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Cambodia Travel Blog: Siem Reap Shopping and What to Buy

Posted by: Ms.Jessica on 2015-09-10 10:39:52

Shopping in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Being a tourist-related town, there are a great many shopping opportunities in Siem Reap and after hotels and tourism, shopping is big business. It’s not exactly ‘shop ‘til you drop’, but from cheap souvenirs to expensive gems and jewellery, and everything in between, you can find just about whatever you want here. There are three main local markets, three main night markets, and now two shopping centres and many 24-hour convenience stores. Khmer handicraft items exist in large quantities, and there are places that sell ‘antiques’. While some things may be actual old antiques, one should be careful when purchasing such items. People here have become very adept at making new things look old. Also, it is illegal to export Angkorian artifacts taken from ancient sites. In any event, you need to know what you are doing when dealing with antiques.

We have provided reviews from a selection of different shopping venues to hopefully save you time and money while shopping.

MOST POPULAR SHOPS IN SIEM REAP

Angkor Night Market

Angkor Night Market in Siem Reap, Cambodia

A good reason to visit Siem Reap is the Angkor Night Market. The first of its kind in Cambodia, Angkor Night Market was founded in 2007 with the prime mission to restore as well as preserve traditional Khmer handicrafts while alleviating poverty and improving the lives of Khmer people.

Luckily, locals and visitors have embraced this unique concept, and the original 100 stalls have now grown into a cluster of 250 or more over the years. Designed and constructed in a simple and traditional way, this night market is bounded by a Balinese themed garden and largely reflects the Khmer culture and heritage, with its well laid out thatched hut style stalls – all made using natural raw materials such as bamboo and wood.

Angkor Night Market Highlights

It’s truly a fun and experience to explore, dine, chill and shop after dark. The goods sold here, primarily by local communities as well as non-governmental organizations, encompass clothing, silk paintings, traditional handicraft items and wood and stone carvings. The biggest plus point is that majority of items you’ll come across here cannot be seen elsewhere. If you’re a promoter of green living, then the “Angkor Recycled” within the night market will interest you, with an extensive range of bags, wallets, purses and pouches made from recycled materials. Likewise, to take back home some stunning pieces of Khmer art and unique household items, be sure to stop by the night market’s Khmer Boutique, boasting of a vast array of traditional images and statutory carved out in stone or embellished in metals like silver and brass. Another interesting shopping spot in the market is the Pich Reamker Shop, with merchandise including theatrical masks and headwear made using authentic, traditional methods.If shopping is not your cup of tea and you just want to relax, then two of the market’s upscale dining options: Island Bar and Brick House Bar will not disappoint. You can further relieve your weariness by undergoing a stress-busting foot massage at the fish spa next to the Island Bar. It will cost you only around $3 for a 20-minute long massage. Above all, to get a slice of the Cambodian history, don’t miss the 3D cinema here, depicting the plight of people during the Pol Pot era. Opening Hours: From 16:00 till midnight.

Location: Conveniently located a few blocks away from the Old Market, off the Sivatha Blvd in Siem Reap.

Khmer Ceramic Centre

Khmer Ceramic Centre in Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you ever plan to visit Angkor Wat or Siem Reap, then definitely include Khmer Ceramic Centre in your to-do list. It not only provides a deep insight into the rich Khmer ceramic arts and culture that once flourished in the region from the early 9th century to the 15th century, but also allows you to take some fun souvenirs back home. Founded in 2006 as the National Centre for Khmer Ceramic Revival (NCKCR), the Khmer Ceramic Centre is a non-profit, non-government organization that strives for the resurgence of the Khmer pottery tradition by breathing in new life to this ancestral art.

Through this endeavour, the centre aims to mitigate poverty with free training for young deprived Cambodians to master this art, thus opening up an avenue for them to derive solid income. Aside from this, it buys the material needed for the packing of items from the local community in Siem Reap in order to support them. Since it is made up of ingredients such as palm leaves and sugar, this packing is eco-friendly and an excellent substitute for plastic bags.

Khmer Ceramic Centre Highlights

From the moment you step into the Khmer Ceramic Centre the first thing that you’ll come across is its boutique with its selection of top quality hand-made ceramic items reflecting Khmer art and culture, such as jars, cosmetic bottles, serving bowls, decorative bowls, tableware, oil burners and Khmer accessories. Products are developed using a blend of proven ancient Khmer ceramic production skills and latest techniques based on the research and studies on Khmer antiques. Developed in compliance with European Union regulations, each of the items produced here is as functional as beautiful. Perhaps the most interesting thing regarding this centre is that it enables you to get a deeper understanding of traditional and contemporary Khmer ceramic art, including stoneware, raku and salt-glazed wares. Further, you can observe the steps involved in the making of Khmer ceramic items that involve conversion of natural raw materials such as Khmer earth and stone into attractive pieces of art. Best of all, the centre provides the unique opportunity to experience the thrill and intricacy drawn in the creation of ceramic artifacts. You can participate in any of the following workshops under the guidance of friendly, experienced staff: Potter Wheel Workshop, Khmer Raku Workshop and Khmer Ancient Workshop. Also, you will receive a free gift as part of the workshop. Opening Hours: Daily from 08:00 to 19:30. Location: The centre is situated on Siem Reap’s outskirts on the Charles de Gaulle Boulevard, along the road to Angkor Wat. The National Museum is nearby. Address: Vithey Charles de Gaulle, Khum Slorkram, Siem Reap – Angkor.

