Otres Beach: My Cambodian Beach Paradise

Sunset on Otres Beach

When I first visited Cambodia, I foolishly only allowed myself four days to spend in the entire country.

I spent all of my time exploring the temples of Angkor and didn’t venture outside of Siem Reap. Despite having seen only a tiny, tiny part of the country over such a short time period, I instantly fell in love with Cambodia and left wishing I had more time, desperate to see more.

So when Dave and I began plotting our return to Southeast Asia, I was immediately pushing for a month in Cambodia — and was thrilled when Dave agreed! This time around I wanted to spend all of that time exploring the coast and was planning on visiting Sihanoukville, Koh Rong, Kampot and Kep. In my mind, I had a vision of holing up in a cute, cheap bungalow on the beach and spending a few weeks writing.

A vision of something a little like this…

Papa Pippo on Otres Beach

Papa Pippo Bungalows on Otres Beach.

Otres Beach in Sihanoukville was my first stop in Cambodia and I actually ended up spending three weeks here in total.

I’d heard mixed opinions on Sihanoukville and from my initial research I’d come to the conclusion that Serendipity Beach was a backpacker-ridden dump and that quiet Otres Beach would be much more my style. A brief stop in the area around Serendipity when I arrived confirmed my expectations — shirtless, glassy-eyed backpackers wandering around with whisky buckets at 10am, tuk tuk drivers instantly swarming around us, touts trying to convince us to get a massage, kid vendors trying to sell us bracelets. It’s one of the very worst examples of how tourists are slowly wrecking parts of Southeast Asia.

I mean, sure, if you’re looking to party then this area of Sihanoukville would be perfect, but that was the complete opposite of what I needed. This time I was craving somewhere relaxing and couple-y with no hassle, somewhere I could get some work done. I didn’t want to sit and watch my fellow countrymen vomit their breakfast in the streets on a daily basis.

I arrived on Otres Beach and was delighted and thankful to find somewhere in total contrast to Serendipity. The stretch of guesthouses lining the beach totalled around 30 or 40, taking up a small section of the beach. It felt much more peaceful, there were hardly any vendors and those that were there would mostly leave you alone and not hassle you. And the kid vendors that Sihanoukville is so famous for? After chatting for a while with one of them, they gave me a bracelet for free! For “friendship”! My mind was blown.

A lot of the laid-back vibe comes from the fact that the guesthouse owners on Otres Beach seem to have an agreement with each other to turn off the music at around 10pm, which makes for a quiet and relaxing night every night.

I was staying at Papa Pippo Bungalows and for a bungalow on the beach with an ensuite bathroom and excellent wifi Dave and I were paying just $15 total.

Here’s a sample of a typical day on Otres Beach:

Every morning would begin with this view.

View of Otres Beach

When we finally managed to drag ourselves out of bed, we’d step out of our bungalow onto warm, golden sand, race each other into the sea and spend the next hour swimming (Dave) and loudly freaking out whenever seaweed attacked (Me).

After drying off in the sun, we’d head off for a stroll along the beach to find somewhere to have breakfast — and would usually end up eating at Mushroom Point with their awesomely comfortable sun loungers and bungalows shaped like mushrooms!

As an aside, on Otres Beach I actually developed an obsession with Vegemite (of all things!) and would actively seek it out for breakfast every single morning. It’s now reached the point where I carry an enormous jar of it around with me!

Mushroom Point Bungalows, Otres Beach

Breakfast at Mushroom Point

Of course, I wasn’t just staying on Otres so I could sunbathe, nap and eat vegemite — I was here to get lots of writing done. Papa Pippo had surprisingly good internet for a beach bungalow in Cambodia and so much of my morning and early afternoon was spent working on one of the cushions here.

Workspace on Otres Beach

Not a bad place to work, right?

After a hard, long and terrible day of working, it was then time to shut down our laptops and go enjoy the beach. Apart from the one time that I swam in the sea during a thunderstorm and found myself surrounded by bright blue jellyfish that looked like salt and pepper grinders, this was one of the highlights.

