Phnom Penh Central Market, also known as Phsar Thmey which means ‘New Market’, is one of the Cambodian capital's major landmarks. Whether you’re a shopping enthusiast who wants to gauge your haggling skills or a tourist interested in being a part of the bustling crowd, or just want to explore the amazing architectural wonders of the city, the 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.

Phnom Penh Central Market (Phsar Thmey) - one of the highlights of 18 Best Things to Do in Phnom Penh and 20 Best Shopping Experiences in Phnom Penh (Read all about Phnom Penh here)

Central Market reflects traditional Southeast Asian architecture, featuring an enormous yellow-painted central dome with 4 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 effected by monsoon rain or blazing heat.

photo by Olaf Tausch (CC BY 3.0) modified

Speaking of the items sold here, they are almost endless, with a wide assortment of goods from men's and women’s clothing, jewelry and gemstones, flowers and shoes to souvenirs and food items such as seafood, spices and vegetables. 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 jewelry stores with gold and silver 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.

photo by Olaf Tausch (CC BY 3.0) modified

Phnom Penh Central Market (Phsar Thmey)

Location: Street 130, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Open: Daily from 7am to 6pm

Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler