On Cambodia’s southwest coast lies serene Otres Beach- a hidden paradise that most people have never heard of, much less visited. With gentle waves, sandy beaches and lazy cafes, Otres is your typical countryside beach. It is tucked away from the busier party area surrounding Serendipity beach, which is closer to the town center of Sihanoukville. With its backpacker and hippie vibe, this beach is certainly on the road less traveled. This part of Cambodia is still relatively unknown. Travelers who are able to spend time exploring Cambodia beyond Angkor Wat will be happy they made the trip to Otres Beach. Dabbled with western tourists, it is not crowded-yet. The hot Cambodian climate lends itself to beach lounging, yoga, drinking cheap Angkor beer and perhaps a little paddle boarding- if you are up for it. The sunsets on Otres are particularly amazing, so be sure to have your camera ready.
The good thing is, for most western travelers, Cambodia is very budget friendly. On Otres beach, travelers can treat themselves to inexpensive pedicures, manicures and massages for a few dollars. To feast at a fraction of western prices, buy grilled calamari or fresh mango from a Khmer woman selling food on the beach. Luckily, the local vendors are respectful, keeping the atmosphere calm. This region of the ocean is also scattered with small beautiful islands that are an hour’s boat ride away from the mainland. In fact, you can see two of biggest islands, Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem from the shore. Travelers can explore these islands by reserving an island “cruise” from one of the beach travel vendors.
How to get to Otres Beach:
The nearest town is Sihanoukville, which has an airport. If visiting Angkor Wat (a must!) during your time in Cambodia, the easiest way is to take a flight from Siem Reap. The cheapest way to get to Otres Beach is by bus. Buses run from both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Taking about 4 hours from Phnom Penh and 10 hours from Siem Reap, the bus will drop you off at the town center. From there, take a 15 minute, 5 USD tuk tuk ride to get to Otres Beach.
What to bring to Cambodia:
Bring beach wear for Otres beach, sunscreen, and insect repellant. Luckily, if you can’t carry it with you due to airline liquid regulations, insect repellant can be cheaply purchased in Cambodia.
Best time of the year to visit Cambodia:
Because Cambodia has a warm to hot climate year around, Otres Beach is always a good place to relax. However, the monsoon season runs from late May to November. To avoid rain, plan travel around those months. For budget travelers, room rates (which are already low for western travelers) can be a real bargain during the rainy season.
What not to miss in Cambodia:
Leave Otres for a day to explore one of the islands. They are great for snorkeling, swimming and hiking. The island cruises are usually day trips leaving from the port in the town center. Those to really wish to get away from it all may choose to stay overnight at Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloem. Of course, while in Cambodia, no visit is complete with a visit to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. The temples in and around Angkor Wat are not to be missed when visiting this fantastic country. Cheap flights to Siem Reap can be found on local Asian carriers. Be sure to get to Otres Beach before everyone else does!