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By marksams, 06/20/2010 - 15:19

We arrived in Sihanoukville on the south coast after a long bus ride from Siem Reap in the north. It was getting late so we checked into temporary accommodation and then headed down to the beach the following morning. Arriving on Serendipity beach was a bit like walking into a Cambodian beach area of Glastonbury festival in the sense that it felt relaxed, make-shift, and with a mixed crowd. As newbies on the scene (and on a Cambodian Bank Holiday) it took most of the first day to convince the kids and women that we didn't want any bracelets, magazines, pedicures, manicures, or that we didn't want to stay in their choice of accommodation with commission incentives. After settling in to cloud-nine bungalows located in a quiet corner of the beach, the noise died down, except when we passed by the tuk-tuk drivers of course!

We got lucky in the tuk-tuk driver lottery one day, and although we paid him well ($6) he turned out to be a good driver/translator/guide/happy chap who took us from Serendipity Beach to Otres Beach a few kilometres down the coast. We wanted to see the difference between Serendipity and Otres, which has a reputation for being more unspoilt and secluded. It was definitely out of the way with some off-roading (through the middle of nowhere) in the tuk-tuk that did our South-African 4x4 proud. If Serendipity was being developed, Otres was just managing to string some beach bars/restaurants/bunglalows together in an unspoilt Cambodian style.

Unfortunately we hit the area in low season (with not many people around) during mid-June, just as the rains had started. The temperature was still 30 degrees but it wasn't really sunbathing weather, and the seas were unlike the dead calm and clear waters of the Thai resorts we had visited previously. After seeing Otres beach and finding most establishments were closed, with locals ticking the place over in 'relaxed' style (rubbish everywhere!) until the Western owners returned from their holidays, we decided to change our plans. Instead of moving between beaches like we did on the Thai islands, we just decided we'd seen enough and jumped on a bus to Phnom Penh.