The sea was so ridiculously warm that it was like having a bath! The water was deep enough that you could swim and was so incredibly calm that I didn’t get seasick. With sun loungers and hammocks on the beach, there would be plenty of reading and napping taking place too.

Otres Beach, Sihanoukville

And every night on Otres Beach would finish as chilled out as it started — with dinner and cocktails on the beach followed by an incredible sunset.

Otres Beach had some of the best sunsets I’ve ever witnessed in Southeast Asia.

Sunset on Otres Beach
Sunset on Otres Beach

Otres Beach is one of those places where I feel like I can say “go now, before it changes! It won’t be like this forever!” without feeling like a dick. Otres Beach is under threat from commercial development, with many bungalows and restaurants bulldozed a few years ago in preparation for a resort. Though it has yet to materialise, the 1.5km stretch of empty beach with bulldozers and workmen lazing around means it’s only a matter of time…

We left Otres Beach after two weeks. I knew that if we didn’t leave then, we’d never leave. And though I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in Koh Rong, Kampot and Kep, after a week of exploring I was craving to return to Otres.

And so we did just that. 

By the end of our time in Cambodia, Otres Beach felt like home, and if we didn’t have plans to head to Thailand for Yi Peng then I have a feeling Dave and I would have spent another two weeks there… Or, you know, two years.

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🇹🇭 The Ultimate Guide to Thailand’s Trang Islands
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🕶 Koh Yao Noi: My Thai Island Paradise
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If you're going to Cambodia, you must plan for some relaxation time on Otres Beach!


  1. February 5, 2013

    I completely agree. Otres beach is where it’s at if you’re visiting Sihanoukville. It’s cleaner, quieter, and you can actually swim in the ocean without having to compete with the boats coming and going.

    • February 5, 2013

      Definitely true, Arienne! I don’t know how anybody could find the crowded beach in Serendipity enjoyable!

  2. Angela
    February 5, 2013

    Did you have the pizza at Papa Pippo? It is so good. I stopped eating pizza after that because no pizza in Asia will ever be that good.

    • February 5, 2013

      I did! I had a pizza with Dave and he got one with anchovies on, which has to be the FOULEST thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. I stopped eating pizza after that, though for slightly different reasons ;)

  3. Amanda
    February 5, 2013

    Ohhhhh my God. GET ME THERE NOW!!!

    I need to stop reading all your Asia posts… I’m constantly adding places to my must-visit list!

    • February 5, 2013

      Hahahaha! You’d love Otres Beach :) and I’m so excited you’ll be finally getting to SE Asia soon!

  4. Wends of Journeys and Travels
    February 5, 2013

    awesome view and i love this beach. I love the sunset photos on this post. I wonder why I hadn’t been here when I was in Cambodia.

    • February 5, 2013

      Maybe you can visit next time :)

  5. TammyOnTheMove
    February 5, 2013

    I love Otres beach as well. So much calmer than Serendipidy. Have you been to Sokha beach? That is my favourite beach. It is private (part of Sokha beach resort) and so the sand is clean, white and you don’t get any drunk backpackers or sales ladies pestering you.

    • February 5, 2013

      I didn’t get a chance to visit Sokha beach this time around, unfortunately — it sounds wonderful though! No hassling is always good :)

  6. Matthew Karsten
    February 5, 2013

    Seaweed attacks and vibrant sunsets like that? Sign me up.

    Those are the first qualities I look for in a beach destination. :D

    • March 16, 2013

      Seaweed attacks?! I can’t handle seaweed in my ocean, haha.

  7. Scarlett
    February 5, 2013

    This is absolutely beautiful – I would hang that last picture on my wall! xx

    • March 16, 2013

      Awww, thanks, my love! :)

  8. February 5, 2013

    KILLER last photo there. I know a lot of these get taken but if you get a chance, it would look amazing blown up and printed on some canvas.

    • March 22, 2013

      Thanks Shaun! Maybe one day I’ll get it printed out for my parents. It’s one of my favourite photos too :-)

  9. February 5, 2013

    that sunset is RIDICULOUS. havent been there yet but seems like i need to go asap.

