Perhaps the first question at the back of your head is, “How do I pronounce Phnom Penh?” You might be surprised that the pronunciation is not very complex: “P-nom Pen,” simply disregard the H’s; and then I’m almost sure your next question is, “Is there good shopping in Phnom Penh?” The answer is an easy “Yes.”
The capital city of Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s center of economy and commerce, and the city is experiencing major economic surges in the past 20 years. More and more hotels, bars, restaurants, high-rise buildings and shops are filling up the capital city’s busy landscape. The largest and most popular shopping mall is the Sorya Shopping Center.
With a total floor area of 40,000 square meters, Sorya Shopping Center has a number of stores and shops selling all kinds of commodities, such as apparels, cosmetics, electronics, household, items, toys, and so on. The fully air-conditioned mall has a grocery, restaurants and is equipped with passenger lifts and escalators. It is a modern westernized facility that stands out from the usual local markets in downtown Phnom Penh. The Sorya is on Vithei Trasak Pho am Street.
Another westernized shop is Sovanah Shopping Center located on Golden City, Sangkat Toumnop Teuk. This 6-floor shopping mall has a variety of stores selling cosmetics, jewelry, clothes, silk and other textiles, shoes, electronics, toys, household necessities, and souvenir items. It also has a food court, café, bank, beauty salon, and spacious parking. American food stores that have made it to Phnom Penh are Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen and Swensen’s Ice Cream.
Besides these two westernized shopping centers is the huge, yellow-colored Phsar Thmei, which translates to “New Market”, but is more popularly referred to as Central Market. Located at the center of Phnom Penh’s tourist circuit, Phsar Thmei has plenty of stalls selling all kinds of high-end tourist goodies such as clothes, jewelry, fabrics, shoes, antiques and many more in its central dome and along its four wings. This city landmark has long ruled the local shopping scene since it’s been standing here since 1937. It was greatly affected, though, during the decades of war, but today it is slowly regaining its former glory. Reconstructions worth US$4.2 million have begun in 2010 and continue in 2011. Getting to the Central Market is very easy because it stands out quite distinctly in Neayok Souk. Also, all tuk-tuk and moto drivers know where it is.
Finally, a popular hang-out area for tourists is Sisowath Quay along the junction of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. Located near Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, Sisowath Quay has rows of restaurants, bars, and shops that make it perfect for sightseeing, dining, walkthrough, relaxation and shopping. This 3-km long walk is never empty of vendors, expats, and tourists, as well as locals. It is most popular for its cold beer, excellent coffee and French baguettes that are served throughout the quay’s entire length. Shopping in Phnom Penh, as well as sightseeing, can never be complete without a walk along Sisowath Quay.