By the time we reached Sihanoukville we were definitely ready for some beach action, and we are glad that we chose to stay on Otres beach. I had visited Serendipity beach (over the headland) 5 years previous, however I read that it had become overcrowded and polluted, so we decided on Otres beach instead.
As we pulled into Otres beach on our moto it was evident how undeveloped it is compared to its neighbour Occheuteal – the road is still a mixture of sand and stone, and it doesn’t attract the same number of tourists, although guesthouses and restaurants are being constructed at a rapid pace.
On our first morning we took a stroll along the beach and over the headland to Occheuteal / Serendipity beach and I was shocked how much it had changed over the last 5 years, the gravel road down to Serendipity was now tarmacked and lined with shops and restaurants, the guesthouse we stayed in is now surrounded by 4 others, and a pier has even been built a short distance from where we used to sunbathe.
Occheuteal and Serendipity were both rather sleepy 5 years ago, but they have now turned into a party person’s paradise, full of amazing drink specials designed to keep you up till the early hours of the morning and wake up next to someone you would rather forget. We bumped into a sunset ‘booze cruise’ whilst we were snorkelling, and though perhaps if you’re an 18 year old it may be fun, but to us it resembled more of a zoo. Must be showing our age.
If you are interested, it runs from the pier at Occheuteal every evening departing at around 3pm.
If Occheuteal is a party persons paradise then Otres is definitely a stoners heaven, you don’t have to walk far before you sniff the smell of marijuana drifting past your nose. Of course there is no need to partake, and we were quite happy sat on the beach with a glass of Angkor.
Otres is really more of a couples beach or people with friends that are content with chilling on the beach during the day and hitting the hay early. If you are a solo traveller or looking for the party than I would suggest staying over on Occheuteal beach as there is many more people and way more nightlife.
Whilst in Otres we took the ‘3 Islands’ boat tour for $15 per person which includes breakfast, snorkelling, and lunch at Bamboo Island. In hindsight I wouldn’t advise taking this boat tour as the snorkelling is abysmal due to bad visibility, the breakfast and lunch are prison rations and the beach at Bamboo Island isn’t any better than Otres.
However, if you must go on this tour, then take my advice and when you dock at Bamboo Island follow the path to the other side of the island, it is only a 15 minute walk but the beach is cleaner and it is likely to be almost deserted.
South vs North Otres
Otres beach itself is a thin slither of golden sand, lapped by the clear, shallow, warm sea. The north of the beach has the majority of bungalows and restaurants, although in the evenings it is still a quiet affair.
There are also some nice chilled out bungalows at the far south of the beach if you really want to get away from it all.
Food glorious food
A number of restaurants along the beach serve meat and seafood BBQ for $5, all of which are tasty but often fairly miserable in portion size, however there is one stand out option – The Bamboo Shack. They serve the most delicious shrimp BBQ for only $4, and also have smooth, creamy, refreshing shakes.