Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Phnom Penh’s Central Market ( Phsar Thmei )

Just came back from a recent holidays to Phnom Penh. For the next few posts, I will blog about the various places I have visited during my 4 days’ stay at Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Cambodia is famous for its Buddhist temples as well as its long history of cruel regime under Pol Pot where many Cambodias were tortured to death. As such, today, Cambodia has a Killing Field and Genocide Museum to “tell” the stories of its gruesome past.

Fast forward to present, shopaholics who would like to get hold of some souvenirs from Cambodia can do so at the Central Market. The market sells a wide variety of items including handicrafts, silks, t-shirts, postcards. According to a source I found from the Internet, prior to 1935, the market area was a swamp/lake known as Beng Decho that received the runoff during the rainy season. The lake was drained and the market constructed in 1935-37, during the French colonial period, and originally dubbed the “Grand Market”. As I have a colleague who likes to collect stamps, I am disappointed that I can’t find any stalls in the market selling souvenir stamps. There are a few stalls which sell locally printed tourist guide books ie Lonely Planet etc. I bet that you will be approached by a few mobile vendors who will try to sell you lottery tickets, bookmarks, travel guides.

Central Market 1One of the 4 entrances to Central Market 

Along the entrances to Central Market, you will find mostly stalls selling clothings & clothing accessorries, fridge magnets and fresh flowers. At the centre of the Central Market, you will find items mostly like watches (read fake designer brands), fashion jewelleries, handphone mobile accessories. Do note that Central Market sells a combination of wet & dry goods. There is a section of the market which sells poultry meat and vegetables. Hawker food is also available in the market.

The items being sold in the market are mainly quoted in USD and price haggling and deep bargaining is a must. Please, please bargain for 50% of the price being offered by the seller. Do bear in mind that Central Market is popular for tourists. Therefore, prices of items here are mostly marked-up.


The dome inside Central Market 

Central Market is opened from early morning around 7am to late afternoon. Tuk tuk (motorcycle taxi) are freely available outside the Central Market. Happy shopping!!

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