Once a quiet stretch of beach for those wanting to escape the mayhem of Sihanoukville’s shores, Otres has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. While it is no longer the tranquil getaway it once was, it has still retained its hippy vibe and is more than just about relaxing on the beach. Here are the top 10 things to see and do in Otres.
Laze on the beach
A trip to Otres is really all about the beach, with the stretch of sand dotted with bars, restaurants, and guesthouses. There’s no better way to while away the day than seeking out a spot on the sand and chilling. There’s plenty to choose from – ranging from budget up to luxury – so take a walk along the beach and see what tickles your fancy. The Secret Garden and Papa Pippo are good options. Catching the sunset at Otres is another must.
Hire a kayak and hit the waters for a leisurely paddle along the network of inlets that cut through mangroves and small villages. It is also possible to ride out to the closest island, take a rest and wade in the shallow waters. It’s also a good spot to do some snorkelling so ask for a snorkel and mask when you hire the boat. Don’t forget to go armed with sunscreen and water. Kayaks can be hired from Otres Sailing Club.
Otres is full of touts flogging boat trips of varying prices and standards so it’s worth shopping about, and remembering to barter down from the initial inflated price. The range of options include sunset sails, and half- and full-day trips. The longer trips take in several stop-offs to nearby islands with snorkelling and fishing also often included. It’s also worth asking if food and drinks are provided or whether you can bring your own, in which case stock up before hitting the waves.
Walk to Otres 2
If you fancy stretching your legs and a change of scenery, turn left when you hit Otres beach and keep on walking. About 45 minutes later, you’ll reach the less developed Otres 2. Much quieter than Otres, this beach is also home to a host of eateries, bars and guesthouses where you can refuel and relax before heading home. The majority of the walk is along quiet, untouched sand where a few Khmer families will be enjoying a picnic in the shade.
Fancy galloping along the beach or swimming in the sea on horseback? If so, then Liberty Horse Ranch offers rides that stretch from one hour to one day. Popular options include the ‘between earth and sea’ two-hour trail – which sees riders explore the countryside before hitting the beach and the sea – and the 1.5-hour swimming in the sea that has riders take to Otres beach before taking off the saddles and swimming in the sea.
Otres Night Market
For an evening of debauchery, Otres Night Market is the place to be. Take a tuk tuk about 10 minutes out to Otres village and you’ll find the party pumping. The market hosts a range of food and drink stalls, as well as spots selling crafty items. Live music can be found at the central stage, where DJs keep the dance floor packed until the early hours.
Take a late-night swim
If it’s a dark night then hit the waters because Otres is home to majestic bioluminescent plankton. It’s a pretty incredible experience watching the water light up as you swim through the sea. This spectacular natural phenomenon makes stripping down to your bathers in the dark well worth it. Just remember not to leave any valuables unattended on the beach because they’ll probably not be there when you return.
There is an army of women parading the beach offering everything from massages and manicures to threading. If you fancy indulging in a relaxing massage without leaving your sun lounger, then hail one over and get negotiating.
Kbal Chhay Waterfall
Jump into a tuk tuk and head about 15 kilometres out to Kbal Chhay Waterfall. The waterfall is nestled in the tropical jungle, with a short walk taking in tropical flora and fauna. It is a serene spot to enjoy a swim, with the waterfall’s strength varying, depending on whether it is monsoon or dry season.
Prepare to get dirty as you board a buggy for an adrenaline-fuelled adventure that see guests explore the Cambodian countryside in a four-wheeled buggy with Fun Buggy tours. A guaranteed fun half- or full-day out, and unique way to explore surrounding Sihanoukville.