Local Markets - Best Places for Shopping in Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is a city filled with markets and sometimes it can be hard to know what market you should visit and where to find what. For the visitor it is truly an exotic adventure into the cultural delights of this fascinating city with some great photo opportunities and a chance to meet charming locals, you can wander around for hours in some of these markets and visiting at least a couple of them is an absolute must for any traveler.
Panorama View of Central Market
1. Shopping in Central Market Phnom Penh (Phsar Thmei)
This market is located on Street 128 (Kampuchea Krom), Daun Penh District, an iconic location in downtown Phnom Penh. This is the landmark of the city as you can spot this distinctive architectural building from several main streets in Phnom Penh. The Central Market was built in 1937 during the French colonial period, in Art Deco style, painted golden yellow both interior and exterior. It consists of four wings dominated by a central dome, the design allows maximum ventilation.
The market entrance
The market is filled with stalls selling gold and silver jewelry, souvenirs, handicrafts, silks, electronic equipment, clothing and accessories, and dried and fresh food. Central Market is your best bet to find gold, precious gems, and other jewelry, as the quality will be better than what you will find in the other markets. Central Market offers the freshest and most varied food selection, so if food shopping is on your list, it’s a good choice. Make sure to arrive early before all of the best food and produce has been picked through. Prices are a bit higher here than some of the other markets although the shopping experience will be more enjoyable than the stifling heat, offensive smells, and grime you will have to deal with in some of the cheaper locations.
Inside The Central Market
2. Shopping in Russian Market Phnom Penh
The Russian Market is located in the south part of Phnom Penh and is known to the locals as Phsar Toul Tom Poung. Russian Market is the most popular market among tourists and expats and probably the best place to pick up souvenirs. The reason why it is called the Russian market is because it was a popular market among the Russian expats during the 1980s when most of the western expats in Phnom Penh were Russian.
Toul Tom Pong (Russian Market) From The Outside
The Russian market is quite well-known as it is often included in Phnom Penh city tours. This is a great place to see local life. It does not look nice much from the outside because it is narrow and sometimes steamy inside, most of the stalls do not have to air-condition or even a fan. The Russian Markets are busy and full of people, as well as being suitable to buy thousands of things and gifts. Here you will find a large range of textiles and antiques, a varied selection of souvenirs, curios, and silks, clothing, household goods, as well as bootleg DVDs and knock-off designer handbags. They can also be purchased for more reasonable prices than what you find in Central Market, so do not hesitate to bargain. In the middle of the market is a central food area.
Russian Market From The Birds Point Of View
3. Shopping at Phnom Penh Night Market
Another interesting place is Phnom Penh Night Market which mainly geared towards tourists and opens from 6 pm. to midnight, Friday to Sunday.
Phnom Penh's Night Market Entrance Sign
It offers a relatively limited selection of touristy items that can easily be found for better prices at the Russian Market. The nice thing about visiting the Night Market is its open-air location right next to the beautiful Tonle Sap Riverfront, the large variety of street food and late-night snacks, and the live Khmer music concerts.
Food Stalls Area At Night Market
Taking in the atmosphere as you wind your way through the maze of stalls in these markets is definitely an experience you will not soon forget.
Along with the markets listed in this guide, Phnom Penh offers a number of other markets such as Olympic Market, Boueng Keng Kang Market, Kandal Market, and the Old Market... If you want to take a deeper look into Cambodian life, you can always try to check them out.
Afterward, when visiting Phnom Penh, it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to see the variety of markets, which are not just tourist curiosities but a huge part of local ritual life.
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Image Sources: Internet