Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s premier beach location and is a fixture on the South East Asian party trail. The town of Sihanoukville is a dump and the main beach area (Ochheuteal Beach aka Serendipity Beach) closest to town is low quality, seedy and best avoided. This is the beach that draws a steady stream of partying backpackers and sex tourists. However, for savvy beach goers who do their research, there is a great alternative and I have no clue why every traveler just does not head directly to this alternative gem of a beach.
If you want to reach the absolute best stretch of beach in the area just hop on a tuk tuk, head south and you will land on the peninsula’s best beach called Otres II Beach. Otres Beach I is more developed and geared to budget backpackers. I would recommend passing on the Otres I area (but do check out the scene and stop by the very cool Italian beachside eatery called Pappa Pippo’s) and plant yourself on the more laid back Otres II Beach with a community of a bit older travelers. It is about a 20 min. walk from Otres I along the beach. Otres II is the sort of beach area we really love and brought back memories of the old Koh Samui of years past (before the island was built up) with its small town bamboo beach hut vibe. This was the atmosphere at the first resort we stayed at called The Secret Garden Resort. (check out the video below).
We then tried out Tamu Resort for a few days as we heard so many good things about Tamu from fellow travelers. Tamu is the highest end resort in the area and we just loved it even though it had a more modern feel to it. As previously mentioned, Barbie and I are big fans of the old style Southeast Asian wooden/bamboo beachfront bungalows but Tamu was just such a cool place and so comfortable. It is one of the newest developments on Otres II and I can tell you it is just a matter of time before developers sink their teeth into the Otres II Beach area. And once they further develop Otres II, then the natural progression is to head a bit further south on this virgin stretch of beach to Otres III. I can see the writing on the wall as that is the way they roll in Southeast Asia.
As for activities, you have the option to take a longtail boat daytrip or kayak yourself to tiny undeveloped islands offshore but we elected to do the absolute best thing to do on Otres II which is nothing at all……. with a bit of stand up paddleboarding thrown in for some exercise. We really loved Otres II and it was difficult to leave but it is on the radar for a return visit down the road as it was just so peaceful and relaxing.
Many travelers arrive in Sihanoukville after spending some beach time on one of the mainland beaches then head to Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloen, two moderately developed outlying islands that are the area jewels. We are heading to the island of Koh Rong to check it out ourselves and will provide some scoop.
Otres II – 9 (Really enjoyed this beach and so relaxing to hang out on….loved the baby powder sand and ocean that was so calm, just like one massive swimming pool)
LOOSE STOOLS INDEX – 5 (Whewww!! Went from a disturbing 1 up to a 5…..a major relief) Just may get back on the Fish Amok bandwagon when we get to Phnom Penh.
THRU THE BINOCS –
As a result of spending so much time on beaches this trip, we are fortunate to be able to order fresh fish every day. I am taking full advantage and ordered snapper again last night. When I carved open that bad boy, I noticed something that looked like a small intestine embedded in the lower part of the fish. I have never seen this in a fish and I am a big fish guy who indulges regularly. I cut open this intestine looking thingy and saw tiny black stringy stuff inside. Turns out this was a pregnant fish. Kinda grossed me out initially but I manned up a proceeded to down the snapper. I sat there and just wondered why I never had a pregnant fish served to me before in my 51 years?