On Cambodia’s southwest coast, it only takes $5 and a one-hour boat ride to go from crowded beaches and noisy peddlers to paradise. On the island of Koh Russei — named for the bamboo that fills its shores — the only beach mates you’ll find are harmless cows. The barkeeps are happy to hand over chairs and snorkel gear, as long as you buy one drink.
After a lunch of grilled barracuda or curry, ask your waiter about the trail that extends from the north beach to the southwest part of the island, where choppier surf laps on smoother sand. Hang a right when you hit the beach and wander along the shoreline awash with sun-bleached coral remains and rocky outcrops with stellar views. Don’t be surprised if your desire to stay grows faster than the bamboo.