8 Traditional Markets To Visit In Phnom Penh
Happy October everyone!
After spending the weekends with family and friends who came to visit us in Phnom Penh, we forgot to go to our weekly market to get our groceries (yikes!). Phnom Penh has a good range of markets catering to locals and tourists who are looking for daily items or something to bring home as souvenirs. These markets can easily be found around the city as they are well known amongst the locals, especially the tuk tuk drivers. Each market is different and has something special to offer so if you’re in for some shopping activities, you can check out the list below or ask the local for any other good market finds.
#1 Central Market (Psar Thmey)
Also known as Psar Thmey (pronounced as Sar-Themai), the Central Market is considered to be one of the modern looking local market in town. It is also the shadiest (so far) with plenty of space to walk from outdoors to indoors. It was built in 1937 and shaped like a dome with four entrances (north, south, east, west) leading to various stalls. Remembering the entrances is useful in case you can’t remember where the tuk tuk dropped you off. You can start roaming outside of the dome where household items, souvenirs, wet market, fruits, vegetables, fresh flowers, clothes, spices, cloths can be found. Bargain for a good price when possible as they tend to give a higher price to tourists. After that make your way inside the dome where you can see many jewelry counters and enough bling for the eyes. Most of them would be selling silver and fake stones while some are more honest in telling you what materials are used. We often come here for household items and to buy fish because the price is better than other markets in town. The location of the Central Market is also good because there are many shops around it if you wish to continue shopping for the day.
Address: Central Market. Neayok Souk, Phnom Penh 855 | Opens: 07:00 – 18:00 daily | Brownie points: Shady market, good for jewelry and souvenir shopping.
#2 Russian Market (Psar Tuol Tom Pong)
Not to be confused with Psar O’Russei, this market reminds us of the expansive Chatuchak market in Bangkok. There are many entrances leading inside to this market and since the stalls are so close to one another, it would be good if you took note of where you entered by remembering the stalls as the landmark. The Russian Market became popular in the 1980s when most of the foreigners in Cambodia were Russian, hence the name Russian market. The market has a lot of things that you can find from antique teapots, arts, lingeris, shoes, clothes, household items, cloths, souvenirs, local handmade crafts like bags or wallets. There’s a few jewelry shop here but not as many as the ones in Central Market. If you’re hungry and adventurous enough to try some local delights, look out for the food market area somewhere in the middle and order from any of the stalls there.
Address: Psar Tuol Tom Pong. 155, Phnom Penh | Opens: 07:00 – 17:00 daily | Brownie points: Antique and art finds
#3 Boeung Keng Kang (BKK) Market
BKK is known as the expats area or what we refer to as the Mont Kiara of Kuala Lumpur. Over here you can find one market which caters to this area and surprisingly the prices are all quite affordable. We go here for our weekly grocery items such as halal chicken and vegetables because the wet market area is quite neat and organized. We heard from a local friend that the BKK Market is a good place to find vintage clothes, shoes and handbags. We did find it odd that the vegetables sellers organized themselves between the clothes lane and this calls for another visit soon. If the vintage finds are any good, we might just skip the malls and head here for clothing and shoes items.
Address: Boeung Keng Kang Market. Between St. 380 & St. 392, BKK1, Phnom Penh | Opens: 07:00 – 17:00 daily | Brownie points: Vintage shoes and clothes
#4 Olympic Market (Psar Olympic)
The Olympic Market located near the Olympic Stadium is a big building that houses wholesalers and theirs items in bulk. It does remind me of our own Kenanga Mall back in Kuala Lumpur except it has lesser floors. Walk into the entrance and go through each lanes and corners in search of cloths for tailoring purposes (cheap prices too!), shoes, handbags, pajamas and clothes. Most of the shops or other markets in Phnom Penh get their items from Olympic Market and resell them at a slightly higher price. So you can try your luck bargaining with the sellers but they would only budge if you buy in bulk at a time. That would appeal to me if I was a tourist and needed 5 pairs of slippers in different colors for my families by the way but you’re welcome to try your luck and walk out with tons of goodies home.
Address: Olympic Market. Street 193, Phnom Penh | Opens: 07:00 – 17:00 daily | Brownie points: Wholesale items
#5 Orussey Market (Psar Orussei)
The stalls at the Orussei Market were mostly closed when we came for a visit, probably because it was a public holiday. Nevertheless we went inside and on the ground floor was the wet market selling meats, vegetables, all kinds of seafood, even grilled pork meat. Actually this market has the most pork meat sellers we’ve ever seen so for those who love this will know where to find them now. Upstairs you’ll find a maze of stalls selling clothes and plenty of cosmetic jewelry for the young and hip. The crowd here are mostly teenagers looking for trendy clothes and make-up items but there’s also a few stalls catering to the adults. We found some cute baby clothes for our friends babies here with good price and many design options.
Address: Orussei Market. Street 182, Phnom Penh | Opens: 07:00 – 17:00 daily | Brownie points: Young and hip items
#6 Phnom Penh Night Market (Psar Reatrey)
The night market happens every weekend from Friday – Sunday and this is equivalent to the night market back home except that it appeals to tourists and travelers in the city. From the main door you can already see the stalls lined up on your right and left, a long lane separated by the main stage in between. Yes there is a stage for singing and dancing performances by the local community. When you go walk behind the stage, you’ll find the food area with seating mats surrounded by the stalls. There are 2 halal spots here with one selling fried rice, porridge and drinks while the other stall sells padthai, spring rolls and curry mee. We’ve tried both and they’re really good. Whenever you order from one of the stalls here just make sure that you sit at the designated area. We were asked to move because we had bought food from another stall and sat on the mat belonging to another one. If you’re not sure, you can ask the stalls before buying their food.
Address: Phnom Penh Night Market. Riverside, Phnom Penh | Opens: 16:00 – midnight| Brownie points: A nice place to bring friends who come to visit.
#7 Kandal Market (Psar Kandal)
The Kandal Market is one of the nearest markets in my neighborhood but I heard that due to its location on lower ground, it tends to get into a real bad flood if there’s heavy rain. On other sunny days, the Kandal or Old Market is the best place to get fresh vegetables and fruits in the morning. The name Kandal means “market in the middle” although it is not to be confused with the modern Central Market. It’s more like the morning wet market at home and you’ll see plenty of local housewives (and husbands), with their shopping baskets filled with vegetables and seafood. The walkways can be small and narrow but you’ll be able to find food and clothes further in, however majority of the stalls here are fresh food for the locals.
Address: Kandal Market. Preah Ang Eng, Riverside, Phnom Penh | Opens: early morning – 17:00 | Brownie points: The smell of fresh vegetables and fruits (ahhh..)
#8 Psar Chas
Psar Chas or pronounced as Sa-Cha is another traditional market that is located just behind the Phnom Penh Night market. Most of the markets especially Psar Chas opens from as early as 5am to the evening time and you’ll already be able to see many people (some in their pajamas) buying groceries. Whenever we go here, we’ll pass the row of stalls selling local books followed by a row of sellers selling colorful fruits (mostly bananas and mangosteen) before reaching the row of more banana sellers and seafood stall. This is where we get our prawns and squids for the weekend as the price is reasonable. The unique thing about Psar Chas are the special delicacies that you can find throughout the markets such as barbecued spiders or crispy fried cockroaches, rice balls dipped in brown palm sugar for dessert and rice noodles. So if you’re adventurous in trying out the local delicacies Psar Chas is the best place to try them out.
Address: Psar Chas. (Near the Night Market) Phnom Penh | Opens: early morning – 17:00| Brownie points: Local delicacies like barbecued spiders and crispy fried cockroaches.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.