Shopping in Siem Reap doesn’t revolve around luxurious and huge shopping centers, but it offers a rewarding experience for those who are interested in exceptional Cambodian products and souvenirs. A wide range of souvenirs can be purchased in the city that starts from wood carvings to stone objects, including silk products and many religious items. The first market to check out should be the Old Market, also called the Phsar Chas Market. The Old Market is a massive market that is easy to find, being situated near the River of Siem Reap. Almost anything can be found here from local food specialties to conventional Khmer handicrafts.
Angkor Night Market is the latest installment in the Siem Reap market scene of handicrafts as it has more than two hundred shops as well as a large restaurant and a bar. For more exotic and large handicrafts, head to the Artisans d’Angkor found near the Golden Temple Villa Hotels as they sell endless wood and stone carvings that are larger in size. Since these huge carvings are handmade products, they tend to be a bit more expensive but the precision and smoothness of the end product is exceptional.
Aside from being big on handicrafts, gems and gold items are also a hit not only in Siem Reap but in the rest of Cambodia as well. Be wary when buying jewelry as many visitors have been scammed into buying colored plastic instead of authentic gems. The most popular and trust-worthy place for buying gems in the city is the Angkor Shopping Center. Found near the Royal Garden just opposite the river, the Angkor Shopping Center has two air-conditioned floors packed with different gems and jewelries to choose from.
The ancient art of silk weaving is a skill-intensive process that requires much time and practice that has been perfected by the Siem Reap locals. Samatoa is a shop found near the Old Market that specializes in tailored silk clothing accessories so make sure to drop by when in the area to check out their works.
Similar to many Asian shopping areas and districts, bargaining is expected when making a purchase in Siem Reap, most especially for souvenir items. Always show nice gestures and avoid unpleasant behavior towards the store owners. Siem Reap locals are easily drawn to friendly and nice travelers so have your best smile on to be able to get a discount of at least 30% off the initial offered price.
It is important to know that most purchases in Siem Reap are made in U.S Dollars while Thai Baht is also accepted. Cambodia’s national currency, which is Cambodian Riel, is rarely accepted but only used to pay small amounts. Most shops do not accept credit cards, especially in the market area, but there are many ATM machines scattered all over the city.
Buying locally made products is a great way to contribute to the town’s local economic growth so be sure to purchase a handful of local goods and items when shopping in Siem Reap. Stroll around the city’s many local markets and find it to be a truly unique and rewarding experience.