Sihanoukville Otres Beach 1 & 2: Sihanoukville is the main beach with haven that has small boats departing to the Koh Rong islands but is mostly famous for its casino and clubbing party life. Close the windows and plug in hearing protection and you’ll still hear the thundering bass boom through your guesthouse. That is why if you’re out for the party life this is a good place to crash but make sure you drink enough to go KO when wanting to sleep. For those looking to experience white beaches and chill out drinks and smokes head on over to Otres Beach just a small tuk tuk drive from Sihanoukville ($5 for the 6km). Also a tip when taking a tuk tuk from Sihanoukville, make sure that you agree upon a price and tell him exactly where you are going Otres 1 or Otrest 2. Our guy tried to get some more cash out of us by using the local trick and saying that we had to pay extra because we (not him) made a mistake in saying that it was Otres 1 instead of 2. Watch out for this trick, they’ll drive you on purpose into the wrong area and start a big discussion. Another tip is to make sure you have enough cash with you. Often the tuk tuk drivers will break the atm’s and wait until a tourist walks up to one of them on Otres Beach to then tell you they can drive you to Sihanoukville for a certain amount. Otres 1 is a bit more for the hipster backpackers and Otres 2 is a bit more for the lovey dovey couple flash packers. However both are great and offer amazing views over the sea and islands and nice comfy beach beds.
Must Eat 1
Papa Pippo: So during our trip we’ve had our slips into snacking down some western bites. To be honest if you’d asked me before I would have said “No Way” as this is finally a chance to experience other tastes. However we’ve noticed that eating a recognizable meal can sometimes be a nice change to our now complete Asian Diet. However, you want to then make sure you enjoy a good Western snack otherwise it’s all for nothing. Well, rest assured Papa Pippo on Otres Beach 1 is a great Italian that serves up a great Pizza but, I would recommend ordering their specialty: Home Made Piada e Cassoni. It’s a a typical thin Italian flatbread that originates from the region Romagna. To me, the look of it was comparable to a quesadilla but less cheesy and more Italian.
Must Eat 2
The Little Cabbage: A bit further down from Papa Pippo, you’ll find this vegan health food shop next to a small bookstore and jewelry shop right smack on the beach. Owned by a young hip ex traveler, she knows how to make some good raspberry flavored cupcakes and Swedish chocolate balls. Plus, they’re somewhat healthy so perfect to treat yourself with a yumster snack. Watch out that you don’t get too addicted or you’ll turn into a Swedish chocolate ball. Trust me, I’ve got experience with this.
Must Eat 3
Amok: While traveling through Cambodia it is an absolute must to try their traditional national dish. Amok is a thick lemony curry with either fish or chicken. Even though I’m a big fish fan and love the omega’s I’ve noticed that I like the Amok with Chicken more. Being only one of the two national dishes (the other being Lok Lak), you’ll notice that the Amok is deliciously different in every restaurant you go.
This is probably because each cook gives its own twist to the dish and otherwise it would become very boring for locals to go out to eat if they can only choose between two dishes that taste the same everywhere. Thus, try it out and don’t be discouraged if you have one that doesn’t meet your expectations because the next restaurant might be mind blowing.
Saturday Night Market: In Otres village enjoy the sounds of live music, smells of exotic smoke and laughter around every Saturday night during the high season. You’ll find a mix of items being sold here by creative expats who want to make a little extra something on the side.
From fresh baked cakes, to jewelry, homemade absinthe (hardcore liqueur with a flammable twist) and more…you cannot miss this happening. You’ll notice that the beach will start to clear around 16:00 when everyone will get ready and prepare for this night. The setting is filled with ukulele sounds, classic rock hits or jazzy tunes that flow through the market from the main stage in the center.
In front there’s room to dance while people sit on Aztec themed carpets with candles creating a cozy warm setting. Cookies are for sale but it you want a ‘happy cookie’ just ask and they’ll pull the tray out for you. Also, don’t be surprised to see people smoking marijuana openly while listening to the concert. A must eat here is Porky’s. Order the toasted baguette with olive oil sprinkled on it, spicy salami, fresh garlic cloves and Italian herbs: DELICIOUS!
Wildside Villas: Be welcomed into a warm and loving guesthouse that will make you feel at home. We actually bumped into this place by coincidence but boy are we glad we ended up here. The owners are extremely welcoming and the whole atmosphere will make you connect deeper with each other and yourself while doing some soul searching. The funny thing was that during our stay we found out that we all came from the same country, same town and even went to the same school. What a completely extreme small world! Cold beers and game nights filled our time while staying here (plus the Loempia’s are nice!).
Choose out of a big bulk of games to play but the best and our favorite turned out to be the game Scotland Yard (super exciting). Next door they’re making a new guesthouse in the same igloo termite style as Moonlight Resort on Koh Rong Sanloem. It’s going to be beautiful and should be opened around December 2015.
Must Find 1
Black Dogs: You might think that all stray dogs here are poor and sad fellows but, the black ones have an even tougher life here. Why you may ask, well in Cambodia black dogs are believed to be devilish and have bad luck. In their eyes the only solution for this bad luck walking around is to grill it up and serve it in their traditional curry. Yes you heard me correctly; black dogs will be eaten here. That is why it is always a good idea to ask 3 times what kind of meat your Cambodian vendor is selling on the side of the road.
Must Find 2
Smokers: Don’t be surprised to find the smell of smoke that will remind you of 1969. Or in our case, we had a nostalgic feeling of walking through our home city Amsterdam in which coffee shops (Dutch style) are legal and the smell will fill your nose in each street. So how interesting to experience just that, but then in Southeast Asia Cambodia. We were completely stunned that this was so widely accepted here.
I mean seriously in every restaurant, café, beach house, lunch spot and even in the hotel people are smoking everywhere! The local police will get a small monthly amount to look away and allow what is happening. I always thought that this was something to be afraid of while traveling and to stay far away but as we’ve noticed throughout each country we’ve been, it’s everywhere so it’s just important to stay alert and be smart.