Tel: +855 (0) 17 843 014.

Les Artisans d’Angkor

Les Artisans d’Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia

A visit to Artisans d’Angkor is a must to get a deep insight into the remarkable skilled workmanship of traditional handicrafts in Cambodia. It was established in 1998 as a subsidiary of the Chantiers-Écoles de formation professionnelle – a professional training school sponsored by the National Cambodian Institution, the European Union and the French Foreign Ministry to impart free vocational training in traditional Angkorian art forms to the country’s illiterate young people between the ages of 18 and 25. Founded as a three-year project, Artisans d’Angkor later became a limited company and is now an independent institution providing employment to over 1,000 dedicated craftsmen in the region while nurturing Khmer arts and crafts.

Through its network of 13 workshops spread across more than 10 villages in Siem Reap province, Artisans d’Angkor recruits 50 to 60 young apprentices from rural areas and trains them to gain authentic knowledge on Cambodian handicrafts as well as secure a sustainable career in their home villages.

Les Artisans d’Angkor

Artisans d’Angkor enjoys international recognition for the upscale artifacts that are the outcome of constant research, genuine materials and perfect colour as well as texture choices. Its workshops and boutiques serve as a platform to procure authentic information on traditional Khmer techniques deployed for lacquering and gilding, wood and stone carving and silk painting. For instance, stone carving is done here with sandstone that has been used by artisans since centuries to carve out stunning stone sculptures. Likewise, wood is carefully chosen to ensure that the end product will take after woodworks seen in ancient structures and pagoda embellishments. For silk paintings that depict the religious beliefs and poetic implications, the artisans d’Angkor uses special kind of colours made using natural pigments. Upon applying this colour on the motif and finishing it with a paintbrush as well as India ink, a gloss whose key ingredient is a natural wax is applied on it to provide an appearance that is akin to murals found in prehistoric temples. Additionally, a specialty of these paintings is that they are primarily created by young deaf women who are part of the NGO Krousar Thmey – an organization that is committed to render assistance to deprived children in Cambodia. Special attention and care is also given to develop such arts and craft items as bronze wares, traditional silver boxes, animal-shaped boxes, silver jewelry and silver boxes. Above all, don’t miss a visit to Angkor Silk Farm located about 12km west of Siem Reap to get a glimpse of the interesting procedures involved in the weaving of golden silk.

In addition to a main on-site boutique, Artisans d’Angkor also runs three duty-free boutiques within the premises of Siem Reap International Airport, Phnom Penh International Airport and Hong Kong Airport. Adjacent to Angkor Wat is another of its boutiques – Angkor Café, an air-conditioned facility carrying a selection of Khmer art and artifacts.

Good to Know about Les Artisans d’Angkor

Situated on the Thmey Street in Siem Reap, Artisans d’Angkor is close to the much famed Angkor Wat and Old Market. Entry to this craft school is free, and the services of English, French, Khmer, Japanese, Chinese, German and Thai guides are available from 07.30 to 17.30. Free tours are organized from Artisans d’Angkor to visit Angkor Silk Farm as well as its workshops. Location: Chantiers-Écoles, Stung Thmey Street, P.O Box 47, Siem-Reap.

Tel: +85 5639 63330.

LOCAL MARKETS IN SIEM REAP

As stated above, Siem Reap has three main Local markets. These are the Khmer style sprawling market places. They are all somewhat the same, but they are also somewhat different in the types of items they sell. Prices are always negotiable.

Old Market (Phsar Chas)

Old Market Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is the original Khmer market in Siem Reap, and has some of everything. Sells: souvenirs, silks, silver, jewellery, some antiques, clothes, shoes, household items, hardware, and fresh food. Also, Khmer food stalls, and sewing repair.

Location: Downtown near the Siem Reap River.

Central Market (Phsar Kandal)

Central Market Siem Reap, Cambodia

Sells: souvenirs, clothes, luggage, gems, silver, paintings, etc. Also, Khmer food stalls/restaurants.

Location: Downtown on Sivatha Blvd.

Phsar Leu

Phsar Leu Market in Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is a huge market where most local people go to buy. They sell food, clothes, shoes, tools, electronics, house wares, and almost anything else you would want.

