Sep 11 2012
When there’s a break in the rain during the monsoon, we drop everything and head for the beach; such was the case one recent Sunday afternoon, when we decided to head to Ochheuteal beach for dinner. Now while not everyone agrees with me that Serendipity is not a beach, since the old restaurants and bars on Ochheuteal were torn down and moved off the sand in 2010-2011, just about everyone can agree that Ochheuteal is.
The developed end of Ochheuteal beach is only about 1.5 kilometres long. Traverse the footpath from end-to-end and its character changes as you go; since everyone has different tastes, it would be foolhardy to recommend one bar or restaurant over another. Why not let serendipity be your guide? Start at the bottom of Serendipity Road at the pier and start walking south. Sooner or later, something will catch your eye and you’ll feel compelled to give it a try.
Although the restaurants and bars on Ochheuteal all look alike from the outside because of the zoning laws that were enacted before redevelopment, they don’t all feel alike. Some cater to backpackers, some to Cambodian families, and still others to whomever happens to be passing by.
Our group needed to find a spot that would appeal to both Cambodians and barang so we asked our tuk tuk driver to take us down the dirt road at the bottom of Mithona Road that leads to the beach. As the most direct route from many of the guesthouses and hotels on Mithona, Tola and Kanda Streets, this part of the beach seems to draw a broader mix of tourists than Serendipity Road or the access points further down Mithona Road.
We cut it a bit fine, but finally settled on a place to plant ourselves in time for a late afternoon swim. Our choice of venue was a good one: a French-run restaurant with mellow Western music, a beachfront barbecue and the obligatory 50 cent draft beer. Our meal arrived just in time for sunset. As you can see, the sunset attracted quite a bit of attention.
As the sky darkened, the fireworks vendors made their appearance. We bought some of the cheap poppers and left the more expensive real fireworks to a couple of wealthier families nearby. It was a good move. We started a mini-fad and were treated to a great fireworks display for nearly an hour.
By 20:00, we were ready to head home, with the late night party crowd set to replace us. Some restaurants close around this time, while others crank up the volume and stay open until the last partier stumbles out in the wee hours of the morning. So whether sunset or sunrise is your thing, Occheuteal should offer something to keep you happy.
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