Otres Beach in Sihanoukville, Cambodia was one of our favourite places in all of Southeast Asia!
Sihanoukville can be one of the towns in Cambodia that divides opinions.
On one hand backpackers love it for its happening party scene and gorgeous beaches. On the other people say to avoid it due to the hawkers, both young and old, that ply the beaches hassling tourists and the supposed presence of the ‘Russian Mafia’.
When we arrived in Sihanoukville we took some wrong turns and ended up at Otres Beach, away from the more infamous Serendipity Beach. We decided to stay at Otres, and are glad we did!
Otres Beach, about 20 minutes from Serendipity, is actually split into two different areas – Otres 1 and Otres 2. Otres Beach One is the more developed of the two, but calling it developed is only due to lack of a better word.
For a couple of hundred metres, cheap thatched and bamboo bungalows front the beachside with the odd higher-end hotel complex breaking up the backpacker’s haunts.
Great cheap restaurants offer typical Khmer food such as amok curry and lok lak as well as fresh seafood dishes and Western fare.
Almost every place has a great view of the Gulf of Thailand, and the white sand beaches that shines in the daylight sun.
While the nightlife at Serendipity is more active, here at Otres Beach it is more about having a few enjoyable beers in any one of the chilled bars.
Happy hours can be found along the beach with cocktails starting around $1 and draft beer as low as 50 cents. To go along with the night theme, when the conditions are right bio-luminescent plankton fill the ocean, allowing you to swim out to the sea and play with the phosphorescence as it glows like fireflies.
A surreal experience! Unlike the crowded and overrun Serendipity, Otres Beach’s hawkers are friendlier and less aggressive. While you will get constant offers of massages, pedicures, manicures, bracelets, sunglasses and food, for the most part a simple smile and “aw-tay aw-kun” (no thank you in Khmer) will be suffice in letting them know you are not interested.
That being said, it would be an absolute shame to not take up these amazing offers from some of the nicest people in all of South East Asia.
Before you get too jaded with being offered a host of items, remember these people are just trying to make a living. Be polite, always smile and keep in mind that for the sake of a few dollars out of your pocket, you can make a big difference to someone’s livelihood.
Think about the bigger picture when you constantly say “no” to them, but are about to go spend all your money in a Western-run bar. Besides, the massages are relaxing and the fresh barbecued squid is delicious!
If you are looking for activities that are a bit more physical over laying in a hammock and drinking beer, at the end of Otres 1 is a company that offers rental equipment such as kayaks, windsurf boards, paddle boards and surf boards.
That’s right, you can go surfing in Cambodia, when the swell is right – usually between May and October.
Some of the other things to keep you busy during the day could be to try your hand at kite surfing, go fishing, or check out what lies beneath surface with scuba diving and snorkelling.
Really, the town of Sihanoukville has a lot going for it!
For those who want real relaxation, consider moving up to the other end of Otres Beach, to number two.
Separated by a long stretch of vacant land, Otres 2 is the new kid on the block when it comes to places to stay in Sihanoukville. Get there quick, however, as there are plans to build five star resorts and hotels on its gorgeous beachfront.
Soon it will look like some of the beaches found in Southern Thailand.
Otres Beach is the perfect place to kickback and unwind in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. Whether you come for a day, a week or a month, staying in this gorgeous part of South East Asia will possibly become one of your favourite places in the entire region.
Just don’t forget to jump on a boat and head to Koh Rong as well – the one place in the country that may be that little bit better…
Where To Stay At Otres Beach
These are the two accommodations we stayed at after scoping out most of the available options. We were ecstatic we ended up at these places and highly recommend them to our readers!
At Otres 1, the place to be is Indigo On Otres. Cheap, but well maintained thatched bungalows provide the perfect accommodation for your time in Sihanoukville.
NOTE: Unfortunately due to development there, Indigo On Otres does not seem to exist anymore. We have suggested some other accommodation below that is still located on Otres 1 Beach.
There is still accommodation on Otres Beach, but not as much as there was when we visited. You will still find funky and happening restaurants/bars with good food, cold beer and chilled tunes.
If you are looking for a budget accommodation, check out the Mushroom Point and Beach. It seem one of the cheapest places to stay and your are right on the beach.
And if you just want to splurge out, check out Sahaa Beach Resort. Rooms are surrounded by beautiful gardens with a pool in the centre. You are right on the beach to jump in for a dip or enjoy those sunsets with a cocktail.
We stumbled across White Sand’s Annex Bungalows because our first choice was full, and this turned out to be the best thing that happened to us at Otres Beach 2!
On the outside these cool, circular bungalows have huge amounts of character, but it is when you step inside that you are truly blown away.
Tiled floors, sealed windows and plastered, painted walls makes you feel like you are staying in a modern hotel room.
The staff are incredibly friendly and the food is pretty good as well. They have big beach chairs to enjoy the view and you can roll straight out of bed and into the warm sea. Luxury on a budget!
A great choice for accommodation that is located between Otres 1 and Otres 2 Beachs, check out Anana’s Beach Bungalows. With the great reviews this sounds like a great place to stay.
Note – Unfortunately it seems as though White Sand’s Annex Bungalows has closed down. But there are still some other great options around Otres 2 that you should check out.