Phsar Thmei (Central Market)
Phsar Thmei (Central Market) Review
An inescapable sightseeing destination in Phnom Penh is the colonial-era Central Market, built in the late 1930s on land that was once a watery swamp. This wonderfully ornate building with a large dome retains some of the city's art deco style. The market's Khmer name, Phsar Thmei, translates as "new" market to distinguish it from Phnom Penh's original market, Phsar Chas, near the Tonle Sap River; it's popularly known as Central Market, however. Entry into the market is through one of four grand doors that face the directions of the compass. The main entrance, facing east, is lined with souvenir and textile merchants hawking everything from cheap T-shirts and postcards to expensive silks, handicrafts, and silverware. Other stalls sell electronic goods, mobile phones, watches, jewelry, household items, shoes, secondhand clothing, flowers, and just about anything else you can imagine. Money changers mingle with beggars and war veterans with disabilities asking for a few hundred riel.