Markets in Cambodia - Local Produce to the Best Souvenirs

Cambodia being an exotic Asian Country has a lot to offer in terms of food, lifestyle, and culture. To truly experience any place and get the essence of the place one visits one needs to visit the markets to know about the lifestyle of the locals, try the local cuisine, meet and interact with people. Here are a few markets in Cambodia that will provide you with the ultimate experience and bless your shopping souls.

Here Are Some of the Best Markets in Cambodia You Need to Visit -

1) Central Market (Phnom Penh) 

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Art Deco Phsa Thmei is also known as the Central Market, a reference to its location and size. The market was constructed in 1937 and is a strong standing and important landmark in the city. Shopping in Phnom Penh is a major tourist attraction and Central Market is a great hub to get souvenirs back home. This is one of those busy bazaars that are always filled with an effervescent crowd from one end to the other.

The market stocks everything right from food items to clothes, silverworks, and pieces of jewellery. You can also find electronic items and plenty of secondhand stuff that is retailed at affordable rates. Around the main buildings are stalls offering Krama (checked scarves), stationery, household items, cloth for sarongs, flowers and second-hand clothes, usually from Europe and the US. Central Market is undoubtedly the best of Phnom Penh's markets for browsing. It is the cleanest and has the widest range of products for sale. 

Opening hours are from early morning until early evening.

2) Phnom Penh Night Market

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It is not very difficult to find markets at any place but it is difficult to find one which is local, the one which reflects the lives of the locals. This being a true night market attracts a lot of tourists. The market is situated near the Ton Sap river, just 2 km from the city centre which makes the atmosphere here cool and fresh. 

The market has various shops selling clothes, fake jewellery, shoes, and other accessories. I would advise on checking out the local products which include handmade products like embroidered animal shapes with flower images on woven fabric to make bags, fabric, scarf, hats or traditional Khmer clothes. These symbols are familiar to the normal life of Cambodians like elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, tiger, chicken, cat, fish, snake, bird, butterfly, rumdum flower, etc.

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Souvenir shops are the most popular amongst tourists and the thing about these stores here is that each store has unique products and a wide variety to choose from. Amongst all these things this night market is brought to life by the live music that the Phsa Reatrey plays every weekend. They sing, dance and play instruments of the Khmer community, which livens the ambience and attracts a lot of spectators.

To top off the great shopping and the live music the aroma of the food here will leave you drooling for some barbecued fish, shrimp, meat or even vegetables. This market is also a great place to try the local cuisine like Amok trey, a traditional speciality, is a must-taste dish. It is elaborately processed: cooking fresh fish with coconut milk and curry sauce then adding turmeric, garlic, shallot, ginger or lemongrass to have a better savour. Food on a stick is a very popular concept here making eating in the bustling hassle-free. Another popular dish here is Nom Banh Chok.  A bowl of Banh Chok includes: rice vermicelli rice noodles with coconut curry broth, served with herbs, bean sprouts.

The market opens from 17.00 to 00.00, from Friday to Sunday.

3) Tuol Tom Poung Market

This Russian Market might not look like much from the outside but when you get in you will find everything from beautifully hand-carved statues, colorful lanterns and handmade silk scarves to fake bags, printed T-shirts and DVDs, making it a big hit among tourists and probably the best place to buy souvenirs. The Russian market is located in the south part of Phnom Penh and is known to the locals as Phsar Toul Tom Poung. The reason why it is called the Russian market is that it was a popular market among the Russian ex-pats during the 1980s when most of the western ex-pats in Phnom Penh were Russian.
The market is open from 6:30 am to 5 pm all seven days of the week. 

4) Orussey Market

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Orussey Market is a centrally located market geared towards the locals more than the tourist so you won’t find a lot of souvenir stores. The market houses a huge food section including the wet market with fresh meat, poultry, and seafood. Other items in abundance include houseware, hardware, and electronic goods. As the market sells essential items it is not so common among the tourists and filled with the locals which give a great opportunity to interact with locals and watch the people here in action making it a very offbeat place to visit. 

The market opens every day at 8 am and closes at about 5 pm. 

5) Siem Reap Local Market

Siem Reap Local Market
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Siem Reap is a local Market that houses Exotic fruits, fashion, souvenirs, artwork are some of the things that you get to discover here. Many locals, ex-pats and businesses buy their fruit and vegetables here. The market is also a great place to experience the finest street food. The market is divided into two parts:  Psar Chas or The Old Market and Psar Leu and The Upper Market.

The Old Market is located between Pub Street and the riverside and is truly the heart of Siem Reap. As the most popular and central market, it is frequently visited by both tourists and locals. Cooked food, herbs, and spices, raw meat, fruit and vegetables, souvenirs, local crafts, DVDs, clothes, shoes, jewelry, hair and makeup salons, artwork are some of the things available here. The market opens at around 8 am and closes at 6 pm. 

6) Phsar Leu Market

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Psar Leu is the most authentic market and is always bustling with locals. So much so that almost no English is spoken here. This market is excellent to source local raw meat, fruit and vegetables, snacks. One can also come across stores selling plastic wears, phones and electronics, clothes, shoes, toiletries, beauty and makeup, and jewellery.

The market works from 6 am to 6 pm. 

Tips While Shopping in the Markets of Cambodia

  1. Shopping locally helps the country’s tourism and provides for the lives of small business owners. 
  2. You get good deals on bargaining, so bargain your best.
  3. When you try the street food make sure that it is clean and hygienic, you do not want to be in an unknown land sick with something!

This post was published by Prachi Pansare

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