Location: Hwy. No. 6 east of town.

Phsar Samaki

A somewhat smaller version of Phsar Leu. It is also on Highway No. 6, but closer to town.

Location: east of town on National Hwy. No. 6, on the way to Phsar Leu.

SIEM REAP NIGHT MARKETS

Noon Night Market

Noon Night Market in Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is the second oldest, and second largest of the night markets. They also sell the same type of souvenir items.

Location: Off of Sivatha Blvd. on same street to Angkor Night Market.

Siem Reap Night Market

Siem Reap Night Market, Cambodia

The newest and smallest night market, it offers mostly souvenirs, but also has antiques.

Location: Sivatha Blvd.

SHOPPING CENTRES IN SIEM REAP

Siem Reap now boasts 2 somewhat full-fledged shopping centers. They are not shopping centers as one would find in developed countries, but at least they are shopping centers.

Angkor Trade Center

Angkor Trade Center in Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is the first real shopping center in Siem Reap. On the 1st floor is a supermarket, Swensen’s Ice Cream, Pizza Company, and other shops. 2nd floor: clothes, shoes, electronics, etc. 3rd floor: games arcade.

Location: Near Old Market, on the river.

Lucky Mall

Lucky Mall in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Being the newest shopping center, it should be the biggest and best, but there are relatively few shops here. It does have a Lucky Burger and a very good Lucky Supermarket. Can be very crowded in the evening and on weekends.

Location: Sivatha Blvd., south of Hwy. No. 6.

OTHER SHOPS IN SIEM REAP

Angkor Gallery

Angkor Gallery Shop in Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is now the gallery for the Cambodian artist know as Asasax. Paintings by the artist are on display and for sale in the small gallery. The style of his art ranges from realism to abstract, to some pieces that are almost cartoon like. The major themes of his work involve Angkor temples, Khmer faces, and elephants. He works in a variety of media including oils, water color, and collage. Opening Hours: 08:00 to 21:00. Location: Achar Sva St., south of Wat Bo Bridge (east side of river).

Tel: (+855) 063-964369.

Art Deli

Art Deli in Siem Reap, Cambodia

This has to be one of the most unique art galleries in Siem Reap. Located in a 2-storey shop-house, it is very artsy and funky. At any one time, there are approximately 10 Cambodian artists displaying their works representing a variety of eclectic styles and techniques from detailed pen and ink drawings to abstract art and photography. The soft jazz music floats through the venue, while you enjoy the artwork, and sip your juice, coffee, beer or cocktails. Opening Hours: 09:00 to 23:30.

Location: The Alley West, Old Market area.

Art Work Gallery

Original works by the Cambodian artist S. Kheang are on display and for sale in this gallery. A range of media are used in his works, including acrylic, pastels, oil colors, Saa paper, canvas, silk, etc., and the works reflect the life experience of the artist growing up in Cambodia. They also do T-shirt design. Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00. Location: Sivatha Blvd., south of the Central Market.

Address: www.cambodianartwork.com.

Angkor Candles

The first thing you notice when you walk into this small shop is the beautiful aroma of the scented candles. All candles are handmade, and are made with fragrances such as jasmine and vanilla. Opening Hours: 10:00-21:00. Location: 565 Pi Thnou St., near the Old Market.

Tel: (+855) 63-760778, (+855) 12-988833.

Asia Craft Center

A rather pricey retail outlet selling products from many Asian countries. Lots of carpets, tapestries, and statues in somewhat ostentatious displays. They are aimed more at the upscale market. Location: Charles de Gaulle Ave. (road to Angkor Wat).

Tel: (+855) 63-760321, (+855) 012-772615.

Bloom Cambodia

Bloom Cambodia Siem Reap

They make unique handbags, and other products, out of completely recycled materials. Their products are actually a protest against waste, and the “throw away” culture. They believe in paying workers a fair wage, while helping the planet. Stop by if you are interested in helping the environment. Opening Hours: 10:00 to 22:00. Location: Corner of Street 7 and Pi Thnou St.

Tel: (+855) 092-601328.

Blue Apsara Book Shop

Blue Apsara Book Shop in Siem Reap, Cambodia

For used books in a variety of languages; this is the place. They have about 5,000 fiction and non-fiction books in English, French, German and Dutch. Its a good place to get used travel guides, especially for Southeast Asia. They buy, sell, and trade. Opening Hours: 09:00 to 23:00. Location: Street 9, near Capitol Bus.

Tel: (+855) 012-601483.

