Siem Reap is now one of the best places in the whole of Cambodia to shop, both for essentials and for gifts and souvenirs for your friends back home. You could certainly kit out a whole house with art, statues and furniture from the shops and markets of Siem Reap. Only Phnom Penh compares as an alternative. Not only is it a superb place to buy souvenirs of Cambodia itself, such as handicrafts, silks, textiles and contemporary art, but recently the traditional shopping outlets have been complemented by up-to-the-minute shops, including boutiques and galleries.
The town used to have only three main markets, in the centre there is the Central Market and the Old Market. Additionally, there is a very large market a few kilometres along national road 6 known as Phsar Leu or the upper market, this is a market for local shoppers and has a huge range of fruit, vegetables and clothes. Even thought its not aimed at tourists its well worth a visit if you want to see a slice of real Cambodia.
The Old Market (known locally as Phsar Chas) is a must for the keen bargain hunter as well as those interested in Cambodian culture as it offers a unique and very ‘local’ taste of the shopping experience. The Old Market has a large range of traditional souvenirs like handicrafts, bags, jewellery and goldsmiths, as well as musical instruments and silverwork. You’ll soon see with your own eyes that the average Cambodian buys their provisions at one of these old style markets everyday, and there are fresh fruit and vegetables piled high – grab three mangos for a dollar for a healthy snack. You can wander the aisles and see live fish in tanks available to buy, you cant ask for fresher than that!
While there are shops such as art and photo galleries, boutiques and others situated all over, the fact is that there is a greater concentration of these establishments in the Phsar Chas area than elsewhere in town, spreading out into the lanes and alley ways that surround Pub street.
A recent and very successful addition to the shopping venues in Siem Reap has been the Angkor Night Market, this is entirely focussed on souvenirs and is a very pleasant place to shop in the evening when the air is cooler. As well as market stalls it hosts two outdoor bars serving awesome cocktails and a food court with well priced meals. In fact, so successful has it been that there is another night market just across the river, not quite as big as the more established night market but very similar in scope.