I decided that after all our sightseeing, early morning excursions and visit to S-21 (the genocide museum/old prison on Phnom Penh) that we needed a break and to chill for a bit. Sihanoukville is only 5 hours by bus from Phnom Penh and is apparently beautiful. So off we went to stay at a guesthouse on beach, the farthest and least developed of the beaches, for two days of recharging, relaxation and chill out time before hectic Vietnam.
Our bus ride was interesting, with lots of swerving and quick sudden braking, followed by some off road action by our side of the bus. Despite the chaos that is Jakarta roads, I think I feel more secure in a vehicle there. There are no road rules, but people are at least courteous. Here, bigger vehicles will honk (signaling that they are passing you) and then overtake you regardless of oncoming traffic. They will drive in the middle of the road until a car driving the opposite direction might hit them. And when things seem dangerous they dont slow down, they swerve, break, and make the ride very uncomfortable. This explains why I didn’t sleep on the bus today. It was a nicer road than the one from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh but I was scared we would have a crash!!
Once we arrived however, we were scammed by tuk tuk drivers in the rain at the bus stop. Initially offering $16, I got them down to $10, knowing it should only cost $5. But they wouldn’t budge, and it was raining and my knee hurt too much to walk a km to find a reasonable price. We finally arrived at our guesthouse, cutely named “Wish You Were Here”, an ventured across the road for lunch at Richies. All the restaurants and bars at Otres beach are right on the beach. You on the ocean, and can sit ‘indoors’ (undercover) or on the beach and feel the sand between your toes. We opted for the latter everyone, even in the rain. The great thing was that everyone was so chilled out and relaxed. Restaurant owners were chatty and friendly, and both Richies and Sunshine Restaurant became our two favorite hang outs in our 2 days there.
Despite the rain on day 1, day 2 was beautiful and hot and we got our tan on. And day 3 rained so we caught the 8:15 am bus back to Phnom Penh rather than a later one. When it rains, electricity can cut out there, and we decided if it was raining in both Otres and Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh could have more things to do.
Back to reality, although I have a feeling the sand will be ingrained in my backpack through the trip, as it was hard not to get sand on your clothes, your bed and yourself! That can be my souvenir from Cambodia, sand to remind me of calming relaxing and beautiful Otres. Currently so under developed that a beach front bar costs only $27,000 (USD) to buy. In years to come when it is taken over by resorts, we can remember the red dirt roads, the cows just chilling, and the small stretch of ships and bungalow guest houses. A little hidden slice of paradise!