Shopping in Phnom Penh is realistically limited to only the Markets, because the Malls are just too expensive comparably and also the fashion is too out-dated for most tourists. Whereas, the Markets provide a greater variety of choices and surprisingly, the shops around Russian Markets are selling some pretty decent clothing.
So first up, the Central Market or Phsar Thmey.
This building is a distinctive landmark in Phnom Penh, a unique art deco interpretation of a traditional market. Four arms of the market converge in a soaring dome at the hub, some say it reflects the four arms of the chaktomuk (the convergence of the Mekong River).
The central section of the main market building displays an amazing collection of gems and jewellery.
Branching off to the four directions are mainly Souvenir vendors offering curios, statuary, handicrafts, silks, t-shirts, postcards, etc.
Looking to add on to that G-Shock collection? You can probably find some limited edition (only in Phnom Penh) in this pile too.
There is a stretch of ladies providing manicure and pedicure services too.
If you are done with the interior sections, you have just completed about half of the entire market. The other half is just outside surrounding the dome building (covered by the unique green canopy) with equally fascinating variety of crafts and also some local food, there is also a wet market portion. With the canopies, the entire outdoor market is also very cooling, smart idea.
If you have a strong stomach, then try the local dessert, which looks like some coconut with jelly item.
For Kless and I, the best deal was the local coffee. 2 cups of coffee for KHR5000 (abt US$1.25). If you don’t like it to be too sweet, remember to remind the Uncle to add less milk.
Every time I travel overseas, I have wanted to try the hair stylist there, but so far no real courage yet, but as you can see from the photo below, the waiting queue for the business seems very good.
Some shots of the local businesses and people.
Before we left the place, accidentally found this interesting craft along one of the narrow lanes, gold craft. The crafters were melting and re-designing the gold jewelleries for the customers on the spot. Amazing!
We did not leave without any purchase, at least we got Joey a face mask so that she can be protected on the Tuk Tuk rides.
Secondly, the Russian Market or Phsar Toul Tom Poung.
This market became the foreigner’s market during the 1980’s when most of the foreigners in Cambodia were Russians, hence the name. Unlike the Central Market this is a classic traditional market – a single level collection of stalls and has a larger, more varied selection of souvenirs, curios and silks.
After you have selected your textile, you can bring it over to the many seamstresses available and tailor-make a set of new clothing. For the guys, the tailor-made suits are pretty cheap too, but personally I think the tailor quality in BKK is better.
Food and drink stalls are in the middle of the market.
I would recommend the adventurous eaters to try some of the road side stalls like this which was selling clams.
Or this stall selling sausages.
Of course there are still the ‘safer’ food available. This pineapple seller cuts and skin the pineapple on the spot for you, so I feel is more hygienic.
After trying out the various food, go back in and shop some more.
One more tip, remember to exchange your USD for KHR before you head to the markets.