The Otres Market isnt really what I’d call a market. Taking place each Saturday (seasonal) from 4pm onwards, the Otres Market is more of a musical showcase I would say, throwing a lineup of well travelled singer songwriters in front of a mellow crowd who gather around to sip beer and make new friends whilst sitting crossed legged on a sea of woven mats. All under the watchful eye of a giant clock tower which had the time painted on and so couldn’t actually tell you the time.
Its a very chilled out venue, in stark contrast to pretty much every other market I’ve visited in Asia. Where normally I have been pounced upon by any and every stall owner to purchase whatever it is they have to sell, not so in the Otres market, and that was mainly due to the fact that there were very few stalls in operation, maybe 10 (out of possible 25), most of which were selling food and drink. There were one or two clothing stalls, and one selling ‘herbal remedies’, another boasting some interesting if not a little trippy artwork, but amongst the whole market the bar was easily the most popular.
Was it a disappointment? On reflection no not really, just more a shock or surprise. I think my girlfriend was looking forward to blowing a bit more of our travel budget on more clothes she didn’t really need. I was looking forward to finding a few food stalls and trying some interesting cuisine. Whilst neither of our hopes materialised, its not to say we didn’t enjoy our evening at the market. We enjoyed a beer or two whilst listening to some of the acts on stage and had a little play on the rope swing – before some small children bullied us off of it. It was nice, just to be able to sit out in the open and under dimmed lights without anything too manic happening around you, which is rare for Cambodia. One thing I would say though is that the food sold at the market seemed to be quite expensive, I guess as a result of such little competition. I would advise that you get some food before heading to the market.
Once all the musicians are finished I am led to believe that a DJ stirs up a bit more energy from the crowd, but to be honest I never made it that far, the heat and beer beating me into bed at our Sihanoukville hostel around midnight. Whilst the market opens from 4pm I would argue that to arrive any time before 8pm might be too early. You’ll quickly discover that the Otres market is very small and that there isnt a great deal to see, its just a cool place to hang out for a while. Getting there is easy enough, just ask a local tuk tuk driver, they all know it. I was told that you COULD walk it, from the Otres beach area but that after dark it was not advisable – whether that was due to safety or just general getting lost I am unsure, but it only cost us $3 (one way) between a group of 5 for the tuk tuk. Obviously if yo’re based up at Serendipity the cost will be a little higher, around $7 I believe.
Tired of getting wrecked on Serendipity beach? Why not hit up Otres instead and check out the Otres Market, probably the least markety market I’ve ever visited, but an interesting evening out.