Ladieeeeesssss and gentlemen! Welcome to The Sihanoukville Showdown….in the party animal corner wearing the standard issue booze and pissed soaked young traveller shorts we have Serendiiiipppppityyyyy Beachhhhhh! And relaxing in the trash free corner wearing a little hippie codpiece is OOOOOOttttressssSS Beaccccchhhhh!
Well, I suppose you can see where we are going with this. We did like Otres Beach more than Serendipity Beach and here’s a nifty little scorecard to show you why:
Two things that turn many a potential paradise in Asia into shabby sandboxes are people and their accompanying rubbish. Serendipity is verging on the point of having way too much of both. Otres Beach on the other hand is much cleaner and has loads more people-free space to relax in your own little sunbathing haven. So Otres draws first blood, 1 – 0 it is then.
When hunting for accommodation in Serendipity Beach we tried to keep away from hostels that would have gangs of teenage party travellers roaming the corridors at all hours (we learnt our lesson with Mad Monkey in Siem Reap). So, given our tight budget and that Serendipity is party central, we found our options somewhat limited. We ended up staying at Sbov Meas Bungalows for 14 US dollars per night through Agoda (including taxes). Problems with various non functioning fans wasn’t a great start and the place lacked any character, but to be fair the room was clean and did the job. It was in a good central location as well, near the beach and the main strip.
In Otres we first stayed in The Estuary Guesthouse for 10 US dollars per night through Agoda (including taxes), which got us a large wooden bungalow with a double bed. This place had character galore with the sounds of the jungle sending you to sleep (or keeping you awake, depending on your disposition!), an extremely cute and energetic kitten/puppy combo called Piggy and Rambo for entertainment and a sound as a pound English man called Sean who owns the place. You can also jump from the first floor bar into the river behind the guesthouse if you’re so inclined, although to jump into the sea you have a 15 minute walk to the beach. It can also be quite noisy early in the morning with the usual South East Asia alarm clocks of roosters and early risers on motorbikes to wake you from your slumber at unspeakable times!
We then fancied a few days staying on Otres Beach itself and so we booked direct with the owner into the more expensive Sea Garden Bungalows. For 20 US dollars per night, we got a cool little beach hut. What it lacked in space it made up for in location. Here’s the view we had from our porch – need we say more (well, other than Otres wins again to make it 2-0))…
Next door to the Sea Garden Bungalows is Sunshine Cafe and every night it does a mammoth BBQ platter for only 5 US dollars. You get a large plate of tasty and plump BBQ chicken, BBQ veggie kebab, garlic bread, salted and buttered baked potatoes, salad and creamy coleslaw. Emily says this was her favourite food of our whole trip and what could be better than ripping into your favourite BBQ right on the shoreline of a beautiful beach. We also had the tastiest coconut shakes of our travels at the Bamboo Shack on Otres Beach as well.
Serendipity Beach also had its share of great eateries, especially when you need that Western fix. We got big, meaty burgers there and had a proper Sunday Roast (the only we’ve come across on our travels) at Outback Bar & Bistro. There were also plenty of decent and cheap roadside places doing local food, and much more.
So both sides getting in some good performances there, and coming out with a point each – leaving the score at 3-1.
OK, this is the fun round where you, our beloved readers (well the younger ones anyway), may wholly disagree and shout vile things at us because of what we are about to say!
As we are not 19 and single with a penchant for shit R&B and dance music played way, way too loud, we did not really get into the Serendipity nightlife scene. It was like we had been transported to a cheesy Spanish resort, swapping the usual young rowdy English chavs for posh kids recently let off daddy’s golden leash. Over confident English bar reps tried to harang us into their dungeons of noise and post puberty fumbling as we walked down the streets close to the beach. That said, we did have some fun smoking apple flavoured shisha and playing pool in a couple of bars, although after a while the sex tourists, the crowds of whooping and high 5ing youngsters and awful music just got too much to handle.
The nightlife in Otres Beach on the other hand is a bit more sedate, with lots of acoustic sets and ambient dance music providing a perfect soundscape to scenes like this…
5. Other things to do
Other than lazing on the beach, swimming in the sea, eating and drinking too much and chilling out in beach bars we didn’t really get up to much extra curricular activities in either place. Declan did go for a few runs along the empty stretch of beach north of Otres and we were both tempted by the various water sports and parasailing activities on Serendipity Beach but we didn’t want to dish out the money. But as Serendipity had lots of options for other things to do, it gets a consolation point here. So, going into the final round, the score is 4-2 to Otres.
6. Getting in, out and around
Serendipity gets another late point here as it is closest to the main bus station for transport to and from the rest of the country. It is also more built up with better roads and it is near the pier where you catch the boat to the beautiful islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samleum, which we’ll be talking about on here very soon.
Despite that late surge by Serendipity, the final score is 4-3 to Otres and it’s our Sihanoukville Champion!
Hope this helps if you need to decide between the two beaches and if you think we’re talking crap (honest we won’t mind) or that we are spot on, we’d love to hear why…
The Two Gallivants