Aug 31 2012
Ochheuteal is a beach. Despite persistent rumours to the contrary, Serendipity is not. Yes, innumerable visitors to Sihanoukville talk about having visited Serendipity Beach, but there really isn’t a beach at Serendipity Beach. So why do they call it a beach? Let’s go searching for Serendipity Beach. Maybe we’ll find the answer.
Officially, the road in the photo above is called Mithona Road, but even the maps and guidebooks are now calling it Serendipity Road — at least until you get to the bottom of the hill and it turns into Mithona Road again. It’s probably just as well, because this stretch of road has a distinctly “Serendipity Beach” feel to it. Whatever a traveller is looking for, whether it’s a place to stay, a dive shop, a meal, a mini-mart, a book shop or a night spot, this is where they’ll find it.
This, too, is Serendipity Road. Like its sister street, it caters to tourists, but now that it’s been paved, it caters more to tourists with money to spend than backpackers looking for cheap meals and dollar-a-night accommodation than it used to.
Follow the cement road down to bottom of the hill and you reach Serendipity Beach. The problem is, there’s no beach at Serendipity Beach. Look to your left and after about 50 metres of rocky shoreline, Ochheuteal Beach begins.
Look to your right and at first glance, there’s not much of anything except a couple of bars. Thousands of former visitors can be excused for not venturing further out towards the headland that leads to Sokha Beach because the crumbling sea wall made negotiating the first 10 metres or so difficult. Those who, by some “happy accident” (yes, that’s what serendipity means) decided to explore, were rewarded by a magical part of Sihanoukville in a verdant tropical world all its own.
True, there’s no beach here, but for many of us, this is the real Serendipity Beach. Now that the sea wall has been repaired and access is easy, serendipity won’t play such a big part in discovering this tranquil slice of Sihanoukville any longer, but it may play a part in staying in a bungalow on the hill behind the “beach” unless you book well in advance.
If you go searching for Serendipity Beach and let serendipity be your guide, you’ll find it to be the best place to find everything you need to enjoy all of Sihanoukville. You can book your boat trips to the islands here; make arrangements for travel; take your pick of international restaurants; find one- to four-star accommodation; or just hang out. The only thing you won’t find is a beach. Don’t let that bother you too much, though. There are plenty of real beaches in Sihanoukville to choose from.
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