Koh Russey beach

Koh Russey

Koh Russey, also known as Bamboo Island, is so small that you can cross it in under ten minutes, and so idyllic that it feels like a cliché brought to life.

Did you know that fifteen minutes on a speedboat is all it takes to whisk you from the booming deep-sea port of Sihanoukville to paradise? Well, perhaps not paradise, but something pretty close.

Koh Russey, whose name means Bamboo Island in Khmer, is one of those jungle-covered island gems about which it’s almost impossible to write without resorting to cliché. The island was largely undeveloped until recently, but its sugary sands and tropical climate were never going to stay undiscovered forever, and it’s now home to the luxurious Koh Russey Villas Resort, whose slate-and-glass buildings sit artfully concealed behind a natural screen coconut palms and filao trees, preserving the unspoilt feel of the coastline.

This is one of our favourite places to escape and unwind after temple-scrambling in Siem Reap, and the resort’s cutting-edge contemporary design makes for a striking contrast against the tangled backdrop of the jungle. A stay here is all about slowing the pace, and there are plenty of low-octane pursuits to choose from — including a beach cinema, mangrove boat tours, and Khmer cookery demonstrations. If you’ve got the energy, you can always intersperse a bit of beach-lounging and cocktail-drinking with some stand-up paddle boarding and snorkelling, but we won’t blame you if you don’t. Whatever you do, we’re pretty sure you’ll wish you were here for twice as long.

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