Blush Boutique

Blush Boutique is located in a quiet pedestrian alley in central Siem Reap and is a veritable Aladdin’s Cave offering a huge variety of items including; Clothes, swimwear, shoes and boots, full range of Spa and beauty Products, accessories from hair bands, rings, bracelets, necklaces and nose-studs to a selection of hand-bags and clutches, mobile phone ‘Bling’, stationary, wax hair-coloring,… and much more. The design is unique, fresh and inspiring, with a water feature and as the backdrop and a spacious changing room in the back. A tester area is also provided, equipped with a stylish wash basin to try all the Spa and beauty products. Whether you are treating yourself or hunting for that perfect gift for any occasion, Blush will provide the ideal shopping experience in a relaxed environment. Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00 . Location: The Lane, north of Pub Street, behind Temple Bar. Remarks: Gift Vouchers and loyalty schemes available.

Tel: 063-5555233.

Boutique Asia

Boutique Asia in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Featuring silks, wall hangings, and carpets, they have a large selection of arts and crafts products from all over Asia. They also offer quality clothing, dresses, bedspreads, shirts, and tablecloths. Opening Hours: 08:30 to 21:00. Location: Charles De Gaulle St., just north of the Angkor National Museum.

Tel: (+855) 63-964571, (+855) 13-525785.

New Apsara Market

Conveniently located on Wat Bo Road, it is the only market on the east side of the Siem Reap River that has a good selection of imported groceries. They cater to travelers and expats, and its a good place to stop in and stock up on canned goods, snacks, daily necessities, and drinks. Opening Hours: 07:00 to 23:00. Location: Wat Bo Road, a block south of Hwy. No. 6.

Tel: (+855) 63-966087.

Paris Sete

A small shop selling a variety of items. Old photos, bronzes, opium pipes, flags, postcards, and refrigerator magnets are just a few of the types of things for sale here. An interesting place to check out. Opening Hours: 10:00 to 23:00. Location: The Passage, south of Pub Street.

Tel: (+855) 012-593440.

Rajana

Run by a local non-profit association, it is a training project producing fair-trade products that blend contemporary designs with traditional Cambodian crafts. They sell quality handicraft products, and enable many village families to support themselves. Opening Hours: 08:00 – 23:00. Location: 153 Sivatha Street, north of Street #7.

Tel: 063-965344, 012-481894.

Rehab Craft

Operated by a non-profit organization, purchases here directly benefit employment programs for Cambodians with disabilities. They sell silks, carvings, and a wide variety of quality handicraft products at fair-trade prices. Opening Hours: 09:00 to 21:00. Location: 353 Pokombor Ave., near Angkor Trade Center.

Tel: (+855) 063-965104.

Samatoa

In Siem Reap for about 7 years, this shop specializes in tailor-made natural silk clothes, including suits, dresses, blouses and hats. Accessories also available. Opening Hours: 08:00 to 23:00. Location: 98 Pi Thou St., opposite the Provincial Hospital.

Tel: (+855) 063-965310.

Sao Mao Boutique

A craft boutique selling silk products, handcrafted silver, jewellery, coconut shell products, souvenirs, and hill-tribe products. Opening Hours: 09:00 to 21:00 (closed Sunday). Location: Street 9, opposite the Old Market.

Tel: (+855) 063-761224, (+855) 012-818130.

Siem Reap Book Center

Siem Reap Book Center, Cambodia

In addition to a wide selection of books, they also have clothes, silk products, bags, jewellery, CDs, stationary, souvenirs, postcards, and even wine! Opening Hours: 08:00 to 23:00. Location: 699 Pi Thnou St., near the Old Market.

Tel: (+855) 011-652333.

Treasure of Angkor

If you are looking for quality Cambodian antiques, they have a good collection of wood, bronze and stone pieces. They have old and new items, and many large and small Buddhist statues. Opening Hours: 08:00 to 23:00. Location: 089 Sivatha Blvd., at Oum Khun St.

Tel: (+855) 63-969878, (+855) 12-994343.

Angkor Market

Angkor Market Siem Reap, Cambodia

For expats and tourists alike, up until the a couple of years ago, this was the only place to shop. With a large selection of imported food and groceries, it is still the best place to shop for international items that even the supermarket doesn’t stock. Tourists come by the busload. Opening Hours: 07:30 to 22:00. Location: 1-2 Eo Sivatha Blvd., corner of Oum Khun St.

Tel: (+855) 012-827898.

Tours in Cambodia

• Impressive Cambodia – 7 Days/ 6 Nights
• Charms of Cambodia – 5 Days/ 4 Nights
• Angkor Magnificence – 4 Days/ 3 Nights
• Highlights of Cambodia – 4 Days/ 3 Nights
• Cambodia Spotlights – 4 Days/ 3 Nights
• Siem Reap to Angkor Wat – 3 Days/ 2 Nights
• Tour in Siem Reap & Angkor Wat – 3 Days/ 2 Nights
• Highlight Ancient City – 3 Days/ 2 Nights
• Classic tour in Phnom Penh – 3 Days/ 2 Nights
• Siem Reap & Angkor Wat tours – 2 days/ 1 night