Not many people know that there are some beautiful beaches in Cambodia. They are much less developed than Thai or Vietnamese beaches. We didn’t like the beaches in Vietnam that much, although there are a lot of tourists, especially Russian. So after 3 months of travelling we were still dreaming of swimming in clean blue water. That’s why we went to the South of Cambodia, to a seashore city called Sihanoukville.
It takes about 4 hours to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. You can buy tickets to a minibus at every hotel, tourist agency or bus company (Giant Ibis is our favorite). Sihanoukville didn’t seem very interesting to us: there is not much except for a huge statue with golden lions (that look pretty crazy), restaurants and bars (that we didn’t like much) and many tourist agencies. We decided not to stay in Sihanoukville — the city lacks a certain charm of some other Cambodian cities that we fell in love with.
The beaches in Sihanoukville and near it (like Serendipity beach) are well developed, and there are a lot of hotels and bars. The beaches that are located further are much quieter. We chose the furthest beach that is considered one of the cleanest and the most beautiful near Sihanoukville — Otres beach. Otres-2, to be exact — Otres-1 (a little more developed) is located at the other end of the beach, closer to Sihanoukville.
After Phnom Penh this place felt like heaven. First of all, there are no big hotels at the beach yet, only guesthouses with bungalows, hostels and small restaurants. Second of all, the sand is white here, and the sea is clean, calm and blue.
And finally, the sunsets there were amazing — the sun goes down right into the sea or behind a small island.
We spent a few hours every evening watching how the sky changed during the sunset.
By the way, when we came back here a month later (you can read about the reason we came back in the end of the post) the sunsets were not that colorful because of some haze. So we were lucky to enjoy this beauty.
Once we swam to this small island on a kayak, it took about 40 minutes. There are some corals around it and a lot of sea urchins.
There are not that many tourists at Otres beach.
There is not much to do at Otres beach, but we are not big fans of night life, so a quiet place with hammocks, bungalows and local dogs was exactly what we wanted.
By the way, you can not only rent a bungalow (for about 10-30 dollars), but also just a bed with a mosquito net under the sky.
We lived in a bungalow, but it didn’t save us from huge lizards. Moreover, some termites were gnawing the logs in our bungalow with terrible noise in the night, so maybe a bed under the stars is not such a bad idea after all.
The beach is covered with small balls of sand — crabs make them while digging holes. Andrei thinks that young crabs are training their claws that way. They make thousands of these balls, and during the night they are destroyed by the sea.
Food is Cambodia is not the tastiest or the cheapest (especially compared to Vietnam), and there isn’t a big choice of good restaurants at Otres. But we liked a few places. A slightly exalted french chef owns one of them. He likes to scold his waitresses, and he even threatened to punish one of them and send her to swim to a nearby island.
The funny thing is that we came to Otres again just a month later — this time with Natasha’s brother, Dima, and our new friends from Germany that we met in Ho Chi Minh. But a story of how we started travelling in a big company deserves a separate post.
We spent 5 days at Otres beach, and then we went to Koh Rong — a picturesque island an hour from Sihanoukville that we will tell about next time.