Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Sat March 19 2016

Opinion Home | Tales From the Leap

  • Shannon Wolf | March 19, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Sihanoukville: Head to the Beachy Bliss of Otres, Skip the Port

    Sihanoukville: Head to the Beachy Bliss of Otres, Skip the Port

    PHOTO: During low tide, you can walk out for ages and take in stunning views of Otres Beach. (photos by Shannon Wolf)

    Sihanoukville is the standard touristic port town with shady tuk-tuk drivers offering you every drug imaginable (hint: they are connected with the police who are equally as corrupted here) and a line of bars with the same type of drunken tourists you'll find on pub street in Siem Reap or a full moon party in Thailand (reminding you why you're glad you're no longer 18 anymore.)

    However, if you plan to catch a ferry to Koh Rong, staying here is your best option for the night if you are unable to catch the morning or afternoon ferry in time.

    If you do decide to stay in Sihanoukville and want something a little more tranquil with a nicer beach, take a tuk-tuk for $3 to Otres 1. It is a tad pricier but has a nice, chilled out beach, clean dorm rooms and reasonable priced food for how secluded it is.

    VIDEO: Walk around the Chong Koh village in Cambodia 

    Best Hostel in Sihanoukville: Invito ($3 a dorm)

    This guesthouse is really close to port and the ferry. The dorm rooms are small but it's clean and very quiet.


    • Comfy bunkbeds

    • Fastest and most reliable Wi-Fi

    • Cold showers

    • Clean bathrooms

    • Friendly staff

    Worst Hostel in Sihanoukville: Utopia ($2 a dorm)

    Out of all the hostels and guesthouses, Utopia is by far the cheapest but I wouldn’t recommend staying here unless it’s a worst-case scenario. It’s incredibly dirty, to the point where I moved out after one night and opted to use my sweater as a pillow and my sarong as a blanket.

    PHOTO: Don’t miss taking a day trip to the hippie island of Coral Beach in Koh Ta Kiev.

    Otres 1

    Best Accommodation: Sea Garden ($5 a dorm)


    • Comfortable and clean small dorms with mosquito net and fan.

    • Beach proximity.

    • Plenty of lounge chairs and hammocks.

    • Perfectly calm waters for swimming.

    • Shared bathroom/showers.

    Fastest Wi-Fi: Shin Bar

    Cheapest Accommodation: If you’re on a really cheap budget and don't mind walking for a bit or taking a tuk-tuk/scooter to the beach, head in-between Otres 1&2 to Hacienda which is $3 and allows you to stay as long as you'd like! (But shh, you didn't hear it from me.)

    Cheap Meals:

    • Mom’s Kitchen: (Just up the street from Sea Garden). Basic, healthy meals between $1.50-$4, with great smoothies for $0.75!

    • Otres City Restaurant: (take a motorbike or tuk-tuk to Otres village for $1.50/one way). Quality meals for cheap prices between $2 and $6.

    • All other restaurants are $4-$8 a meal.

    Things to Do:

    • Suntan, swim, read, relax and sleep.

    • Swim with bioluminescence at night.

    • Get a quality massage on the beach for cheap. (Look for a lady with a yellow hat!)

    • Rent a scooter to explore the town.

    • Hop on a boat to the chilled out island of Koh Ta Kiev and stay at Coral Beach.

    • Take a full day boat trip for $15 to three islands for snorkeling, swimming and exploring.

    READ MORE: Social Etiquette in Southeast Asia: Do's and Don'ts on the Banana Pancake Trail

    Getting out:

    • To Sihanoukville: take tuk-tuk for $3.

    • To Kampot: Can take a charter bus for $5.

    • To Ho Chi Minh: Can take overnight sleeper bus for $20 (For the cheapest bus tickets, head down the beach in Otres 1 to Bamboo Shack to book your bus ticket but don’t expect to get the sleeper bus they promised).

    PHOTO: Swimming in the calm waters at sunset or the bioluminescence at night will remain one of my fondest moments in Otres.

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Shannon Wolf Tales From the Leap

Shannon Wolf Shannon Wolf is a freelance photographer and writer, traveling across the globe with an open itinerary and no intent of stopping. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she left behind a fast paced life to truly live and not just exist in an attempt to inspire others to follow their bliss. At age 26, Shannon has visited 20+ countries on four continents around the world. She has travelled overland by chicken-bus and tuk-tuks, hitchhiked by fruit trucks and through islands on horse and buggy. She has slept in the jungles of Nicaragua, on benches in London, secluded hidden beaches and she’s only getting started.
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