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If you’re looking for somewhere to kick back, relax, soak up the sun and even party into the early hours, then escape the madness of Sihanoukville and head to hippy haunt Otres for some chill time. It was only a few years ago that Otres was little more than a dust track with a handful of beach shacks and guesthouses set along a lengthy stretch of beach that sits about a 15 minute tuk tuk drive from Sihanoukville centre. While it’s no longer a secret getaway for those wanting to escape the hedonism of Sihanoukville, it has still retained some of its tranquil charm. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Otres.
The early bird catches the worm, and it’s well worth getting up early to enjoy the fresh morning breeze, the still waters and the beach almost to yourself. Enjoy a bit of morning exercise and take a stroll along the beach up to Otres 2 (about 1km away). Having worked up an appetite, stop off at Otres Beach Resort for a hearty brunch and some chill time on the beach. Alternatively, enjoy some fresh seafood from the ladies selling it on the beach.
Otres Beach Resort is also home to Otres Boat Club, which offers sailing and kayaking. Kayaks can be rented, as well as Hobie Getaways and Hobie Wave sailing boats. Hit the sea and head to one of the closer deserted islands, or navigate along one of the many tributaries that are flanked by mangroves and pass by small fishing communities.
Kick back with a couple of sundowners back on Otres and watch the sun sink into the sea at one of the many happy hours. Papa Pippo Bar, Restaurant and Bungalows is a good spot to chill, with happy hour running daily from 4pm to 6pm. The joint also serves top-notch pizza, as well as a range of other dishes.
Undoubtedly, you will have been approached numerous times on your first day by touts on the beach trying to flog you a boat trip. Take that time to figure out prices – all are negotiable – and book yourself on a half or full-day boat trip to the islands. These usually take in three or four nearby islands, with stop-offs to snorkel, swim or simply sunbathe on the bobbing boat. The day-trips will include a lunch barbecue.
If you’ve opted for a half-day tour, spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach at Secret Garden. If you fancy indulging in a super cheap massage or manicure, then haggle hard for a bargain price from one of the many girls prowling the beach in search of customers. Just don’t promise to get one later if you have no intention of doing so, because they will remember your face and hunt you down.
If you’re looking for something a bit more action-packed then book yourself on one of adrenaline-filled Fun Buggy’s tours, which offer a fun and exciting way to explore the surrounding countryside. Just be prepared to get dirty.
Otres Night Market is a must during any visit, although it can get pretty hedonistic once the clock strikes midnight. As well as stalls selling souvenirs and other trinkets, there are plenty of food vendors and live music and DJs keeping the party going until dawn.