The shuttle got me to the bus station in Phnom Penh where I had to wait for the local bus. There was only one other white person in the bus. After 6 hours bus ride we arrived in Sihanoukville. I had booked a hostel in Otres 2 since so many people had told me that Sihanoukville was horrible, but Otres Beach was quite nice. After a big haggle with a mototaxi driver, I got with my entire luggage on his bike and we drove to the Banana Beach Resort. When checking in I would have loved to turn around directly and go somewhere else. They were super unfriendly, inconsiderate and not helpful at all. The dorm had an interesting layout, but was quite dirty and it was loud and the toilets and showers were just disgusting. The shower smelled like an under bridge where people had peed in for years. But since I had made a reservation over booking.com I couldn’t leave without paying. Thank God I had only booked one night! I quickly jumped into the ocean and then set off to look for another accommodation, laundry, the ferry to the islands and a massage place. I didn’t have to go far. With the Footprints I found a nice hostel with friendly and helpful staff for the same price ($5/night). They also offered laundry service for $1/kg and you could book the ferry there. When laundry and ferry were set I got a nice one hour Khmer massage at the beach for $8. I walked back along the beach and had a coconut at the Banana Beach bar (basically the same name, but the hostel and the bar have nothing to do with each other; the bar also has bungalows). The bar is owned by a Swiss guy and his Thai wife, so it is not the cheapest place. But directly at the beach nothing is really cheap. I met a German guy there – René – and later we took off with his rented motorbike to the Village for dinner. We went to the Otres City Restaurant. This place is owned by a very friendly local family, the food is amazing and it is rather cheap. I had a great fish amok with rice and a beer for together $3,25. The next morning I woke up super early. So I did some Yoga on the beach, went for a swim and stretched before I went next door for breakfast. Silvio –the owner of the Banana Beach Bar – was so kind to change one of my $100 bills into smaller bills. Then I moved my stuff to the Footprints. A bit later I met with René again. We drove to the village where he had breakfast at the Stray Cats and I had a smoothie. We got some water in a supermarket and I went to an ATM (there are none on the islands and I wanted to make sure I would have enough cash in order to avoid the same problem as on Don Det) then we drove to Sihanoukville. We first went to the post office to send a few postcards,
then toured through the city.
It is indeed rather horrible. There is one casino next to the other since the Chinese are trying to build a second Macao there mixed with one giant hotel next to the other. It is dirty, people are unfriendly, it is rather expensive and full of Chinese. We also had a look at the beaches in Sihanoukville. They rather look like a landfill; super dirty and disgusting.
We went back and spent some time on the beach in Otres. While in the water a local on his homemade floating device paddled bye. After I told him that I like his makeshift boat, he asked if I want to try. Of course I wanted. Was anything but easy and the two guys had a good laugh watching me trying to stay afloat with this thing. It was a lot of fun, but I also got some nasty scratches while not giving up too easily. It looked very easy when he did it! We went back to our accommodations and agreed to meet later for dinner again. When I wanted to take a shower there was a power breakdown. So no running water on the top floor (no pumps working), no WiFi, no light, no fan,… At 7 we drove again to the village and had dinner at the Otres City Restaurant again. All with candle light since the power was still not back. They all use either gas stoves or fire to cook, so the restaurant would still serve food. Was quite a nice atmosphere! I had a great Barracuda. While we had dinner the power finally came back. The rest of the evening we went to the bar next to the footprints and had a few cocktails during happy hour. The next morning it was already time to leave. After breakfast I got picked up by a truck with benches in the back. We drove around for ages to collect passengers. Shortly before we would leave the village we got stuck in sand. Even with planks there was no chance to get this heavy vehicle out of there.
We got a bit uneasy since the ferry would leave very soon and we were worried to not make it. So we pressed the drivers to please call someone to pick us up. After a while a bus arrived and got us to the ferry terminal just in time. So I could say bye bye to the mainland and look forward to a few days of island life.
Otres beach was nice, but I don’t necessarily need to go there again. The beach in Otres is nice, but nothing special ad it is rather an expensive area of Cambodia. To Sihanoukville I definitely don’t want to go again. Just to catch a ferry, but not for staying for sure.