    • March 23, 2013

      Pretty much everyone staying on the beach ran out of their bungalows to take a photo of the sunset. It was ridiculous.

  10. Hogga
    February 5, 2013

    I would like to be napping there. Right now.

    • March 23, 2013

      It was an amazing place to nap!

  11. February 5, 2013

    I didn’t go to the beaches at all while I was in Cambodia, but this looks gorgeous. I hope it’s still as peaceful and relaxed as you found it whenever I get the chance to go back to Cambodia. I especially like your cushion-y area by the water where you sat and wrote!

    • March 23, 2013

      Ah, that’s a shame — the beaches were one of the highlights for me! I hope you get to go back soon! :-)

  12. Evey
    February 5, 2013

    Wauw, totally loving the beach!

    • March 23, 2013

      It was a pretty amazing one!

  13. February 5, 2013

    Missed that one when was in Cambodia :( It indeed looks like Paradise! I am so ready for this beach!
    The colors in the last photo are amazing!

    • March 23, 2013

      Thank you! Yeah, it was probably my favourite place in Cambodia :-)

  14. Sofie
    February 6, 2013

    I’m saving this for a future trip to Cambodia:-)
    I’m wondering: how comfortable were the bungalows?

    • March 23, 2013

      The bungalows were… basic. They all were on Otres — there isn’t anything fancy. It was pretty much a bed, a mosquito net and a shower. They ranged from $10-20 a night and, well, you get what you pay for! :-)

  15. 2 Digital Nomads
    February 6, 2013

    I loved this part of your story “…couple-y with no hassle, somewhere I could get some work done.” coupl-y shouldn’t go with work LOL

    Anyway, we are so excited from your story that we want to go to asia again but for now we love the experience in the Galapagos for the next 30-60 days :)

    • March 23, 2013

      Ha, I know… but we never have any time to *NOT* do work!

      Enjoy the Galapagos. I’m sure it’s wonderful! :-)

  16. February 7, 2013

    Agh, this looks lovely – and I’m loving your second sunset picture! Also, those jellyfish sound a little, you know, extremely terrifying. Shudder.

    • March 23, 2013

      Oh, I’ll have to tell you the jellyfish story in more detail! It was absolutely terrifying and I was too scared to venture into the sea again!

  17. I love Otres! I was there in early October. I also did a month in Cambodia, but sadly, only 8 days in Otres. Eight glorious, amazing, blue-bioluminescence-swimming-filled days. Completely agree about Serendipity beach.

    • March 23, 2013

      Yes! Glad to hear you also loved Otres. It’s such a wonderful place!

  18. Gorgeous and inspiring pics! I wish I was there right NOW!!

    • March 23, 2013

      Thanks, Dana! I wish I was too :)

  19. Richard
    February 7, 2013

    Looks gorgeous – you make it sound like Alex Garland’s Beach!

    • March 23, 2013

      Hopefully it won’t share the same fate as that beach!

  20. Atika Quraishi
    February 8, 2013

    beautiful pictures.. wow what a sunset.. you need to look after your self while in Cambodia..

    • March 23, 2013

      Thanks, Atika.

  21. Jam @icoSnap
    February 9, 2013

    The Otres Beach is so beautiful, definitely wouldn’t mind relaxing there the entire day.

    • March 23, 2013

      Or month, right?

  22. Ski Chalets
    February 9, 2013

    WOW! Otres Beach is definitely on my ‘must visit’ list now! Thank you for sharing such an amazing place.

    • March 23, 2013

      No worries!

  23. The Guy
    February 12, 2013

    It looks and sounds like a dream place to visit. I hope it doesn’t become over developed like you fear.

    As for Serendipity, what a fabulous name for a place!

    • March 23, 2013

      A fabulous name, a crappy place!

  24. February 13, 2013

    Hey, I nominated you for a Liebster award. Take a look
    I went to Siem Reap for ten days in May and fell in love with it too. I hope to be in Cambodia and explore the rest of the country soon! :)

    • March 23, 2013

      Thanks, Amy!

