The market forms an integral part in Cambodians’ lives, with daily visits made to stock up on food for the day as well as other items. That means the capital of Phnom Penh is dotted with markets both large and small. Here are the capital’s top markets to visit.
Established in 1937, Central Market, known locally as Phsar Thmei, is a unique Art Deco interpretation of a traditional market, with a well-designed dome forming the centrepiece. Stalls sell everything from jewellery, gems and trinkets to homeware, food, souvenirs and handicrafts. The central dome is surrounded by stalls. This market is popular with tourists, with prices reflecting that.
Natively known as Phsar Toul Tom Poung, this market is another popular spot with the tourist crowd, who flock there to barter a bargain on the range of handicrafts and handmade goods sold there. They include woodcarvings, silks, musical instruments and miniature Buddhas. Clothes, accessories, bootleg CDs and DVDs, fruit and veg, household items, motorbike parts and everything in between can also be found in the spiderweb of stalls.
Popular with the young Khmer crowd, the Night Market, or Phsar Reatrey, is an open-air evening affair located on riverside. A collection of stalls sell clothes, accessories and food, with a central stage hosting live performances in the form of singers, musicians and dancers. It can get lively at weekends and while the stalls don’t sell anything of particular interest, it makes a good spot to stop off before dinner and drinks on riverside.
If you want a taste of authentic market life, then head to Old Market, or Phsar Chas, because this is where the locals shop. You’ll find no souvenirs here, instead there is an array of tropical fruit and vegetables, slabs of meat hanging from hooks, fish flapping in pots, chickens being plucked and plenty of deals being brokered. This is likely the market you will visit if you take a cooking class with a market tour.
Orussey Market is another authentic affair and can be daunting to the untrained. Spread across three floors, this is a cramped and crowded spot, with stalls selling everything from clothes, fresh food, household items, electronics and motorbike parts. Expect crowds and chaos, and come armed with heaps of patience.
The container market trend has swept over from Thailand, with Jet’s Container Night Market proving popular with the young, cool Khmer crowd who flock there each evening to snack on food, drink beer or iced coffee, hang out with friends and listen to live music. There are also stalls selling quirky T-shirts and other items designed by entrepreneurial locals.