It’s no secret that Ochheuteal beach is not my favourite part of Sihanoukville. On Wednesday evening, I decided I wanted to eat at a restaurant that overlooked the water, so I went to the bottom of Serendipity Road, parked my motorbike and walked to the first restaurant I came to on Ochheuteal. The food wasn’t remarkable, but I got to watch the sun set and enjoyed the cool ocean breeze.
I went back last night. The plan was to eat at the new Yasmine Bar/Restaurant at the bottom of the hill, but it was a little pricey for my taste, so I ended up going to Maybe Later, but not before I took some photographs.
My timing was poor yesterday. A big boat full of tourists returning from the islands had just pulled in to the pier, which was recently extended. The bottom of Serendipity Road was packed with tuk tuk drivers and motodops waiting to pick up fares.
My favourite outdoor tables were taken at Maybe Later, so I decided to do a little exploring before dinner. If you go to the end of Mithona Street (the road that parallels the beach) and turn left, you come to the third road up, where you can turn right and go to Otres beach. You can also go straight. It used to be a dirt road, but they’ve paved it now, so I decided to take a look. There’s nothing there for about 200 metres, but now there’s a very nice “boutique resort” standing all alone. It looks sort of incongruous now, but I did see people sitting around the pool, so somehow it’s attracted guests. Beyond that is an area that’s been divided into lots for houses and housing developments. Given time, I’m sure the road will fill in. We’ll just have to wait and see how long that will take, but it may be sooner than I think. As I wrote last time, Sihanoukville is growing fast.
I made my way from there back to Maybe Later and saw a few more hotels being built. One of them was quite big. Before I went to Maybe Later, I took a ride back down Serendipity Road to take a photograph of this massive development near the bottom of the hill. I assume it’s another hotel.
They’ve made a mess of the road, but rumour has it that they want to widen Serendipity Road. That will be interesting. If they do, there will no longer be outdoor seating at the restaurants because there’s not much frontage left. No one anticipated further widening after they built the new road. I have a feeling it won’t happen, but they will need to come back and fix the existing road, which looks pretty bad after having so many heavy trucks on it.
I finally got my favourite table at Maybe Later and had a delicious Southern California style Mexican dinner. After I left, I had to stop at the top of the hill for a moment and overheard a dreadlocked backpacker I’ve seen a million times tell some new backpackers that “all the hotels are full, but no one parties anymore.” That might be because so many of the tourists are families and Chinese now. Fewer backpackers stay in the area than in the past. One person told me they stay for a day, but then go out to Koh Rong or Otres.
Sihanoukville is changing. Right now it’s having growing pains. While all this building is going on, it doesn’t look too pretty, but I think the local authorities will finally have to clean it up. We’re going to need street sweepers and a vastly improved rubbish collection service if it’s going to look as nice as Siem Reap, parts of Phnom Penh or Kampot. At the moment, it looks like a construction site because that’s what it is. Everywhere I go, construction is taking place.