Otres Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

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She watches intently as the sun begins to slip behind the hills, leaving a rainbow in its wake. The clouds greet the colours and joyfully flaunt them in a fashion runway march. A willing designer, the sun throws streaks and patterns across the sky.

Dusk smiles as she slashes a final strip of colour on her painting. This is the time she has been named after, the time to unveil her greatest masterpieces. Pressing her flowing hair behind her ears as a soft breeze teases its strands, she stabs a paintbrush through a knot to hold her hair out of her face.

Her spirit longs to know where the sun goes every evening. She wants to follow it. Hearing her will to leave, Dusk’s heart thumps in agreement. The ocean beckons.

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She knows it is possible. The words she has gathered from books have told her so. There’s a whole world out there. Yet she hesitates.

“Two thousand years old is not yet enough” her mother reminds her from her memories.

A cat lazily pads up to Dusk’s lap begging for affection. She gladly grants his wish, rubbed his belly and chin while they watch the light slowly fade away together. Her art breaks apart as the night eats away the edges. Some nights she’s sad to see her work go.

Otres Sunset reasonable size-12

“There’s room for another great masterpiece tomorrow, right Horizon?”

The cat looks up as Dusk drops her head to stare into the lulling swirl of blue and green in his eyes. His muscles relax, his soft, silky fur rubs against her skin and his large bones flex and twist as he curls up in her lap.

“If you were like me with those features we could practically be twins,” Dusk muses as she props her chin on her palm. Around her humans rise from their chairs and shuffle towards bobbing lanterns and sparkling mugs of beer.

“Let’s go home,” she says, patting Horizon while she rises. He tumbles from her lap and plops down in the sand.

“Silly creature,” Dusk chuckles as she walks into the darkness.

Soon all that is left of her presence is a yawn echoing across the water.

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Since my Phnom Penh visit delved into such a dark history, moving to a beach was a welcome change. From witnessing the remnants of paranoia and cruelty to soaking up the view of nature’s most beautiful gift—it was a healing transition.

Welcome to Otres Beach near Sihanoukville, Cambodia. In my opinion, its most endearing feature was its sunsets. I’ve never seen the dusk put on such a dramatic display so consistently. The sunsets here matched the striking sunsets of the prairies of my homeland, Canada.

Of course there were other great features, including the ocean, sun and islands. While I was there all I did was swim, read, kayak and snorkel.

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Look at that pristine water!

I stayed at the Everythang Hostel with a couple from England! We were in the “executive suite” which is funny because it was two beds, mosquito nets and a shelf. It was high up though and had a hammock on the small deck. The best part for us was the price. $12 for the whole room if I remember correctly and so $4 each (American dollars).

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Everythang featured a neat bar and super comfy seats. They were basically large cushions set on a wicker half-sphere. It is easy to curl up into a ball and sleep with your book, the shade and ocean breeze as company.

Oh and the bar sells a bowl of popcorn, which you can enjoy the sunset with!

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Everythang is the dome with the blue tarp 😀 It even has tree houses you can sleep in.

If you want a place to just chill out among mellow people Otres Beach is perfect. Unlike the other beaches near Sihanoukville, Otres Beach hasn’t yet been tackled by developers. It’s a collection of guesthouses and a small town.

The people consist of guests and foreigners who enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere so much they decided never to leave. I talked to owners and workers in the guesthouses who signed up for three or more years in the area just so they could stay.

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Are you a pingpong or billiards fan? The guesthouses often hold tournaments for prizes like a pool of money or a bottle of local liquor. Even if you lose quickly to the avid visitors or practiced locals it’s still super entertaining to watch final matches while sipping a beer.

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If you are a fan of water sports there are windsurfing lessons, kayaks for rent and a water jetpack, hover machine if you have money in your pocket. I also kept seeing a raft glider soaring by before landing and taking off from the water. I kid you not, it was a souring raft attached to a hang glider!

The guesthouses also offer island tours where you get to trek about.

But, if you are lazy and cheap like me you can just lounge around the beach with a good book! There are even small libraries in some guesthouses where you can swap out your book for another.

In a world so eager to move Otres Beach offers a sanctuary of chill. I went back to gobbling up books when I returned from my stint at Otres Beach. It reminded me that I really missed taking the time to sit down and,

read.

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