We waited for about 40 minutes for the minibus to show up at the tour agents in Kampot but when it did we discovered that we all wanted to go to Otres beach so paid an extra $1 each and were delivered there instead, much more convenient than having to find a tuk-tuk when we got to Sihanoukville. We decided to go to Otres beach instead of staying in Sihanoukville as we had heard that it was much nicer in terms of scenery and place. Sihanoukville now has a reputation for being very sleazy with a lot of old men trying to find young girls and there is also a big Vietnamese mafia presence within all the casinos there apparently. We decided to give it a wide berth and head to Otres. Otres consists of Otres Beach 1 & 2 and Otres village. We opted to stay in the village this way we only had a short walk to the beach and it was the strip of beach in between 1 & 2 that has not been developed yet. Plus as nice as it is to stay directly on the beach the places are often a lot dirtier and at least Otres 1 has a reputation for partying hard, meaning very little sleep. Instead, we booked 4 nights at the Orange House. We had our own little room with shared showers and toilets downstairs. It was remarkably clean considering the beach was just down the road and there was a red dirt/ mud track that led to it. We had booked 4 nights in advance (£10 a night for a double room with fan and mosquito net) as it was Khmer new year and we had heard from people in Kep that accommodation can get very booked up and that it isn’t advisable to travel during it as the costs skyrocket. It wasn’t an issue, at least here and we could definitely have just turned up and booked.
After checking into the Orange House we walked down to the beach and were pleasantly surprised to find lovely white sand and light blue sea with small islands in the distance. We walked up through Otres Village checking out what was on the main road- mainly a few restaurants, minimarts and souvenir shops. It was nice though as it was not overwhelmingly touristy. We stopped at Eureka cafe and had an iced coffee ($1.75) then we returned to the beach to watch the sunset which looked magical over the sea. The sea was very inviting and lovely and warm from its day in the sun so I had a paddle and Dave went for a swim. In the evening we had dinner at our place as it also doubled as a pizzeria so we treated ourselves to a pizza each ($5 each) and they were delicious. I also splashed out on a glass of wine which was incredibly mediocre. I spent the evening skyping my sister and we watched some of the latest series of Chefs Table which just made us hungry again!
We headed back to Khmer House kitchen in the morning for breakfast and juices. Then we headed back to Orange House and spent a while sorting out further plans in Cambodia; figuring out what we could afford and how much time we had which took a lot longer than expected. We ended up back at Eureka cafe after that for an iced coffee and we had to try their chocolate torte which was incredibly luxurious. I am glad we shared just one piece as it was very rich. We took another wander along the beach enjoying the view and the sun, stopping on Otres 1 to have a draft beer enjoying the atmosphere ($0.50). In the early evening, we headed over to Otres 1. Things were only just setting up when we got there so we settled down with a beer. It is a weekly “market” but more like a mini food and music festival. There is a bar, places to sit and drink whilst listening to the live music on the stage. There are local businesses that have a wide selection of food stalls as well as a couple of clothing stalls. Shortly after we sat down we were joined by an Australian traveller and then as the night went on we were joined by another Australian guy, a German/ Russian couple and some young Brits. We had a great evening getting to know some new people and having more and more klangs. After a few klangs, I explored the stalls and ended up buying a t-shirt with a neon orange lion print on it, awesome but not sure I would have bought it without the Klangs. Whilst there we found another Mexican stall and had really tasty burritos ($4). Dave even managed to find a craft brew stall. Definitely not a day on budget but a very enjoyable evening!
Our last full day in Otres we went to Eureka instead for breakfast as Khmer house was really busy and had no seats with a fan, a must for me! I had some great scrambled eggs ($2.50) and Dave had a breakfast burger ($3) with sausage in it which I was immediately jealous of when it came out as it looked like a proper sausage rather than a fake Asian equivalent. We spent most of the day chilling out at Orange House again backing up stuff on the hard drives and writing more blogs (always so behind!). We did go to the beach for a bit in the afternoon and had a good swim to cool off. In the evening we had a calzone and pizza each from a little stall/ restaurant in Otres Village. These were lovely although we definitely didn’t need both!! We then went back and spent the evening playing cards and were left in the restaurant area by ourselves as all the Khmer staff went out to a family party to celebrate Khmer new year.
We didn’t see any huge events for Khmer new year. Instead, it was quite nice to see that a lot of extended families had got together. Whenever we went to the beach there were huge groups of families with children playing in the sea often scooping up water with plastic bottles and burying each other. Each group would often have small BBQs where they grilled meats and had snacks. They all tended to have huge speakers as well where they liked to blare Cambodian music. This consisted of about two songs that can only be described as like awful early 90s German dance music with synthesised vocals (extremely high pitched) and constant loud base beat. The families were never dancing to it either just sat around chatting with the loud noise not really in the background. This did mean you just heard this music over and over and over again as you walked down the beach which definitely didn’t make for a peaceful atmosphere. It was nice that everyone looked like they were enjoying time together though.
The following morning we checked out to make our way to the Cambodian island of Koh Ta Kiev.