There are several beaches to choose from when visiting Sihanoukville: Occheuteal Beach, Serendipity Beach, Otres Beach, Sokha Beach, Independence Beach, and Victory Beach, plus many stunning and still unspoiled islands.
The reason I chose Otres beach was purely because almost every traveler I have met, strongly recommended me to go there as it was far less developed and commercial and known for its long stretch of clean white sands. Barring one of my backpacker friends François who told me to go to Victory beach! Being my usual trusting self, I took his advice and actually went to the recommended Victory beach, Jeepers! I spent the whole twenty four hours, cursing my dear friend for sending me to such a yuk place.. It was immediately evident that all the oldies with big fat beer bellies go there to consume as much liquour as possible and find solace in the arms of some pretty and maybe poverty stricken young Cambodian girl.. So not my scene! Specially as I don't drink beer and don't crave for impoverished young MEN!!!
Consequently I hastily left said place and made my way to Otres, where my time on this beautiful beach began....
I was trying to save some money as I had been going crazy the last couple of months so I ended up staying in a very economical and possibly the wackiest hostel ever! The first day when I arrived they offered me a single private room for 6$ which on the currency exchange that is approximately 4.35€ a night. Gee whiz! I almost pay more than that for a coffee in Marbella! As the price was so appealing, without a second thought I checked in and the receptionist, ooops sorry I should say some spaced out young girl led me up the wooden somewhat rickety staircase to my new boudoir. With a rather apologetic half smile she rapidly told me it was very basic! She sure wasn't kidding folks! Well what can I say? It was OKish but jeepers, no windows and very small, did I say small? suffice to say if I had turned round I would have bumped into myself! The illumination was so dim that when I flipped the switch I actually couldn't see any difference, in fact I felt it was better with the light OFF! on the plus side' the walls that separated my place from the other bedrooms only went up three quarters of the way to the ceiling, so if some gorgeous, handsome, and sexy man wanted to climb over and jump into my bed it would be very easy for him.... Dream on dear Backpacker Granny!
That afternoon I spent the time exploring the beach and managed to find a very smart and not overly priced restaurant overlooking the sea where I decided to feed my little face, what's more they kindly included a free sunbed into the bargain. The beach vendors were a little tiresome, but by the same token I tried to take into consideration that they were only trying to earn a crust like any of us. But the multitude of masseurs!!!! Whatever you do. . Don't be tempted as they are UU (utterly useless.) trust me, this little Granny Globetrotter is an addict to good massages and knows at a glance or should I say at a feel..what is "expertise" and what is "haven't got a clue!"
After a very tranquil first day, I decided to have an early night.. what an absurd idea, firstly the music from the hostel's bar downstairs was so loud I thought I was back in my younger days giving it my all at the discos in Spain. Of course only a retard like me would check into a hostel called "Rockstar" How could I expect anything less??? Mind you I have to admit the music was exceptionally good. Now if that had been the only sounds I was forced to endure, all well and good and besides silicone earplugs certainly do help muffle the din .. Sometimes!!! But hang on dear friends, now comes the hard reality of my dreaming about some drop dead "Sex on Legs" hunk from the adjacent sleeping room. There I was in my desperately undersized den, when I started to hear the most disgusting noises .. Oh yes there was definitely a male species in the next door room BUT it wasn't Channing Tatum! The unknown monster next door was belching, burping, farting and groaning, Talk about gross hullabaloo is putting it mildly... Being an rather inquisitive busy body I started mentally to ask myself why he would be emitting all this corporal racket! And why was he groaning? was he ill or what an earth could be the matter with him? As my mind progressed all of a sudden! OMG! the penny dropped! This creature from the deep was shaking hands with his best friend!!! My imagination went into overdrive and you will excuse me if I don't elaborate on the sordid details of the mental visions running through my head! Enough that I tell you all how I immediately started to pray! This was my prayer: "Dear God please don't let that creep come creeping over the wall and try to creep on top of me" For once God listened.
