Our Siem Reap shopping guide will provide you with tips and information about shopping in Siem Reap, as well as some socially responsible sound places to shop. Many of the shops are situated in and around the market area where you will find many of Siem Reap restaurants.
Siem Reap Shopping Guide
Buying locally made products is a great way to contribute to any country's local economic growth and this is as true in Siem Reap as anywhere else. There are many shops and market stalls selling handicrafts, silks, silverware, jewelry, carvings and the like and shopping in Siem Reap, and especially in the local markets is a truly unique, fun and rewarding experience.
In the local markets your senses will be awakened with an array of smells, sights, tastes and sounds. Fragrances (some good some bad) will either tantalize or repel from local hairdressers to pungent fish stalls, a host of colouful silks brighten up the displays, and many local food stuffs are available to try and taste. The markets are alive with local chatter, especially if you get there early. In the mornings they are full of local hoteliers and restauranteurs getting the freshest and best deal available for the days business ahead.
In the recent years Siem Reap has been getting a reputation for cool, urban and gritty boutique clothes shops, with a flair of creativity and social consciousness. Look out for shops specialising in clothes for travelling fashionistas including Wanderlust, Poetry, Wild Poppy and Circle.
Siem Reap has a host of shops that are run by NGO's or charities whose profits go toward a worthy cause. You can also visit shops where shadow puppets, wood and stone carvings are made using traditional techniques and a silk farm where silk is gathered from silk worms, dyed and woven. All these are recommended in strengthening the local economy and ensuring locals are benefitting from the tourism spend.
The Old Market or Psar Chas, located conveniently in the town centre, is one of the best places to pick up T-shirts and other souvenirs. Do not buy anything that is claimed to be an antique, because in most cases it isn’t and in case it is, it is most likely stolen. The country has strict laws for the export of artefacts and antiques, so it’s best to avoid them. Make sure you bargain in any local market, it adds to the fun of shopping and the locals enjoy the banter too. Don’t be too aggressive as the extra cents saved maybe the difference of feeding an extra mouth for dinner.
You will find a range of arts and crafts outlets in Siem Reap, many of which also work with local community projects so make sure to shop around...
Whilst it might be a good idea to read up a bit about the history and the temples before you come to Cambodia, you will find a range of books available at different markets and shops.
Most probably you will also come across one or more of the many landmine victims who have taken up trade as booksellers to sustain their living instead of begging on the streets. If you have the time to stop for a chat, you will find that they have good selection of the most popular titles at competitive rates.
A range of new lifestyle and clothing shops offers visitors the opportunity to buy high fashion in Siem Reap.
Perhaps surprising for some, Siem Reap is actually a good place to load your iPods and MP3 players with the latest in films and music. Or you might want to check out some of popular Khmer singers like Sin Sisomouth, new artists like Preb Sovath, Khemarak Serey Mon or Khmer bands like Dengue Fever....
In addition to Siem Reap's popular Old Market, you will find a variety of different local markets and convenience stores.