  25. February 17, 2013

    Great imagery :)

    • March 23, 2013

      Thanks, Brandon.

  26. Susan @ Travel Junkette
    February 17, 2013

    Holy crap! That last sunset hurts my eyes it’s so beautiful!

    • March 23, 2013

      Hahaha! It was pretty blinding watching it too!

  27. Charu
    February 18, 2013

    What an awesome place and delicious sunset, Lauren!

    • March 23, 2013

      Thanks so much, Charu!

  28. Gayla LaBry
    February 20, 2013

    Hmmm, vegemite. Haven’t gotten the courage to try that, yet, though it’s available in the imports market here. But, I’d eat it if it meant I could wake up to those views and work on Otres Beach. Just beautiful! It would be such a shame if that beauty was lost due to ‘progress’ and the planned development :-(

    • March 23, 2013

      Hahaha, you should definitely try it Gayla. It’s not as bad as it smells…

  29. Amanda @ Farsickness
    February 21, 2013

    I showed these photos to my friend that I’m traveling SE Asia with this spring and she immediately sad, “WE MUST GO THERE!” So Otres has been added to the list :)

    • March 17, 2013

      Hahaha, so awesome. Hope you guys love it as much as I do :-)

  30. February 21, 2013

    I’ve been following your blog for about a year and have thought to myself many times after reading one of your posts, I want to go there!, and this is the first time I can actually see myself being there. Otres Beach looks like the perfect beach town to spend a week or two, or three.

    • March 17, 2013

      Awww, thanks for the lovely comment, Erica! It’s definitely the perfect beach town to stay for a few weeks (or months!).

  31. Chris
    February 23, 2013

    that sunset looks epic – I can’t wait to get back to Cambodia later this year :)

    • March 17, 2013

      You’re going to go back to Cambodia?! You seemed so fed up with it last time we met!

  32. February 27, 2013

    Great post! Heading out that way in April myself hoping to find my own little slice of paradise … may follow you lead.

    Thanks for the tip :)

    • March 17, 2013

      Hey Neil! You should definitely head out to Otres — it’s definitely my idea of paradise!

  33. itsoknoproblem.com
    March 26, 2013

    They are all great, Otres and Sokha, Victory! Most of the tourist are lazy to go far from Ocheuteal, so it’s peaceful almost all over the non-tourist S-ville.

  34. April 22, 2013

    That place looks awesome! Great pictures of the sunsets! I was wondering where else to go in Cambodia on my upcoming trip (aside from Siem Reap of course) and it looks like you might have helped….man that place looks nice and a great deal too!

    I can’t say I’m with you on the vegemite though…..

  35. rion
    April 26, 2013

    i’m here now, at seagarden which is next to papa pippo. this place is soooo much better than serendipity. apparently theres a pipe that leads out to the water and pours all the sewage straight into the water at serendipity. the water at otres is so much better. i’ll hate the day this place becomes commercialized, but we all know its inevitable because money is involved.

  36. Karlene
    January 24, 2014

    So glad you enjoyed Otres Beach it is one of favourites also so much so we are moving there, Well to the Estuary 300 meters from the beach. We discovered Otres about 5 years ago and fell head over heals in love.

    March 12th 2014 cannnot wait to move,,,,,,

    • January 25, 2014

      I’m jealous! :-)

  37. Nina
    March 7, 2014

    Your trip sounded incredible! I may be visiting Cambodia very soon! Where would you recommend and what beaches were your favourites? Any tips would be very helpful! Thank you!

    • November 14, 2015

      Otres Beach! And the beaches on Koh Rong were stunning (although pack lots of insect repellent as the sand flies are vicious!)

  38. March 31, 2014

    I found your blog with this post, you got a new subscriber! :)

    • November 13, 2015

      Yay! Thank you :-)

  39. May 9, 2014

    We are here right now, staying next door to Papa Pippo and have absolutely no plans to leave anytime soon…..it’s paradise!!! Completely agree with your sentiment — everyone should go go go now before Otres is another Koh Samui (I also love Samui, but you know what I mean!).