The very next day the staff at the hostel clearly took pity on me and upgraded me to a larger room and yippee it even had a window! Amazing how everything in life is relative and we only appreciate something when we don't have it. So no grunting slob, no Channing Tatum.. Yeah, well that night I discovered I had a family of Scarabs keeping me company! No I did not say "Arabs!" I said "Scarabs!" There was the mother and all her blasted babies! Now I confess, I had no one to blame but myself, because the night before I had foolishly rescued the mother who was stuck to my mosquto net! I guess she thought "oh goodie! thanks to this idiot. I now have a new home for myself and my kids "I kept throwing them out but holy hector, they kept coming back till in the end fearful that I might incur the wrath of Ramses 11 (He was one of the great pharaohs of Egypt and the scarab beetles were worshiped by Ancient Egyptians) I allowed them to stay. Culmination: I has no cranky creepy neighbour, just a host of six legged creepy crawlies! Oh well! Sometimes a girl just can't win!
The following Sunday morning found me sitting in my favourite beachfront restaurant "Friends Forever" I went there most mornings for my breakfast, and while I feasted away on baguette, omelette, mouthwatering fresh fruits and delicious Cambodian coffee, I happily contemplated the Gulf of Thailand's ocean, and watched the continuous stream of vendors carrying their product in enormous baskets balanced upon their heads. Sweeter than honey pineapples, mangos, watermelons and papayas, sumptuous chili covered scampi, sunglasses, bracelets, bangles, beads and so on. Conclusion.. Without straying from your sunbed you may wallow in the delights of a movable feast and deck yourself with the latest accessories in jewelry and eye wear.
I think I have already mentioned in my blog that the Cambodian children are some of the most striking looking children I have every seen. It is a joy to observe the small lively local children in their innocent unabashed nakedness playing freely in the sea, I never fail to smile as I bear witness to the fact that in this part of the globe the sick taboos of the western world do not yet exist.
I stayed for several days delighting in the beautiful beaches before deciding to return to Bangkok for the fun filled fiestas of Songkran the famous water festival that sees the start to the Buddhist New Year.. Which will be the next post on my blog.
Where to stay in Otres.
Mushroom Point:would be my top recommendation for backpackers.. http://www.mushroompoint.com.
I would not recommend Rockstar, unless you are really on a tight budget, the bathrooms and toilets left a lot to be desired and staff did not do very much cleaning. I was there for several days and the only person who cleaned my room was ME!
Friends forever: is a great place situated directly on the beach and is perfect for a delicious breakfast. The staff are incredibly friendly and cannot do enough to please.
Moorea Beach Bungalows: wonderful eating and excellent service. Also graces the beach.
Papa Pippo: Delicious Italian food if you are tired of Cambodian cuisine.
More info of interest.
There are more than a dozen islands off the coast of Sihanoukville for tourists to hop around. Only some of them have been so far developed for overnight stays. Many guesthouses, travel agencies and restaurants on Ochheuteal and Serendipity beaches offer trips and packages to some of these islands.
- Koh Russei: Also known as the Bamboo Island. This medium sized island is located a few kilometers out from Otres Beach or Ream. There is a small navy base and some beach bungalows.
- Koh Rong: It is situated west of the Sihanoukville coast. It offers a fantastic strand of beach on its southwest, stretching about 5 kilometres (3 mi). It has fresh water resources on the island and a bustling fishing community on the southeast with basic supplies including fresh water, fish and crab.
- Koh Rong Samlon: It is a bit smaller than Koh Rong and situated on its south. Beautiful beaches are on the east coast, where a large heart-shaped bay with some shellfish cultivation is located, and on the north shoreline facing Koh Rong. The marine life around Koh Rong Samloem is very diverse and offers some amazing diving.
- Koh Tang: It is located quite far from the main shoreline of Sihanoukville. Going there requires trippers to stay overnight on board. It offers interesting diving spots most of which are not frequently explored. The island is home to a military outpost and travelers should expect to be boarded by military personnel when out at the island.
- Koh Ta Kiev: Check out my blog for more info
- Koh Pos: Also known as Morakot Island or Snake Island. This island is 800 metres (2,625 ft) off of Victory Beach. It is under development by Russian investors to become a luxury holiday destination.It was linked to the mainland with a bridge in July 2011. The bridge is not currently open for traffic.
- Koh Dek Koul: This small private island is 7 kilometres (4 mi) off from Victory Beach. The luxurious Russian owned Mirax Resort is located on this island.