn't go inside but people told me it was owned by a Vietnamese family who also owned a piece of the big 'Three Island Tour' mega tourist cruise.
The three islands visited by the "3 Island Trip" tour is the package tour that EVERY Tour Operator and street vendor will push on you. It is the big one. It sucks. Just my opinion.
Only Bamboo Island is worth seeing out of the three (Ko Ta Kiev, Ko Chraloh, and Ko Russei). I won't say any more because that might be a trip you like. They do take good care of you although the boat WILL sink one day.
I shouldn't say stuff like that.
Ko Ru Resort is on the sunnier side of the island. That's what they tell me but I didn't measure. It sure seemed sunny most of the time.
It is the beach to see the sun go down though. The red and orange colors of the setting sun are worth seeing.
Bar Ru Guesthouse in Sihanoukville owns the bungalows on this beach. They are the same as all the bungalows and ran from $15USD-$20USD a night.
The bar has a full menu, offering the usual beach fare: omelets, French fries, curries and soups. Breakfast, including good coffee, is available and can be delivered to your bungalow veranda.
The walk between the two beaches is no more than ten minutes. It's an awesome trail through the jungle and at night it is surreal.
I did it while drunk more than once and it was the best part; the moon shining through the canopy of trees and my dumb ass drunk and free.
It's an excellent place to relax and it's a day trip that I don't regret.
In fact, the next time I go to Sihanoukville, I'll get the next boat going straight over to Bamboo Island (Ko Russei), rent a beach hut and wake in the mornings to the sounds of the waves breaking over the beach.
Question: Anything special I should not forget to bring if I decide to overnight at Bamboo Island?
Answer: insect repellent, coils, soap, sun block, toilet paper, any snacks you fancy, extra liquor if there is a large number of you (the bar could run dry!), a hammock, a bed sheet, and a first aid kit might be a good idea.
Enjoy this photo-show of bamboo Island. Is it raining where you are? Sorry; cheap shot.
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