Located on Otres 2 in Sihanoukville, the Footprints hostel is a place to base yourself for a few days of doing very little. Rigid with fear after a harrowing 4 hour bus journey (that should have taken 6 hours) from Phnom Penh, my girlfriend and I were finally able relax once we had arrived at this beach haven.
From where you land down in Sihanoukville after you coach journey from either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, Footprints is around 15 minute tuk tuk ride from the makeshift bus station, the tuk tuk costings a relatively low $7. The hostel is probably the largest structure on Otres 2, we were instantly at ease once entering the front gate.
Check-in and The Bar
Check-in was painless and as luck would have it, the front desk is convienently located next to the bar, which served a varitey of liquids, but most importantly, a cold beer! Another stroke of luck was to arrive during the midst of happy hour and so our first beer cost us just $0.75.
Also available from the bar was the all important clear fluid otherwise known as water. We had arrived in Cambodia during hot season, and no matter how I hard I might try, I will fail to convey to you just how hot it was. Scorchio!
Any purchases made at the bar, including breakfast, lunch or dinner, were payable at the end of your stay rather than upon each purchase. Handy because carrying cash around a beach resort can be a nusiance. Dangerous because if you dont keep track of your bill you might end up with a nasty surprise come checkout time.
The Common Area
With your food/beer/water purchased, but not yet human enough to not step foot out onto the beach and into the sun, there was an awesome little common area which included a huge flat screen with an endless catalogue of movies. An abundance of fans kept the common area nice and fresh.
The rooms were located just a few steps away from the front desk, bar and common area. A corridor of beds, water features and fresh grass led the way to two levels of room options. We were lucky enough to be staying in a ground floor double bungalow. This included a big double bed, mozzy net, fan and en suite bathroom. The shower offered only cold water, but this was the best option we could have hoped for. Many a cold shower we taken over the course of our three night stay in an effort to cool our skin.
The Gym/Boxing Studio
Now for the mentalists amongst you who like to punish you body, you might like this next part. At the rear of the complex there was an exercise studio complete with all manner of boxing equipment. After having a quick chat with one of the owners we learned that when living back in the UK he was a boxer and boxing coach around the Cambridge area. Now based in Cambodia he was holding training weeks and also hoping to take classes into local schools.
Did we try the boxing … erm no, we joined the dog asleep on the floor.
Which way to The Beach?
You’ll probably look at the next photo before you read this scentence, but yes, that is how close to the beach we were. The gorgeous beach in front of Footprints is owned by footprints and therefore free to use for all guests. A beach bar was sometimes open, and volleyball was always available, but we chose to spend our days frying in the sun whilst reading … or snoozing.
As a pale brit, my ability to tollerate the sun is near non existant. In an attempt to save myself from a pounding at the hands of the sun, the sea seemed like obvious refuge. However such thoughts proved not entirely correct. Whilst the sea was beautiful, clear and fun to splash around in, it was like a bath. Never in my life have I experienced such warm sea water.
Friday Festivities at Footprints
Come Friday night and Esther and I were to experience our first Footprints Friday. A night of cool music on the beach, where willing musicians take to a small stage area to wow guests of Footprints and other guesthouses in the area with their talents. After a glourious sunset, a bonfire was lit to set the mood, and a BBQ stoked to feed hungry bellies. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night.
Room for Improvement?
Overall it was hard to find a fault with Footprints. The location is idealic, the staff great, the facilities highly comendable.
Is there any room for improvement? Well nothing is perfect right!? In the interest of writing a balanced article/review it wouldn’t be right of me to ignore just the couple of little things that I felt might improve the hostel in any way.
1. Smoking in the common areas – Now I’m an avid non smoker, and whilst the common areas at the hostel were very open, it still wasn’t entirely pleasant to be sat next to someone blowing smoke (unintentionally) in your direction whilst you’re trying to do your thing. Obviously smoker will probably argue that I’m being a muppet about this and maybe so, but I feel this is worth mentioning.
2. No A/C – Again I might be (probably am) being oober picky about this, but Otres is bloody hot. In a room with a much needed mozzy net holding in some of that unwanted heat, just the option of A/C would have been most welcome and afforded each of us a much better nights sleep. I appreciate installing A/C would probably be at great cost to the owners and so I stress that this isn’t a major deal, but again just a little something worth mentioning.
So there you have it. Otres beach is a place of great beauty and fun times. If visiting Sihanoukville and fancy staying somewhere that bit quieter and more peaceful, you could do a lot lot worse than to book in at Footprints. BackpacksandBunkbeds.co.uk recommended.
Rates at Footprints start from just £3.50 per night for a dorm room bunk and £8 for a double room. Visit HostelBookers.com for more information and to book.