Phsar Thmei CENTRAL Market: It’s A Must-Go

Honestly, what more do you need than food and great clothes?!

Phsar Thmei
Cambodian market. Photo: Celine Wherritt

So much bustling and bartering in one place. The Phsar Thmei is a market located in the heart of Phnom Penh, and it contains everything you need! I have visited this market as both a local and a tourist, and both times I have felt fully satisfied.

Inside the decorated yellow dome contains a wide array of jewelry, fake and real. As you pass by their stands, you will hear them say “hello, pretty girl!” and other compliments to convince you to buy their items. Outside, your senses are overwhelmed; depending on which side you stand, there’s a pungent smell of raw fish or listen to the sweet crunch of sugarcane making juice.

It’s open 7 days a week, and carries foods ranging from dried fish to Cambodian blackberries (consider yourself warned: too many of these make your teeth turn purple!) They also sell traditional Cambodian clothing, fake brand clothing, jewelry, and trinkets. Honestly, what more do you need than food and great clothes?!

At this central market, you will find that locals wear fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Channel everywhere. They barter mercilessly for food at the lowest prices possible. In fact, many return to the market in the middle of the night to buy produce for lower prices. It is clear that Khmer culture is based on living minimalistically and saving money when at all possible.

My personal favorite Cambodian dessert is the clear circular fruit smaller than the palm of your hand (pronounced ‘trout’ in Cambodian) with condensed milk and sugary egg yolk. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, trust me!!!

Whether you’re a local or tourist, people crowd around trying to convince you to buy their fruit or get a ‘tuk tuk’ (the Cambodian version of a taxi – a very cheap form of transportation). It is an experience full of foreign smells and lifestyles that I will never get tired of. A MUST-SEE in Phnom Penh, Cambodia!

Phsar Thmei
Cambodian city. Photo: Celine Wherritt

Celine Wherritt

Product Marketing Intern

Celine is a student at UC Berkeley, she has often traveled to Cambodia and even conducts volunteering work in Southeast Asia. She is also active as a member of Model United Nations.

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