We first heard about Otres Beach from a guy we’d met earlier on in our Cambodia trip and decided to do some research on it to see if it was worth visiting. We’d read that Serendipity beach, in Sihanoukville, could be quite dirty and not a very nice place to relax, so after reading up about Otres it seemed right up our street. What we read promised long stretches of deserted beach and a child out vibe. As we would find out, this was pretty much bang on.
Having spent just the one day and night in Phnom Penh we boarded the bus to Otres, which turned out to be just one straight road, where locals would just hop on and off randomly every so often. 6 hours later we’d arrived in Otres Village! Arriving late at night at the ‘Orange House’ meant we actually didn’t get to see that much on our first night. It turned out that the beach is that underdeveloped that we couldn’t even find it as it wasn’t lit up. But the next morning we were up early ready to go and explore!
Otres beach is about a 3km long stretch, home to Otres 1 and 2, with Otres Village the mid way point between the two. Both 1 and 2 are tiny villages and have cool little places to stay on and off the beach, mainly accompanied by many backpackers. However, this stretch of coast line is primed for development with rumoured Chinese investors vying to build tens of resorts. We both feel lucky to have managed to experience this place before it eventually gets spoilt. In between Otres 1 and 2 is the most relaxing, quiet, clean beach with clear blue seas,think a bath tub and you’ll be close! Even the more touristy spots are still so chilled out compared to any other beach we’d been to previously. It was just what we were hoping for, ready for a few days chilling!
One of the places we stayed in was ‘Mushroom Point’ which was a little bamboo hut based on the beach, about 10m from the sea. Sleeping on a sunken bed in the floor, there was enough space to put our bags and change. It was probably one of the more quirky places we’ve stayed in! We were unfortunate to find out that our ‘perfect’ beach hut was not the most waterproof structure as it proceeded to torrential rain for half an hour! Within minutes water started pouring through the thatched roof, so we quickly put our rain covers on our bags and sat there like drowned rats hoping everything wouldn’t get too wet. Thankfully, our lighting fast reactions meant we only had couple of pairs of soggy under crackers to contend with (nothing we hadn’t experienced before).
There are quite a few islands based around Otres & Sihanoukville, which many people go to stay on for a few nights (or weeks!) But we decided to just do a boat trip for a day instead and visit one of the islands, Koh Ta Kiev. The boat trip was particularly focused on snorkelling, stopping off at various different parts of the sea, which Tom was pretty excited about as he loves being underwater with the fish. I, however, am pretty much the opposite. But I was still looking forward to our trip! There was about 8 of us on the boat and as we got to our first stop, the guide asked if any of us would like a life jacket. I considered it, (although Tom kept saying I should take one) I decided for some reason I’d be fine doing three things I’m not too keen on at the same time; being out in the middle of the big blue sea, swimming and going underwater. We all got our goggles and snorkles on and off we went and jumped in. As soon as I hit the water everything just seemed 10x harder than I’d thought! Trying to keep afloat, attempting to breathe through my snorkel and keeping calm just wasn’t happening. I was basically just having a mini panic attack in the middle of the sea! Luckily, Tom was there to hold me up while I composed myself (Hero) which is when I realised a life jacket might not have been such a bad idea. So after all that mini drama, we had absolutely amazing day, diving down and discovering the abundant sea life and coral. All of the men even ended up with bright red backs from floating around all day, maybe the life jackets weren’t such a bad idea!
Tom said it was the best snorkelling experience he has had! With there being so much to see, he was just in a world of his own swimming, pretending he was Scuba Steve with all the fish and dodging the numerous sea urchins that seemed to litter the floor.
Back on dry land, and in Otres 1, we found the best Mango and Banana shakes that we discovered were so good due to the copious amounts of condensed milk that they were laced with. We also spent each evening enjoying the delights of 50 cent beers, eating some really good food, watching the sunset go down at the numerous beach bars.
We tried some really tasty squid, which a woman just cooked on her portable BBQ on the beach! All in all, we wish we’d have spent longer here and could have happily whittled another week or so soaking up the rays enjoying a a beer or two. Next time…