I was in two minds about whether to write a post about our time at Otres Beach, but as I’ve documented every other place we’ve been to I thought I’d better not leave it out. This is due to the fact that, firstly I only got four photos of the place (more about that later). And secondly, we didn’t exactly have the best time! More eventful than our previous peaceful, relaxing destinations for sure. I want to point out that I’m sure you can have a great stay in Otres Beach and I’m not speaking for the place as a whole in this post – but unfortunately we just didn’t have the best luck. So keep on reading if you wanna hear our first nightmarish night of the journey came about, involving a rat, a pack of stray dogs & a crazy man.
We got a night bus into Sihanoukville which arrived early at 6am rather than 8am. This wasn’t too bad, it just meant we had to wait a couple hours longer to check in to our room. Otres Beach was about 20 minutes out of the centre of Sihanoukville, so we got a Tuk Tuk down there. We were staying at ‘Everythang’ in a beach bungalow, and even though check in wasn’t till later in the day the room was ready so we were all checked in by 9am! We’d waited a couple hours in the bar until the staff arrived, but this wasn’t so bad as the seats were comfy. Off to a good start, we thought!
We’d not got much sleep from travelling over night so as soon as we got in the room we had a nap to try and recharge. It was a beautiful day so we decided we’d sleep for a couple hours then go to the beach, which was literally on our doorstep. Upon entering our room we found out the power wasn’t working, which was the end of the world except for the fact that it meant the fan wasn’t working. My camera had also died in Angkor Wat and so I couldn’t charge it – hence the lack of photos of Otres Beach! We had a very hot / sticky / sweaty nap then decided to cool off in the sea. We lay on the beach reading our books for a bit before heading to the restaurant next door (where we ended up spending most of our time) for some lunch. The power still wasn’t working in our room so we got on with some work in the restaurant next door using their power and WiFi for the rest of the afternoon. I think the power finally came back at about 5 just before it got dark! The lady who worked there said there was a generator but only the owner knew how to work it, but I don’t think he ever came.
That night we had a great time – we went to ‘Wish You Were Here’ for dinner and then back to Bamboo Shack (the restaurant next door) for drinks. We’d decided it was date night so we ended up getting pretty drunk together! We’d had 75 cent beers with our dinner then bought $7 towers afterwards. We bought some cards and played Rumie (James got bored after a while as he kept losing) whilst finishing the first tower. We decided to get a second and in the end the owners went to bed but let us stay in the bar till we’d finished our drinks! Imagine that in the UK.
The next morning we woke up and the weather was awful. We weren’t feeling too great so after getting food next door we stayed in the room sheltering from the rain and watching stuff on our laptops. At least the power was working now! The place we’d come for dinner the night before had ‘Monday Roasts’ on the menu and I’d gotten very excited by this. I love roasts! We went back there for a late lunch/early dinner but were told that they weren’t doing roasts. I was very upset by this. We then walked the length of the beach checking every menu for something good and in the end went to the place two doors up from us called ‘The Beach Chalet’ which did Greek food. This was a very good decision, our food was amazing! We both got the chicken souvlaki.
We decided to stay here and do some work as it was still raining so James ran back to the room to grab our laptops. We stayed here for a few hours but they also had some kind of power cut as the WiFi stopped working! Probably due to the crazy weather. We went back to the bar of where we were staying to finish what we were doing. This is all where it became a bit of a nightmare!
We decided to go down the road and get a wrap and some drinks, as we felt a bit hungry again! It was already midnight, we didn’t realise we’d been working for so long. It was still raining, so we grabbed our pac-a-macs from the room and ran down the road. We got our wraps, then came back to the room and realised we’d forgotten drinks. Our bar had closed, so James told me to go into the room and he’d run back and get drinks. As he ran back off through the rain I realised he had the key, so decided to run after him. This was my first bad move – as I ran a few stray dogs decided to chase me… Aware that I had food in my hand, I decided to run faster which meant that more dogs joined in and were jumping at me – either really hungry or thinking I was playing, I wasn’t sure! Even as someone who loves dogs, getting chased by five strays in the dark on your own is not fun. A man saw and drove past beeping his car horn which made the dogs run away, and I finally managed to catch up to James. I went with him to get drinks (not wanting to walk back on my own again!), and we headed back to our room again. It was starting to stop raining, we had our food and our drinks and we were going to watch a film – perfect. Or not. As we hung up our macs, I saw a rat run across the room and under the bed. When I say room, we were staying in a straw beach hut just big enough to fit a double bed in. We both jumped on the bed, we did not want to get bitten by a rat! It ran back through a little hole in the wall, where we realised it must be living in between the layers of the wall. It was making the most horrible squealing sound! We tried to get it to go out the door, but instead it ran up the bedpost on to the bed! I don’t think anyone particularly likes rats, but I think we are definitely some of the worst people with dealing with them. I could not stay in a room where a rat was on the loose, knowing it could get up on to the bed! We ran back out the room and went in search of someone from the hostel to change our room or see if there was anything else we could do. There was no one around, so after some discussion we decided we’d find somewhere else to stay. We walked up the main road of Otres Beach, where most stuff was closed as it was nearly 1am. Luckily, ‘Wish You Were Here’ was open – the same place we’d eaten the day before. They had a double room free – I guess this made up for the fact they’d let me down on the ‘Monday Roasts’ front earlier that day. We booked the room and walked back to our hut to try and get our stuff without getting attacked by the rat. The night had already been stressful enough, and then as we walked round the corner to our hut there was a man stood outside… Ignoring him, I reluctantly opened the door to the room. I had a look for the rat, and by the looks of things he was back in the wall. I started to get our stuff together, being as quick as I could before he decided to come back out again! As I was doing this, the man had decided to try and speak to James. He was shouting and making hand movements, which was really putting me on edge. This night was already a nightmare enough without strange men! James (being James…) just laughed and told me to ignore him, that the man was obviously off his face and therefore couldn’t hurt us. Still, it doesn’t really put your mind at rest. Whilst the man seemed to put a curse on us, we grabbed all our stuff together and packed the rest of it in the bar. As we did this, the man walked away down the road, still shouting to himself. I was feeling very panicky by this point! We left our room key behind the bar and walked down the road to our new room. At least it had stopped raining! We crossed the man on our walk, who was now just stood in the shadow of a tree. Very, very creepy. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much relief as I did when we finally got into bed in our new room, which was upstairs and safely away from rats! It was like 2.30am by the time we got to sleep, and it felt like the longest night ever. What a nightmare!
The next morning we checked out, got a Tuk Tuk to Sihanoukville and on to a bus to Koh Rong. I was so, so glad to be leaving Otres Beach. I felt bad, as it was a beautiful place and I’m sure our trip could’ve gone so much differently here! Unfortunately for us, it just didn’t go to plan. I hate to say I’ve had a bad time somewhere, as it makes me feel as if I’m being really ungrateful/whiney. However on this occasion, we had some good reasons. If the weather had been better and we’d stayed somewhere different we’d have had a totally different experience, so I wouldn’t rule out Otres Beach as somewhere I’d like to go back to. Just maybe not in the immediate future, I’ll let the memories become a bit more distant first! We learnt that not everywhere you go travelling is paradise – but at least we have a story to tell!
Charlotte Rick x
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