Karen ran towards a bungalow, I on the other had wisely ran into the ocean knowing that our hunter would not dare go in there. My decision proved to be the right course of action as the beast chased Karen. Luckily for her, the hunter stopped at the steps of the bungalow and did not go any further. There was a French man standing on the verandah of the bungalow. Karen apologised for barging up on him. It turned out that it was not his bungalow either and that he had been hunted too. What strange and exotic creature can this be I hear you ask? A goat. Not some special goat that can only be found in Cambodia but you ordinary run of the mill goat that can be found anywhere. Welcome to Bamboo Island, Cambodia, an island where even the animals have unique personalities.
Bamboo Island (or Koh Russei to give it its official name) is located in the gulf of Thailand, 4.5 km off the coast of Sihanoukville. Some fellow backpackers we met in Siem Reap told us about it. We were in need for a few days of just chilling and reading as we had been travelling non-stop for weeks and we were feeling slightly run down.
We couldn’t have chosen a more perfect place. For 4 days all we did was eat, read, swim, sleep and repeat. Oh and get chased by a demented goat but more on her later. It did feel like we were shipwrecked as there was hardly anybody staying at our bungalows and we had no electricity for the 4 days we were there. It is amazing how quickly you adapt to things when travelling. When we set off on our overland trip to Asia, if you had said to me that I would be cool about having no power for 4 days, cold showers and a bungalow that a 4 yr old could have built better, I would have said you were crazy.
And yet we loved it. Being on an island with no distractions whatsoever is good for the mind and body. When I say no distractions we did have one distraction that Karen and I fought over. In the bar area of our accommodation there was the usual array of leftover books that other travellers had left. As I went through them, one particularly battered book caught my eye. It was called: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.
The book was so battered I had to put each page back in order before I could start reading it. I am so glad I was on island that had no distractions because normally I would have just picked up another book. It was the best book we read on our 18 month journey. The story follows 3 different families in India from the 1950’s up until the 1980’s. Without giving too much away, these families lives intertwine because of the politics of the time. I couldn’t put it down and neither could Karen who was reading it when I was swimming or sleeping! Hence why we kept fighting over it.
We were on Bamboo Island a few years ago now and we have heard that there are big developments taking place. When we were there it was basic to say the least but in a charming way. Thankfully, from what we have heard about the new development they are going about things the right way by building a sustainable hotel and villa complex. We might just have to go back and check it out.
Bamboo Island has daytrippers coming from nearby Sihanoukville. They generally stay for lunch and a swim and then head back to the mainland. Unfortunately, these daytrippers are never warned about our friend the goat, which leads us to our other favourite distraction. On a daily basis we would sit having lunch whilst watching a plethora of people running in all directions being chased by a goat. I can not describe the enjoyment we got from this spectacle. Beach bags would be dropped, screams would be heard, and expletives would be directed. The funny thing about all this is that the goat was super friendly. She would come up to you with her tail wagging and let you stroke her and pet her. Then something would turn in her and she would go back on her hind legs and charge you! That’s when you run, preferably to the ocean.
Have you been to Bamboo Island recently? We would to hear from you to see what changes have occurred.
More images from Bamboo Island, Cambodia