    • November 13, 2015

      Yay! So happy to hear you like Otres just as much as I do.

  40. mat
    August 24, 2014

    Had a brief stay at otres and this is my biggest regret about Cambodia. I should have stayed from start to finish. I only had a week in the country and cannot think of a better way, or place to stay and spend and while away your days.
    It would be absolutely criminal if the developers bulldoze the bungalows and tree houses to make way for big fancy hotels and the like. Yet again money talks! I seriously recommend checking out this stunning little stretch of the earth whilst it remains unspoilt by the stench of the developers cash.

    • September 1, 2014

      Thanks for sharing Mat, and I completely agree with you.

  41. jay
    October 8, 2014

    I’m thinking about moving to cambodia. I want to take a couple week vacation there to see if it will work for me.
    would it be possible to get advice from you seasoned travelers?

    • October 13, 2014

      Hi Jay,

      Sure! Feel free to drop me an email through my contact form, or reply to this comment. I’ll see what I can do :-)

  42. pattayahenry
    January 6, 2015

    otres beach ist ja nicht schlecht, aber von den top 1000 stränden der welt ist er meilenweit entfernt, meiner meinung nach. das wird sicher nie ein 2. samui, wo sind denn da die palmen, oder die berge, die viewpoints, die wasserfälle? da gibt es ganz andere strände in thailand- zb ko kut , auch noch ganz relativ einsam, ( google mal die fotos). das ist ein ganz anderes kaliber, mit millionen palmen, nicht nur so eine mickrige baumreihe. aber eure reiseberichte gefallen mir trotzdem sehr gut, geschmäcker sind eben verschieden.

  43. pattayahenry
    January 6, 2015

    otres beach is not so bad, but there are many better beaches in thailand, and elsewhere, in my opinion. for example ko kut, you should google the fotos of both, then you see the difference, millions of palm trees, and it is still very undeveloped, not just a single row of mediocre trees .

    • January 10, 2015

      Absolutely! I wasn’t saying that it was the best beach in all of Southeast Asia — just that it was my favourite beach in Cambodia. Which has more factors than simply the prettiness of it :-).

  44. January 9, 2015

    Been in Otres for 10 minutes and love this place already!

    • January 9, 2015

      Glad you’re loving it, Nigel!

  45. January 9, 2015

    P.S. Just had a great pizza at Papa Pippo!

    • November 22, 2015


  46. Otto Gerits
    February 2, 2015

    Just returned from a One months trip to Cambodja and visites Otres Beach. It’s a paradise. Sunset at the blame Canada bar is the best late afternoon thing to do. The pace of life, the friendliness of the people, it is just Amazing…. Life as it was ment to be…..

    • March 21, 2015

      Glad you enjoyed Otres as much as I did! :-)

  47. Talia
    February 12, 2015

    Um…I was on the beach for that same exact sunset! I am sitting here at my desk looking at a print of it, comparing it to yours! Exact same! We were there for 2 weeks also, we MUST have bumped into each other! We were staying at Sunshine cafe :)

    Then we headed to Thailand for Yi Peng too! We went to Chiang Mai–you?

    • March 10, 2015

      That’s amazing! I went to Chiang Mai as well! :-D

  48. March 5, 2015

    Papa Pippo is the best! Perfect location to just chill and relax! Loved reading this and it certainly takes me back!

    • November 22, 2015

      Yes! :-)

  49. FT
    March 10, 2015

    Hi, I went to Maafushi, Maldives simply based on your post, and totally loved it. I’m heading to Cambodia in August, how would you compare Otres Beach to Maafushi?

    • March 10, 2015

      They’re not really similar in any way at all! Otres Beach is cheaper, I guess. The beach isn’t as nice. There’s hundreds of backpackers. More food options. Lots of alcohol and touts.

