Between the night markets and the artisans’ shops, you will surely find something to bring home from Siem Reap. The most famous souvenirs include the krama, a multi-tasking piece of cloth symbolic of Cambodia; beautifully carved statues of the Buddha; or printed rice papers depicting the carvings in Angkor Wat.
Here we present a quick guide to the many shopping places in the city and the most popular souvenirs in Cambodia.
- Walk through lively night markets for evenings surrounded by crafts and food
- Visit the Artisans d’Angkor and their laboratory
- Bring the beautiful creations of local artisans back home
- Travel with Asia Highlights for an unforgettable experience
What to buy in Siem Reap
Siem Reap is the most famous city in Cambodia and offers a wide variety of souvenirs; usually made locally by skillful artists, who with passion and patience create beautiful objects.
Fashion and clothing
The krama is a piece of traditional clothing, a versatile garment: many locals use it as a scarf or a bandanna. It can be worn by men, women, or children, and is usually ornately designed.
Krama are made of cotton or silk. They were originally woven by Khmer women, who collected cotton, then soaked it in rice for a couple of days. Before starting to weave, some threads were tinged with red.
Krama are used as bandannas to protect from the sun, belts, or swimwear… children even use them to play Cha-ol Chong, a Cambodian version of dodge-ball.
Cambodia has a long history of making silk and cotton textiles. These textiles are full of detail and color created with special dyes. In Siem Reap you can find the Institute of Khmer Traditional Textiles.
Silk is popular and easy to find, also at reasonable prices: you will find scarves, cloths, dresses, etc., all handmade by locals with traditional techniques that made Cambodian silk famous and prized.
Another specialty of Cambodia is woven mats: since the temperatures are so high, locals choose to sleep on mats rather than mattresses. The skills of a master artisan are required to make one of these mats, and when it is entirely hand-made, it is a slow process.
Handicrafts and souvenirs
Soap and candles in Cambodia mostly use only natural products. They have a wonderful scent and use ingredients like Kampot pepper and lemon-grass; Khmer curry is perhaps the most popular. They make perfect gifts, not too bulky for your luggage.
Ornately designed betel-nut boxes are handmade from silver, and are a status symbol among locals: the better the material and design, the higher is the social status of the owner.
Something amazing you can find around the temples is rice paper with prints depicting carvings of Angkor Wat: these prints are beautiful and relatively inexpensive. To make just one print takes up to a week and lots of skill. You’ll find vendors on the way to temple or in the city.
For a reasonable price, you can bring home a reproduction of a sculpture. These usually depict the Buddha, and the result is so good that it can almost fool the experts. Before buying one, be sure you are not crossing a border where exporting statues is prohibit
Food and beverage
Spices are a must: Khmer cuisine relies on spice for its signature intense flavor. The most popular spices are Khmer curry and Kampot pepper. Spices are everywhere: the Old Market in particular is a great place for finding the best ones. You can buy a bag there for about US $4.
If you wish to bring back some liquor, the best choice is probably “Sombai”, an infused rice wine produced in Siem Reap. It is easy to find and popular among locals, with 8 different flavors, always the combination of two fruits. Sombai bottles are hand-paint
Where to shop in Siem Reap
Buying locally-made products will help the economy and keep the traditional Khmer crafts alive. There are lively markets around the city or many shops full of young artisans learning the traditional skills.
Below is a list of places where you can find some of the best souvenirs in Siem Reap.
Angkor Night Market
The most popular place is the Angkor Night Market. It is in the center of the city, inside a beautiful garden. Every night it is illuminated by thousands of lights, and thousands of buyers and sellers rush there to make the night burst into life.
The market was founded in 2007 to preserve traditional Khmer handicrafts. You can find more than 200 stands selling everything, from jewelry to stone carvings, statues, silk paintings, handbags, and much, much more...
In the market there are also numerous restaurants, bars, and street-food vendors.
Location: Angkor Market St
Opening hours: 17:00–00:00
Alternatively you can visit the Old Market near the river, open all day, and full of local vendors selling household items, clothes, statues, and jewelry, as well as meat and vegetables, etc.
Prices are usually higher for tourists, so don’t be afraid to bargain to obtain the best deal!
If you want to try some traditional Khmer dishes, go to the center of the market. There you will find soups, rice dishes, spiced frogs, pork sausages and much more.
Location: Psaar Chaa Road
Opening hours: 07:00–20:00
Made in Cambodia Market
The Made in Cambodia Market is outside the Shinta Mani Resort. It is the market that probably offers the most unique experience, with live performances, good food, and tons of souvenirs. As its name suggests, all the items you find here will be made in Cambodia.
On Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, local artisans show up to exhibit their products, such as jewelry, clothes and cosmetics. This offers a unique opportunity to buy something made by a skillful local artist.
Location: Oum Khun Street
Opening hours: 16:00–21:00
This shop has one mission: to revive traditional Khmer crafts. With this in mind, Artisans d’Angkor employs more than 1,000 local artisans to produce its beautiful wares.
When visiting one of the many AA shops, it may be possible to have a free tour and understand some of the work behind the crafts: you will see artists working on paintings, embroidered gifts, and sculptures. Such workshops are wonderful places for children to visit, full of joy, skills, and passion.
Most of the profits are donated to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged youth: they will observe and learn the necessary skills to keep Khmer craftsmanship alive.
You might like to read
Best of Cambodia
Top Attractions in Cambodia
Family Holidays in Cambodia
Top Attractions in Siem Reap
Visit Cambodia with Asia Highlights
For a hassle-free experience, choose our handpicked shops. If you wish to buy souvenirs, our guide can help you, by offering suggestions about where to go shopping.
Visit the links below today, to learn more about our tour packages and start planning your visit to Cambodia.
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