“Phsar” is “market” for Khmer. Phnom Penh has many traditional markets, and all of their name are began with Phsar. Among them, there are two popular markets which were selected for touring. They are Phsar Thmey or Central Market, and Phsar Tul Tum Poung or Russian Market.Traditional markets in Phnom Penh are only at ground level, vendor booths are set up in open spaces and roofed. The walking ways are narrow and not really clean. Unlike super market, if you shopping in any market in Phnom Penh, do not forget to bargain, at least 20% of price would be reduced.
Phsar Thmey means New Market. The full name of Phsar Thmey is Phsar Thom Thmey, means New Big Market or Grand Market. It has got another name due to its location called Central Market. But Phsar Thmey is the most common name for the locals. The current location of Phsar Thmey was formerly a lake called Boeng Decho. In 1434, when King Ponhea Yat first build Phnom Penh, the ground of this place was excavated to fill up the hill at Wat Phnom. That’s why it became a lake that received runoff in raining season. Then during the Frech coloniar period in 1935-1937, the lake was drained to build the New Market.
Phsar Thmey is a very distinctive building lying in the central of Phnom Penh with its unique French architecture, we can identify from far away with its yellow building (luckily, it doesn’t got another name by its color, Yellow Market ) It has four wings growing from the central round roof hall. Each wing is 44 meters long and 19 meter wide. The roof of the central hall is very high at 26 meters and the diameter is 45 meters. Though there is no air-con installed, we still feel cool with natural air coming from numerous small windows of the building. Recently, Phsar Thmey has been renovated by re-painting and some more vendor booths were built in concrete around the four wings.
What to shop in Phsar Thmey?
Phsa Thmey supplies a wide range of goods, almost everything for daily life usage. The central hall are full with gems and jewelry booths. Watches, sunglasses, and other accessories also sold here. Along the entrance walk are souvenirs made in Cambodia. You can choose one to be the gift from Cambodia for relatives and friends. Beside these, cloths, electrical equipments, household, foods, and even fresh flowers also be found in Phsar Thmey.
Local people called Phsar Thmey is the market for the riches. Since there are only first class good are sold. Especially foods like fruits, fish, dried fish. You also can have nice breakfasts, lunches, and evening snacks at Phsar Thmey.