With so many markets in Phnom Penh which one do you visit and why? If you want to get a real Cambodian experience and soak up a slice of history at the same time, then we recommend Central Market (Phsar Thmey) and here is why.
History of Central Market
Phnom Penh’s Central Market is a magnificent art deco landmark in the capital. In the view of many people, including our editor, it is the city’s most beautiful building. Designed by architect Jean Desbois and supervised by fellow architect Louis Chauchon, the market opened in 1937, when it was the largest market in Asia. It contains a 26-metre high central dome, with four arches branching out diagonally creating a vast amount of space for traders. As such, it seems a lot less claustrophobic than other Cambodian markets, such as Russian Market.
The market was refurbished in 2011 and restored to something close to its former glory.
Shopping at Phsar Thmey
Inside you can immerse yourself in hallways filled with everything from the latest technological gadgets, jewellery and local handicrafts, to clothes and local food produce.
For those looking for rainy season protective wear or to re-stock essential travel items, this is definitely the place to head. You can test your bartering skills inside with the local shop owners.
The market itself is surrounded by a one-way traffic system that can become quite congested at busier times of day. Early mornings are your best bet to avoid traffic and bag a bargain, as in traditional Cambodian culture the first customer of the day is normally entitled to a discount to bring good luck.
Where Is Central Market?
The great thing about Central Market is its central location. If you are in central Phnom Penh this is the place to go and can help you avoid the traffic that your more than likely to encounter when visiting Russian Market (Phsar Toul Tom Pong).
As you can see from the above building, Central Market is close to another of the capital’s landmark buildings Vattanac Tower. You can also walk from here along Norodom Boulevard to the Independence Monument.