Phsar Thmei

If you are staying Phnom Penh of Cambodia, then you are in for lots of shopping. The capital city offers a wide array of options to all the shopaholics. The markets of Phnom Penh are no more restricted to the selling of cheap local products like watches, bags, and junk jewelry. Spectacular shopping malls and boutiques are also there to welcome you.

If you do not have enough time and want to explore the best shopping destination of Phnom Penh, then you must visit Phsar Thmei or Central Market. Check out the below given details for wonderful shopping experience:

Central Market or Phsar Thmei

The literal meaning of Phsar Thmei is "New Market." It is the biggest shopping center in the capital city of Phnom Penh. The entire market area sits under one of the largest domes of Asia. It acts as a meeting point for the tourists as well as the locals. You will get a wide array of products there, ranging from fresh vegetables, fruits, clothing, souvenirs, knock-off bags, junks jewelry, flowers, electronics, silver and gold, precious stones, kitchenware and so on. The sheer length of the list is exciting, isn't it? The dome above makes the shopping experience all the smoother and convenient. You can enjoy shopping even during the wet rainy season. Also, the warm, dry summers will not bother you as the covered market will protect you from heat.

Cambodia Phsar Thmei
Phsar Thmei - The Biggest Shopping Center in Phnom Penh

The Central Market is located at the top of the Central Business District. You will get to witness the exquisite architectural beauty of it. The French Development Agency provided around $4 million in 2009 for the reconstruction of the market. The building is yellow in color. You will be able to explore lots of alleys and stalls in the Central Market. Once you are tired of shopping, stop by the food court to taste the local delicacies. Charge yourself up by devouring a glass of smoothie and again head for another round of shopping.

History of Phsar Thmei

The area occupied by the Central Market now was earlier a swampland. During the rainy season, it used to get flooded. The French Protectorate of Cambodia did not find this swamp attractive and appealing in the middle of the city. They decided to drain the area and build a large market complex. Jean Desbois designed the Central Market, and Louis Chauchon supervised the entire process.

Central Market came into existence in the year 1935-37. It used to be the largest market in Asia. The Central Market faced several problems. For instance, it kept facing the problem of floodwater during the rainy season. Also, during the Franco-Thai War, a Thai aircraft bombed the entire area of the Central Market. After World War II, people rebuilt the Central Market. However, it continued to be in a deteriorated state until the reconstruction in 2009.

What Can You Expect from Phsar Thmei?

Central Market appears to be cold and vast. Lots of visitors’ flock in Phsar Thmei, making it a bustling market all around the day. The Central Market is full of goods like antique coins, electronic items, flowers, intricate silver and gold wares, traditional and imported Cambodian clothing, and local watches, and so on. One cannot give a miss to the delectable food items too.

No matter whenever you visit the Central Market, you will always experience an effervescent crowd there. If you are looking for jewelry items, go towards the interior. You will come across many ornaments and jewelry that are unmatchable in style and design.

Design, Structure, and Layout

The yellow dome and the four wings, together make this market quite a unique one. There are lots of stalls along with the four wings of the building. There are many stalls in the space between the wings. They sell products like Buddha statues, Angkor Wat paintings, t-shirts, souvenirs, flowers, etc. You will get to taste the food items on the western side of Central Market, towards the Monivong Boulevard.

How to Reach Phsar Thmei or Central Market?

The Central Market, indeed, is one of the best market places of Phnom Penh, situated at a distance of 9.2km (5.7 miles)/23 minutes, very easily accessible from within the city. The Central Market is located on street 128.

Go to the northwest corner of the market, and you will reach the taxi stand. There is also a bus stop located at the south-west exit of the Central Market. So to reach this place, you can either travel by Phnom Penh City Bus- 03- Blue Line, which will cost you US$0.37; or travel conveniently by taxi or tuk-tuk. You can also choose to reach the market via motorbike taxis, feasible for a single person.

Taxis and Tuk-Tuk fares

•    Tuk Tuk Fare - $15 (per day)
•    Taxi Fare - $ 20 - 40 (depending on the distance)
•    Bike Rental Fare - $ 4 - 5 (per day)

Key Details

•  Entry fees: Entry is absolutely free.
•  Visiting hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
•  Visiting days: Open on all days

Pro-tip: Try to use your bargaining skills as the prices are quite high because Cambodia is a popular tourist place.

If you love shopping and want to take souvenirs of Cambodia back home, then pay a visit to the Phsar Thmei or Central Market. Use all your bargaining skills and shop till you drop. The wide variety of collections will leave you spellbound. Keep in mind the above-given details and set out on a shopping spree.


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