Central Market – also referred to as Phsar Thmey, meaning ‘New Market’ – is one of the major landmarks in Phnom Penh. Whether you’re a shopping enthusiast who wants to gauge your haggling skills or a tourist interested to be a part of bustling crowd or just want to explore the amazing architectural wonders of the city, then Central Market is a place not to miss out during your stay in the city. Designed by Desbois and erected in Art Deco style, Central Market was the largest of its kind in Asia when it was constructed in 1937 during the French colonial era. In an effort to preserve this unique architecture, Central Market underwent a renovation with funds from the French Developmental Agency before it was reopened to the public in 2011.
Central Market is truly an engineering marvel that largely reflects traditional Southeast Asian architecture featuring an enormous yellow-painted central dome with four wings extending to huge hallways, each of which teems with an array of shopping stalls. In fact, the major plus point of this lively market is its well shielded, properly ventilated structure that enables both sellers and buyers to engage in the trade while not being affected by monsoon rain or blazing heat. Speaking of the items sold here, they are almost endless with a wide assortment of goods, from men and women’s clothing, jewelry, gemstones, flowers and shoes to souvenirs and food items such as seafood, spices and vegetables. Just name a product, and it’ll be readily available here.
On the eastern side of the building is the main entrance where you’ll come across shops that have items such as ornaments, T-shirts and souvenirs on sale. Likewise, head over to the market’s central area that holds numerous jewel stores, gold as well as silver jewelry collections. Further, the market has a slew of shops that especially deal in electronics, clothing and second-hand items at incredibly cheap prices. Above all, don’t forget to sample the distinctive food items available here. One of the specialty dishes is the creamy coconut pudding that is particularly great to relish during scorching afternoons.