Otres Beach is a Cambodian resort town with a fabulous rustic charm and plentiful value family accommodation options
Situated on Cambodia’s west coast facing into the Gulf of Thailand, Otres Beach is a charming beachside town that has thus far avoided mass development that plagues so many beach towns in South East Asia.
Whether you are planning a visit just for the fabulous beach weather in the dry season, or you are adding a relaxing stop to a Cambodia road trip, it pays to know a little more about Otres before booking accommodation for your family.
The best place to stay with kids really depends on your group size and how compromising you are on your mod cons – options range from rustic to luxury but there are no big hotel names to be seen.
This post is part of our series Discover South East Asia. Don’t forget to also check out our detailed guides to the Angkor Temples & Siem Reap as well as Phnom Penh with Kids
The difference between Otres 1, Otres 2 and Otres Village
The main difference is simply geography. Otres 1 and 2 are on the beach, whereas Otres Village sits between the two and slightly inland on a small river.
Otres 1 is slightly closer to Sihanoukville (meaning cheaper transportation and more Sihanoukville day trippers) and Otres 2 lies to the south.
Both beaches are lined with shack-like restaurants offering sun-loungers, dining and refreshments. In all but those owned by resorts on the road opposite, the sun loungers are free for anyone to use all along both beaches. As a minimum courtesy, of course, you should look to buy a drink or dine at your chosen lodgings. We never felt harassed or pressured to buy wherever we sat – except, of course, from the hawkers willing to defoliate or massage any limb they can!
Otres 2 felt like it had more beach frontage that was reserved for guests of resorts only and has a reputation for being more ‘upper class’ and less ‘backpackerish’ which I know some families prefer. The only other notable difference between the two is price – Otres 2 rooms cost fractionally more (yet still amazingly good value vs resorts in the vast majority of the rest of the world!)
Otres Village is set back from the waterfront. It is home to many restaurants, a growing foodie culture and much of the nightlife of Otres. Accommodation here is more suited to backpackers and couples than families but nonetheless provides a cheaper alternative.
At the time of writing, the going rate to Tuk Tuk between each part of Otres is $3USD. A beach-to-beach walk of the whole of Otres may take you 45 minutes – much longer with shorter, curious little legs!
If you stay set back from the beach, your accommodation will likely be cheaper – eg staying in Otres Village. Expect a 10 minute walk from here to the public beach area between Otres 1 and 2.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing Otres Beach accommodation
- Do you want to see and hear the ocean from your room?
- Do you want a pool?
- Do you want air conditioning? (otherwise, expect only a fan)
- Do you want WiFi?
- Are beach towels supplied?
- Is breakfast included?
- How big is your group and are you happy to split across rooms (not interconnecting)?
The beach shacks that line Otres beachfront all include sun loungers and bars for day tripper use. Many also have attached bungalows. Expect these beach bungalows to be very basic. You will have a fan without aircon and a simple mosquito net over your bed. Bathroom facilities we could see at the beachfront bungalows are all shared.
Head to the other side of Otres Beach road you will get a line of “Resorts”. These resorts mostly boast a pool and small air-conditioned rooms with private gardens. Don’t expect fancy kids clubs, though you can try asking for babysitting, books and games at reception.
Otres Beach Accommodation – Which is best for families?
Otres Beach 1
Sea Breeze Resort – our favourite family option with little extra touches. Consisting of small one-bed, twin and family sized rooms with pool, set menu breakfast included, towels that can be taken to the beach, wifi and air conditioning. One of the better BBQ dinner restaurants in Otres 1. You are only 30 seconds over the road to the beach front. A 2 x king bed family room for 4 costs approximately $120USD per night.
Sahaa Beach Resort – the only luxury offering at Otres 1, let down by the fact they don’t have family rooms so you would need 2 bungalow rooms. Each room has its own outdoor terrace, air conditioning. Pool access, towels, free wifi and breakfast. Rates from approx $125 per two person room per night.
Otres Lodge – offering quadruple rooms that include a private bathroom and mosquito net, deluxe rooms only have airconditioning. An optional breakfast is provided and you have access to the pool, immediately across the road from the beach (note the map on Booking.com shows this accommodation in the wrong place!). 2 x double bed room costs approximately $25USD per night.
Otres Beach 2
At Otres 2 there are more options leaning to the luxury end of the scale – albeit very affordable for what you get.
White Beach Hotel – With its own private beach frontage and beach club, there are great little extras here including movie nights and board games for kids. Depending on the time of year a suite which can fit 4 (double bed and sofa bed) costs around $200-$250USD per night.
The Secret Garden at Otres Beach – One of the prettiest with beautiful gardens, a family room for 4 consists of 2 double beds. All rooms are airconditioned with private bathroom. One of the best on-site restaurants in Otres, breakfast included. Prices range approx $150 – $200USD per night
White Sea Boutique Hotel – Bungalow style huts set around a pool. A family room sleeps 4 in 2 double beds with aircon, wifi, pool, breakfast included. Expect to pay $75USD per night
Naia Resort – a multistory resort set across the road from the beach with its own private beach frontage. Aircon, breakfast included, wifi and a pool. Expect a family room with two single beds (rare!) and a double to set you back about $90USD a night.
