Besides boasting a famous name and beautiful white sand beaches there are many wonders of natural beauty hidden in the islands near the coastal town of Sihanoukville.
One such island is Koh Russei (Bamboo Island), where picturesque beaches and the fresh sea air soothes tourists souls, sends them into a state of relaxation and melts their cares away.
The presence of visitors has created business opportunities for the local people. There are currently two accomodations available: Bimbamboo Bungalows ($10/night) and Koh Ru Bungalows, both set right on the beach.
The one and a half hour trip to Koh Russei from Ochheuteal Beach only costs $20 per round trip for groups of one to three guests. Groups of four or more pay only $6 per person.
“In the future, I plan to run visitors to Koh Russei three times per day, and I hope to lower the costs. We will continue to improve our service and comfort in order to attract more tourists to the region. We also have plans to enlarge our guesthouse.”
Captain Phoan also takes tourists to the islands around Sihanoukville. “At least two or three foreign clients per week hire my boat to transport them to Koh Russei. Many of the islands near Sihanoukville have beautiful sand beaches. Each has its own unique personality and beauty.”
Sihanoukville Tourism Department Director Mr. Teng Huy said, “Many tourists already know about Sihanoukville, and they praise its natural sand beaches.
But they are unaware that we have many islands which are hiding out in the sea. These fantastic islands are waiting to welcome them. I strongly believe they will be overwhelmed by their natural beauty.”
Royal Navy sailor, Sin Prin is stationed at the Koh Russei base. “We have only recently allowed tourists to come to Koh Russei. In the past only government soldiers received permission to catch fish and take holidays here because of the Kompong Som Navy base. Now we have opened the island up so that all types of people can have an opportunity to spend their holidays here.”
“The most beautiful beach on the island is a secluded 600 meter long stretch of pure white sand. It features two smooth natural stairs which lead down to the water. Sea waves break on the coast, and combine with the song of birds in the nearby trees to form a relaxing symphony.”
Natural Beauty on Koh Russei
Mr. Prak Thorn, a senior naval officer, stationed at Koh Russei base said, “I feel very happy to welcome tourists who wish to visit the island’s interior or its lovely beaches.”
“I want to see multicolored tourist bungalows here, instead of the drab olive color of the military camps of the past. We want to convert our navy base into a site for tourists. We also want to teach the armed forces based here to become tour guides.” said Prak Thorn.
“I believe the beautiful nature and picturesque coastline on this island can attract tourists and fulfill their wishes and needs.”
The tourists who do venture out to the island do so to see its beauty.
Mr. Jam Kelly, a tourist from the UK said, “I like the environment here. The beach is clean, the sand is white, and there is no noise. It is possible to go camping here, which is fun and relaxing for tourists. I believe that if the natural beauty remains protected, this location has great tourist potential.”