When travelling, it is easy to be drawn to the tourist markets. You know the ones; they have people yelling out, “Lady, you wanna buy something”, “Only one dollar” and “Good price for you.” They also have a great (albeit, repetitive) selection of knick knacks to take back to your loved ones. However, if you wanted to the real Cambodian experience, you should put visiting a local market on your bucket list. Here’s why:
- Not many tourists do – When visiting Cambodia, tourists often have a limited amount of time and thus constrain themselves to the popular attractions – Angkor Archaeological Park, S21 and The Killing Fields. By visiting local markets, you can get ‘off the beaten track’ and have a unique experience that will leave your friends (and Instagram followers) wishing they had done the same!
- You can immerse yourself in the local culture – Although local markets are still bustling, you won’t be constantly approached by sellers like you are at the tourist markets. This gives you the opportunity to truly take in the sights and spend your time browsing the local specialties; fried crickets, traditional sarong skirts and gold jewellery. You can also witness the interaction between local buyers and sellers, and note that they too, bargain!
- Prices are more reasonable – Since local markets are not too popular with foreign tourists, you will find that prices are much more reasonable than you would get at the tourist markets. In fact, you may not even feel the need to bargain, as you are more likely to get a good deal on the first round! This will leave you with extra money in your pockets to spend on the one-day Angkor Wat pass, which is increasing from $20USD to $37USD in February 2017.
In Siem Reap, two great local markets to visit are Psar Kroam, around a 10-minute bike ride from Old Market, and Psar Leu, which you will find on National Road Six.