Otres Village – budget options
Set just off the beach, what you lose in a little convenience to the beach and having a pool, you save by staying in the village which has plentiful restaurants and nightlife, as well as a pharmacy and a few more shops than the beach.
Lakshmi Bunglaow offers a twin room with 2 double beds that can sleep up to 4. Private Bathroom, aircon and towels provided but no pool. Expect to pay $40USD
Otres Hideout Bungalows are a clean and affordable option at around $20USD a night per room, though they have no family suite options you would need two bungalow rooms. No pool and no airconditioning but private bathroom and towels.
When to visit Otres Beach and the Cambodian coast
The wet season runs from May to November – expect unpredictable monsoonal weather during these months. The rain may only last for a downpour though and brilliant stretches of sunshine and warmth can still be experienced in between. The advantage to coming offseason is you can almost have the beach to yourself! Some businesses do close but there are plenty of restaurants and hotels that keep going throughout the year.
The coolest time of year to visit with the least chance of rain is at the start of the dry season December/January though this also makes it tourist high season and prices can rise significantly, tapering off by the end of April.
Related Reading: Travel Scams to avoid in Cambodia
How to get to Otres Beach
Otres Beach is on the Cambodian coast. The closest town of size is Sihanoukville which is a bustling centre for tourists looking to connect to the Cambodian islands, particularly Koh Rang. There ae now several options for reaching Sihanoukville and Otres Beach.
Sihanoukville By Air
Sihanoukville International Airport is an increasingly busy airport (undergoing expansion work as I write this). From here you can catch both domestic flights from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and international flights to the likes of HCMC, Kuala Lumpur and Macau. Most resorts will assist you with your transfer from the airport for a charge of $15-$20USD or you can chance a taxi being available (they looked to be in plentiful during our last daytime arrival).
Check out available daily flights here.
Sihanoukville By Road
Cambodian roads are known for being slow and hard going. You can expect the drive from Phnom Penh to take minimum 4 hours by a private hire car, or up to 6 hours by bus which would take you only as far as Sihanoukville station, not door-to-door Otres Beach. Depending on the “luxury”of your coach, cost is around $8 to $13 per person.
Note if you are travelling all the way through from Siem Reap or Battambang, coaches still need to travel via Phnom Penh so the journey takes upwards of 12 hours.
Sihanoukville by Rail
There is a rail service that operates between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. Out of action for 14 years, it reopened in 2016 and operates presently on weekends only – Friday afternoon through to Monday morning. It is run by Royal Railway and the service takes 7 hours, stopping briefly at Takao and Kamput – see timetable here.
It is recommended that you book in advance either online or at the ticket office to ensure a seat – tickets are $8USD per person and include up to 20kg in baggage. From the Sihanoukville train station to Otres Beach is another 20 minutes or so by Taxi/Tuk Tuk, expect this to cost an additional $8USD – $10USD.
Advance book your transportation around Cambodia
Our favourite transport booking service in South East Asia is Baolau giving you instant and convenient access to booking services, all in English and very easy to understand. They compare routes by train, bus, ferry and air and you can book tickets immediately. I strongly recommend you advance book tickets, especially when travelling with kids at least a few days in advance.
Should you stay in Sihanoukville with kids?
We posed this question after our first visit in 2016. I don’t often express opinions of places you should NOT visit with kids but Sihanoukville was one of them.
There have been changes to the point I write now in 2018. A lot more development. Old buildings in the central street of Sihanoukville are being demolished for new hotels and casinos. There are so many casinos! Some roads around the city have become almost impassable due to the damage caused by construction trucks.
Whilst there is still a strong backpacker vibe here, with many popular establishments including The Big Easy and Monkey Republic, the town is utterly overrun by Chinese gambling and judging by the number of cranes and construction trucks, it will only get worse. As a mother, I felt uneasy being in this town – not a feeling I often get.
It would still not be my preference to stay here with children versus travelling that tiny bit further to Otres.
There is development encroaching on Otres too. Already the concrete shells of high rises can be seen. There is a big question mark whether this sleepy seaside village will lose its charm.
Until then, come to Otres! Enjoy it, keep it beautiful, clean and happy
Practical information visiting Cambodia
- Visas are available on arrival at Sihanoukville International (or all airports/border crossings) or can be pre-purchased on the internet to save time.
- You can withdraw both Cambodian Riels and USD from ATM’s but most vendors and drivers will want you to work in US Dollar (its a slight upper hand to them on the exchange rate). The exchange rate we worked off was 1USD =4,000 Cambodian Riels. Expect change from $1USD in riels.
- Most hotel plugs came with multi-points, though they honestly seem to use a variety of everything! Bring your own multi-adapter to be sure.
- Wifi signal around the country is not great but most hotels offer it for free so you should be able to make some connection, albeit slow.
- We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance for travelling in South East Asia. From stolen items to travel health, they are the most comprehensive insurers we know in the market for adventurous families.
For more on visiting other parts of Cambodia with kids, see our reviews for Phnom Penh with kids, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap & Angkor Temples with kids.
Have you visited Otres Beach? Do you have a favourite place to stay you would recommend?
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