  50. Emma
    April 27, 2015

    Thanks Lauren for bringing home just what a beautiful place Otres is – it’s a world away from Serendipity down town this too must have been wonderful 20 years ago but you can hardly see the beach for bar chairs and loungers and dare I say it’s all a bit tacky unless you just need to say visit the clinic or grab something from the supermarket.
    Otres on the other hand is genuinely special at this time – there’s so many people doing nice things and running good places – it’s clean non hassally and has it’s very own chilled hippie vibe – I have been staying for 12 days now and no desire to leave – in fact I am starting to wonder how much time I can spend here as I would hate to come back in five years and found a little Serendipity sneak in. Go explore now and spend time soaking up the truely beautiful Otres vibe –

    • June 30, 2015

      So glad to hear you agree, Emma! :-) I really need to get back there soon…

  51. Krithika
    March 7, 2016

    Hi I was googling for reviews on otres beach and got to read your amazing post. I just have a question. Is this place and beach bungalow kids friendly. If I have my toddler traveling with me will I find a store to buy packed food or can I cook for him myself. Will facilities be provided?


    • March 15, 2016

      Yep, there were families on the beach, so you definitely won’t be the only one with a toddler! :-) Some accommodation options may have a kitchen included, but I haven’t stayed at them. You’d have to head into Sihanoukville’s main town to stock up on groceries (about a ten minute tuk-tuk ride away. There are tons of restaurants on the beach, though.

  52. January 9, 2017

    Hi Lauren, I stayed at Otres village for 3 nights at the end of October 2016, but alas I didn’t manage to get any fantastic sunsets photos, it was overcast at dusk for 3 days :-(

    I liked the laid back hippie traveller vibe in the village and at the beach bars. I think going in the dry season would be better as I went just at the end of the wet season and it did get quite muddy. Graham.

    • January 16, 2017

      Ah, sweet! So glad to hear you liked it :-)

  53. Wee Kiong
    October 19, 2017

    Besides Otres, do take a look at Hun Sen Beach on the other side of Sihanoukville. You will have to go through the port area and go along the road passing the fishing village on the way to Sokimex depot.

    • October 21, 2017

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll be heading to Cambodia soon :-)

  54. Otres Resident
    March 26, 2018

    Otres Beach is now the top hang out spot for local thieves. If you let your guard down and leave your valuables unattended while swimming or motorbike unchained while watching the sunset, don’t be surprised to have something stolen. Definitely a paradise for the local thieves because of so many easy targets/foreigners to prey upon!

    • March 28, 2018

      Why would you leave your valuables unattended while swimming? You’ll get your stuff stolen in many countries around the world if you do that.

      • Otres Resident
        July 15, 2018

        Why would you leave their motorbike unchained while watching the sunset? You’ll get your motorbike stolen in many parts around Cambodia if you do that.

        Why would you leave your hotel/hostel room without zipper pockets? You’ll get your phone/money stolen in many parts around Cambodia if you do that.

        • July 15, 2018

          What? That’s what I said.

  55. April 18, 2018

    Lol I don’t think I have ever heard of someone who isn’t Australian that loves vegemite! I’m a huge addict myself (but I have been brought up on it).
    Thanks for helping me get clarity where to stay on our upcoming trip!

    • April 18, 2018

      Hahahaha! I can’t get enough of it :-) And no worries! Hope you enjoy Otres if you decide to go there.

  56. Aman
    June 2, 2020

    I was there in June 2015. Spent few days at sihanoukville. Spent an entire day at otres beach. Me and my friend were playing pool at one of the shacks, listening to kygo & sipping on chilled tap beer.

    I took lots of photos at sunset and it is still one of the best sunsets in Asia ( including India , Vietnam , Thailand , Philippines ) for me.

    I have same photo on wall! I had almost planned a solo vacation to Indonesia in first week of June before covid but now I have to wait till jan / feb or whenever leisure travel is allowed.

    Till then reading blogs, watching YouTube vlogs of my already visited places gives me bitter sweet feeling.

  57. Chris
    December 17, 2021

    I also wandered into Otres after being disgusted by Sihanouk. Like you I ended up staying for I dunno… a month? Sorta lost track. That was Dec 2017.

    I’m about to go back to Cambodia and was reading up on it. Sounds like that resort is being built and the place is a wrecked construction zone now. So sad.