Located on the sunny shores of Southern Cambodia, the coastal community of Otres is so much more than just a beach destination. Although it is the perfect place to while away a few days enjoying sun, sand, and sea, you only have to scratch the surface and you’ll discover a fascinating community and an amazing array of activities to keep you entertained. As part of our guide to this beautiful beach, here’s our definitive list of the top things to do on Otres. We like the place so much that there are actually 11 activities on our top 10 list!
The classic. Become a castaway for a day exploring the spectacular beaches and colorful coral reefs of the numerous remote tropical islands off the coast of Southern Cambodia. Most boat trips from Otres take in up to three different islands, include snorkeling gear, lunch and beer and cost about $15. You can also hire a private boat for a group of you to go out deep sea fishing or go exploring in any direction you like!
Maximize your time in tropical paradise with a night or 2 at one of the beautiful rustic resorts on the picture-perfect island of Koh ta Kiev.
Picnic and bonfire on Long Beach
For those who don’t want to go that far to get away from it all, the empty stretch of white sand and palm trees between Otres 1 and Otres 2 is the perfect place to set up camp for an afternoon. Grab some take-away food and a few beers and go for a wander. Choose your favorite spot and soak up the peace and quiet. Those who fancy settling in for the long haul can even give their guesthouse a few dollars for a bundle of wood and have a little campfire under the stars, with drinks, music and no one around to disturb you.
*We advise leaving your valuables at home, making sure you don’t leave your belongings unattended and locking up your motorbikes (especially rentals!) as thefts are not unheard of.
Walk to Secret Beach
The beautiful coastal walk to Secret Beach is a great way to pass a day. Just head out to the ocean, turn right and keep on walking. Turning left will take you all the way to Serendipity, so if you have a few hours to kill and want to stroll into town then this a great alternative to taking a tuk-tuk.
Secret Beach is about an hour’s walk from Otres 1, all the way past Otres 2, across the estuary (bear in mind you may have to swim at high tide!) and along the pristine beach. Climb across the rocks and reach a clear sandy stretch lined with jungle and a beach dotted with spectacular shells and coral. These days Secret Beach is not always quite so secret, but if you feel like going a little bit further, the next bay over is still peaceful and secluded.
There is also now road access to Secret Beach via the newly built Ream Road, just past the Pagoda in Otres Village. It’s a long and bumpy drive, but if you don’t fancy the trek then it’s still a great day out.
Escape the beach and spend a sunny day exploring the waterways and mangroves of Otres Village. Head up the tranquil river and check out the breathtaking Cambodian wildlife, or paddle out to sea and enjoy riding the waves as they crest onto the beach. Feeling strong? You can even head out to one of the islands! Just make sure you’re back to take in another spectacular Otres sunset. Kayaks can be rented at Pachamama or Mama Clare’s.
If a day spent relaxing on the waterfront, sinking beers and throwing lines sounds like your kinda fun, then make your way to Lakeside bar in Otres Village. Pay $30 for equipment, bait, and a beer, and sit and fish to your heart’s content! The guys have a strict catch and release policy, but don’t let that spoil your fun. Enjoy the local Kampot Cider and grab some takeaway fish and chips from The Frying Yorkshireman up the street instead. Advance booking advised. Otres Marina also offer fishing day trips (book at least a day in advance) as well as the chance to hang out, drink beers, and fish at their premises.
Sailing and watersports
Take to the seas in style with sailing catamarans, windsurfing, kitesurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, skim boarding, sea kayaking and more. Head down to QueenCo Palm Beach on Otres 1 or Otres Marina on Otres 2 and take your pick of exciting watersports. Lessons are also available. Booking in advance is preferable but not essential!
Enjoy cantering through the jungle and swimming in the ocean on an unforgettable horse-riding adventure in Otres with Liberty Ranch in Otres Village. Slow things down and get in touch with nature as we explore the beautiful countryside on horseback, before taking in a stunning sunset on the ocean and taking the saddles off for a late afternoon swim with the horses. Suitable for beginners and all age levels.
Visit Kbal Chhay Waterfall
The beautiful Kbal Chhay Waterfall is about a 30-minute drive from Otres. Rent a motorbike or a scooter and enjoy the scenic journey out to the highway and along dirt roads. Although it can be quite the mission, especially in the rain, you’ll be rewarded with cascading water, swimming holes, friendly locals and plenty of hammocks. Spend a lazy afternoon drinking beer with the locals and go exploring in the nearby jungle. Bear in mind that weekends are normally packed with picnicking families, who will encourage yo a beer, or three!
Relaxing on the beach
Although there are plenty of ways to occupy your mind if you do get bored, the main draw of Otres will always be the beautiful beach and laid back atmosphere. There is no better way to spend a few days reading and relaxing in a hammock by the sea, sipping on a coconut and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. The chilled out community will make you feel right at home and soon you’ll find you never want to leave!
Ream National Park: Monkey Maya
If you think Kompong Som is pretty, just wait until you see Ream National Park! This breathtaking province lies between Sihanoukville and Kampot and is home to beautiful mangroves, lush jungle, and endless unspoiled beaches. Local fishing villages and tiny little islands like the spectacular Koh Sampouch are all within exploring distance, but there is also a Khmer Naval base and a large military presence in the area, so be wary of entering restricted areas. Rent a moto and spend a fun-filled day tooling the backroads, or take the boat to Monkey Maya and enjoy a few days of laid-back luxury on a relaxing tropical beach.
Swim with bioluminescent plankton
A highlight of everyone’s trip to Otres is a late night swim in an ocean sparkling with the seasonal electric-blue bioluminescent plankton. Watch the sea come to life as you plunge into the darkness and swim through the phosphorescent waves. This incredible bioluminescent phytoplankton is a true natural phenomenon and is well worth the effort, especially on dark nights.
Otres 2, near Secret Garden [map]