Phnom Penh’s Russian Market
February 2, 2010 – Day 404 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
If you are looking for an entertaining way to spend most of a day, take a stroll through the maze of stalls and shops at Phnom Penh’s famous Russian Market. There is nothing distinctly Russian about the place today besides the name of course. Cambodians call it “Psar Toul Tom Poung” and you can find just about anything you might like there.
Rope, engines, tourist trinkets like art prints of all sizes, carved boxes, ceramics, pillow covers, scarves, hammocks, western clothes, shoes, sunglasses, purses, watches—lots of nicely made knockoffs and most at pretty decent prices. A wristwatch might set you back anywhere from $10-$40 for a knockoff Omega, Gucci, or similar brand name. Most of the watches look pretty convincing and have a nice weight to them. Sunglasses tend to be the typical Ray Ban variety but clothes for men or women are bountiful and even just outside the market you can find a 2 floor air conditioned (woohoo!) exports store for western clothes that just didn’t quite make the quality cut to be exported out of Cambodia where most of them are made.
There are also plenty of food stalls inside the market and outside as well. Depending on how strong and brave your stomach really is, we might recommend sticking to one of the street restaurants just outside the market for slightly better chances of some attempt at food safety and hygiene.
As with most things in Cambodia, items at the Russian Market are prices in US dollars. As usual, be sure to bargain hard as everyone wants to charge minimum $1 for the tiniest trinket that might only be worth paying about $0.30. Just know the quality of what you are buying and try not to pay too much attention to what the vendors say about the materials or origins of an item because 95% of the time they are misleading you in attempts to make a sale.