On the beach in Cambodia: Bamboo Island

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Bamboo Island

Though I didn’t 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. There’s something special about losing oneself on the beach. And that’s exactly what I did on Bamboo Island (Ko Russei), just off the coast of Sihanoukville here in Cambodia.

Seeing as how there was just one guesthouse—the only place to sleep, eat and drink on Bamboo island—the place felt extremely isolated. Power is only on from sunset to about 11pm, maybe midnight. The only internet is one of those USB stick modems that you can rent by the half-hour from the guesthouse. Food is only served in the morning and early afternoon, and for two hours in the evening. The menu was fairly extensive—with western & local dishes—and the prices aren’t that bad, but still. Your options are always limited when on an island an hour off the coast.

But I loved it!

I liked the sound of Bamboo Island (in Cambodian: Koh Russei) from the very beginning. Word of a dorm on the beach was immediately appealing. Just $3? That’s nearly unheard of in Southeast Asia. In India, you could sometimes get an entire beach hut with a bathroom for that price. I don’t really think Cambodia is known for their beaches, but compared to the very few I saw in Thailand, Cambodia wins. Quite possibly even coming ahead of the beaches in India. (Sorry Gokarna, the day had to come at some point.)

My island life, as it turns out, is pretty awesome. Somehow I manage to wake up around 8am, something I’m 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.

I spent so much time on Bamboo Island, on this beautiful Cambodia beach, just thinking. It helped that I was crossing a milestone on my trip, making me wonder about so much, but I’ve also been busy for a while now and haven’t stopped to just think. So I spent my days thinking…and putting my thoughts into my Moleskine. The pages just kept filling up, my mind a mess. I may be nearer a few realizations about where and what my future might entail, but I’m still miles away. My feet in the sand.

Blogs published by Adam Groffman • Please note some posts do make me some money, but I never sacrifice my integrity in exchange for a favorable review. Read the full disclosure policy.

17 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Make the hop over to Koh Rong … blinding white sand, hardly any people on it, and beaches that go for miles and miles! :)

    • Yeah, I was on Monkey Island (Koh Rong) for a few hours but I didn’t think it was possible to stay on the island… Bamboo was peaceful and quiet….but also a lot of fun.

  2. Looks absolutely stunning. Lovely post, wish I could go there some day.

    • Thanks Arti! I definitely recommend visiting Cambodia. It’s a beautiful country.

  3. This sounds amazing, exactly where I would love to be right now. Sometimes it’s good to stop for a while and sort your head out.

    • Cambodia was one of those places for me— a place to sort my head out!

  4. Beautifully written, wow. We’re definitely going to have to make it over there, now that we’re staying in Phnom Penh for a while. (Campfires! Jealous. And I definitely think Cambodia can give Thailand’s beaches a run for their money.)

    • Hey Evi! I hope you made it to Bamboo Island. Truly spectacular.

  5.  sweet as! 

  6.  I regret not checking this out when I was in Cambodia. Looks beautiful.

  7. This was what I was looking for in Cambodia! So hard to find a beach as I’m also a fan of the water, sand and sun. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  8.  Bamboo Island sounds like a dream. How long did you end up staying for?

    • I only was there 3 nights… could have easily stayed 3 weeks.

  9. That beach looks okay I suppose, if you like that kind of thing ;)

  10. If I didn’t love my job, I might be off in a corner crying somewhere after reading your daily itinerary. Can’t beat that!

  11. Looks really pretty

  12. Lovely! I definitely though the beach on bamboo island was the most beautiful I’ve seen all trip (and way better than the crowded beaches of Thailand). I didn’t get to spend a night there but I definitely want to return someday.

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