Otres Market ផ្សារអូរត្រេះ
The area to the south of Otres Village, known as Otres Riverside, has become a laid-back enclave and home to a jumble of alternative souls who favour a simpler life, and the odd wild party. There, along the banks of a squiggly river, the Ou Trojak Jet, they have established themselves among the newly developing resorts. They have also built the site for Otres Market, a weekly “bizarre bazaar” with plenty of live music, food, drink and a string of market stalls selling everything from jewellery to crystals to cheese cake.
The space is not enormous, but there’s plenty of room to meander around the 20-odd stalls where you can pick up clothes, jewellery, essential oils, a proper cup of chai, crafts and souvenirs, and food, including pizza and the aforementioned cheese cake.
And if you’re not up for buying, there is a wide open space right in the middle just for hanging out, chatting, and taking it all in, including the live bands. On the other hand, in case you might be finding things a little too chill, they have a solution in a virtual reality headset and games station, which attracted much attention, and laughter, throughout the night when we stopped by.
The market opens at 16:00, making it accessible even to families with young children. Some might feel that it is child-inappropriate later on, but that is a matter of perspective. Even late in the evening, Otres Market felt like a safe and inclusive environment. You may need to have a ready answer for the question “Mummy, what’s a space cake?” though.
The musicians take to the stage at about 20:30 and, to be honest, we were genuinely surprised at how good they all were. During our visit, celebrated Bangkok band Count The Thief were among the six-strong line up and their original indie rock tunes kept the audience completely spellbound. It was almost like attending a real concert, a most unusual sensation in Cambodia.
The stage and bar are set into a huge wooden building known as The Barn, where there’s also a large kitchen serving a number of dishes like amok and other Cambodian favourites. The food smelt tantalising, especially the pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven.
Things really start to take off here after 22:00, when the crowd fills out and the party kicks up a gear. You’ll need your Klang beer (“klang” is Khmer for “strong”) to keep up.