Although undoubtedly still a quieter alternative to Sihanoukville’s other offerings, Otres is becoming increasingly built-up – its first ATM was installed a couple of years ago, and air-conditioned accommodation with swimming pools is almost outnumbering the bamboo huts that line the sand. Boasting a chilled-out vibe, Otres tends to attract the more hippy-inclined traveller than Serendipity or Ochheuteal, which are in Sihanoukville town. The beach, which is clean and lapped by calm, turquoise waters, is edged by shacks selling food and drinks, as well as cheap places to bed down. On the other side of the dirt track sits more upmarket accommodation and even more bars and restaurants. It’s also possible to take boat trips from Otres, as well as other water-based activities, such as sea kayaking.
Koh Rong Samloem
As Cambodia’s largest and most developed island, Koh Rong tends to get all the attention. However, peace and quiet is becoming harder to come by, so travellers are turning to the tranquil shores of neighbouring Koh Rong Samloem. Home to a few shorefront bungalows, the beaches are postcard-perfect, with white-powder sand flanked by palm trees, and shimmering water to swim and snorkel in. The perfect place to escape the rat race, the remote island goes back to basics with most facilities – think electricity running for a few hours at night and limited internet access.
Koh Ta Kiev
If Koh Rong Samloem’s smattering of guesthouses is still too much, then isolated Koh Ta Kiev may be more up your street. Think deserted tropical island paradise, with palms gently wafting in the breeze, desolate beaches interrupted only by battered wooden fishing boats, and crystal-clear waters tempting visitors to swim. There are a handful of shoreside bungalows, mainly along Long Beach. If you’re after a bit of guitar-strumming around a campfire on the sand, then this is the right place.
The sleepy coastal town of Kep is a popular getaway with the Cambodian crowd and will often be packed at weekends with families picnicking in the shade, splashing about in the sea in their jeans and T-shirts and gorging on freshly caught crab from the nearby market. Starting as a small stretch of beach, it underwent an upgrade in 2013 when white sand was shipped in from other parts of the country. A shaded promenade is peppered with small stalls, selling food and drinks and hiring out rubber rings, parasols and seats.
Sner Beach, Koh Kong
Situated slightly off the beaten track, Sner Beach boasts isolation and wild beauty, away from the masses. Mainly used by Cambodians, the strip of sand is kitted out with hammocks to laze the day away on. There are several beach shacks and small eateries serving catch of the day, as well as fresh prawns, crab and fried squid, dished up with piles of rice and vegetables. Seafood barbecues can be seen sizzling along the shore at sunset, washed down with beer available from one of the beach huts.