Phsar Chas - Siem Reap Old Market

If you want to experience how Cambodian people do their shopping, you must take some time out to visit some of the country’s markets. The biggest Cambodian markets are found across Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, the country’s three biggest cities. Considering that you have to go to Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat and the rest of the temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park, one of the markets you should try visiting is Phsar Chas.

See also What to See inside Angkor Wat

Phsar Chas, known in English as the Siem Reap Old Market, is, in fact, the oldest market in the city of Siem Reap. Visiting the market will give you greater insight regarding how Cambodians do their daily shopping and also about the things on offer at Cambodian markets in general.

Here we will talk about Phsar Chas and all the things to try out once you reach the market.

Where is the Siem Reap Old Market?

The Siem Reap Old Market is one of those places in Siem Reap that you don’t have to search for. It’s a place that everyone knows. Located right in the city’s heart, the market is easily accessible.

If you are somewhere near the center of town, then you can simply walk your way to the market. If you are on the fringes of Siem Reap, then you can hop aboard any vacant taxi or tuk-tuk and ask the driver to take you to the market.

How to Reach?

Phsar Chas is located only 1.5 km from the city center via Pokambor Avenue. The best ways to reach the old market are:

Tuk-Tuk: Take a shared Tuk-Tuk ride to the market for $3 per traveler. It takes approximately 5 minutes to reach.
By Foot: Since the old market is centrally located, it can be easily reached by walking from downtown Siem Reap. It can around 15-20 minutes to reach Phsar Chas.

What Kind of Market is Phsar Chas?

If you are expecting a modern supermarket, then get ready to be disappointed. While the Siem Reap Old Market has definitely seen renovations over the decades, it does not compare to any modern-day supermarket.

The entire market is covered, which makes it a market where shoppers don’t have to sweat it out profusely, particularly during the summer months. However, it must also be mentioned that shops here don’t feature air-conditioning. All the shops are open-air.

Things You Can Buy in Phsar Chas

•  Fruits and Vegetables: The main market area that lies in the very heart of the market plays host to fruit and vegetable sellers selling a delectable array of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Phsar Chas is the market that most Siem Reap residents come to for buying quality fruits and vegetables at the most reasonable rates. If you want to know what fruits and vegetables Cambodians are most interested in, you should definitely stop by the fruit and vegetable section.

•  Meat and Seafood: While one section of the central area is dedicated to selling fruits and vegetables, another section plays host to the meat and seafood sellers. If you want to buy your own meat and seafood and cook it instead of going to restaurants in Siem Reap, this is where you should come for your seafood and meat shopping.

•  Grocery Stores: The market is dotted with typical grocery stores that sell daily-use items. These run-of-the-mill shops often store a wide variety of dry fruits such as raisins and nuts and if you are a dry fruit fan, you should go to these shops.

•  Souvenir and Handicrafts Shops: The Phsar Chas market has many handicrafts and souvenir shops that sell a variety of locally made handicrafts and also souvenirs made in neighboring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.

You could definitely try visiting these shops to find interesting accessories, bags, clothing, handicrafts and souvenirs that you may want to take back from Cambodia.

•  Outdoor Gear Shops: If you are in need of backpacks, boots and other outdoor gear that can help you in your adventures in Cambodia, then you could visit the outdoor gear shops in the market.

Be warned, however, that these shops generally sell fake goods. While you may see top brand names on products, these are usually fake and the shopkeepers make every effort to sell these fake gears at exorbitant prices to tourists.

Tips for a Fantastic Phsar Chas Experience

Experiencing a Cambodian market can be either amazing or really frustrating. It all really depends on the timing and how you go about interacting with the people running the stalls and shops inside the market. For having a memorable experience in Phsar Chas, here are some tips that may come in handy.

•  Visit in the early hours of the morning to have an authentic Cambodian breakfast. The market opens for visitors at 7:30 AM. Get there by 8:00 AM to enjoy some scrumptious local breakfast.

Some of the most popular breakfast items in Cambodia include Num Banh Chok, which is a rice noodle preparation, Kuy Teav, a China influenced Cambodian dish that features a minced pork cooked broth, and Nom Korng, Cambodian donuts that are perfect for dessert.

•  If you visit the souvenir and handicraft shops, be prepared to bargain. If the shopkeepers get wind of the fact that you are a tourist, they will make every attempt to rip you off.

No matter what they quote for the products in their shop, you should pay them no more than 50-75% of their asking price.

Phsar Chas is not something that tourists go to Cambodia for. However, once you do visit it, you are sure to know much more about how the populace of Siem Reap goes about their day-to-day lives.

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