Friday, December 31, 2010

Shopping and Food in Siem Reap

We did some shopping in Siem Reap, and found just a handful of places to go- Angkor Night Market, Central Market, Pub Streets, Lucky Mall, and Angkor Shopping Centre. We hunted for souvenirs at Central Market and Night Market, and we learnt through our experience that we could bargain all the way down to 1/5 of the original price of the item. For instance, fridge magnet (with single colour), the price could go all the way down from one for USD 2 to four for USD 1. The scarf, at the beginning, one for USD 5. After a few attempts, we bought with four for USD 8.  We also bought the two wooden frogs (with a scrolling stick that helps to generate the sound that mimicry the sound that make by frogs) with USD 6. The price was 1/2 of what we can get in our country.

 Photos show the various products available in Central Market, Siem Reap. As we can see, the items on sale are more or less similiar to what we can get in other places in South East Asia. Some of the items are comparatively cheaper to what we can get from Malaysia. Central Market is strategically located beside Sivatha Road, with Public Bank and Advanced Bank at the both sides. 

Photos show the scenes of the main street of Siem Reap. Lucky Mall is the only air conditioned shopping mall in Siem Reap (lower left). All the shops inside the mall have the word "Luck" within their names. Angkor Shopping Center, located beside the Royal Garden, just around three hundred meters from Lucky Mall (lower right). Our personal opinion- Angkor Shopping Center is somehow an overrated tourists' trap. Central Market, Lucky Mall, and Angkor Shopping are located within walking distance from each other (from Central Market, head north for 10 minutes along Sivatha Road to reach Lucky Mall. Angkor Shopping Center located at National Road 6, five minutes north with a right turn after the first traffic light from Lucky Mall).

Several advices from us, do not bargain with the shop keepers (or even ask for the price) if you have no intention to buy the item. If you are interested, then, the best way to bargain is as easy as one two three: 1. Ask for the price of the item. 2. Let them know that it’s too expensive. 3. Turn and act like you are leaving. With this “tactic”, you can always get a good bargain (at least better than the first one that you get).

While shopping around, we received an advice from a local shopkeeper. She told us that there is no real silk products around Siem Reap cheap market area. All of the products that has claimed made by silk are fakes. She told us sincerely, “How can REAL silk products, such as scarf been sold with the price of USD 10 for five?”

“That’s ridiculous,” she added. True, as the logic behind is, if Cambodian can produce silk with that kind of price, then, the world’s silk market will definitely dominated by the country. How could we get the story from the insider? Perhaps you can try to be more friendly and talkative next time.

The signs to Angkor Night Market can be seen around the main streets. Angkor Night Market is not very big. Most of the items on sale are similiar to what we can get from Central Market. 

Please be aware that, the banks, hotels, supermarkets, and some local restaurants are not accepting USD notes that are scratched, stained, or looked old. However, we did received several such notes from Siem Reap's market. The shopkeepers and the banks always appear with the same phrase,” We in Siem Reap are not accepting this type of notes”. But that doesn't mean that they won't give it away. So, beware.

USD is almost everywhere in Siem Reap, to an extent that we felt that Riel (Cambodian currency) doesn't exist at all. Anyway, hawkers and some of the shops do accept Riel. They will convert the stated price in USD to Riel. The photo shows the food prices in USD. (Updated on 1 Sept 2011)

The pricing for tourist is done in USD- Three day visit U$ 40.00 (upper left), US$ 929k for phase II funding (upper right), only 7$/day for full day use (lower left), and bike $ 1.50/day for rent. Frankly, we use Riel only when we paid for using the toilets (200 - 500 Riels per person per usage). (Updated on 1 Sept 2011)

Then, talk about food, that’s really delighting! The local food at Siem Reap was really good, or in another way, met our tastes. We really felt that, eating local food in Siem Reap was an enjoyable experience. Starting from the first lunch at Tany Khmer Family Kitchen at Siem Reap, to the buffet dinner with traditional dances at Mondial Restaurant; from the restaurants beside Sras Srang to the eateries at Pub Street, all of them were good. Well, that’s 100% consistency and accuracy of good taste for local food. How about the fast food? We tried some fast food and ice cream in Lucky Mall, and to be frank… no more next time.

Okay, so, all of them were good. How about the price? For us, the food at Siem Reap was reasonably priced.  Tany Khmer in Siem Reap is comparatively higher in price, with average of USD 7 per person per meal. In Sras Srang area (Sras Srang is a reservoir east to Angkor Thom), we tried two. Khmer Village Restaurant  and another new one without the sign board yet. Both with an average of USD 2 – 4.5 per person per meal.

The buffet dinner with traditional dances at Mondial Restaurant cost USD 12 per person.  We tried several different Cambodian traditional food there, with very interesting dances performance. Buffet starts at 6:30 – 9:00 pm, while the performance is 7:30 – 8:30 pm. The buffet with traditional dances is available in several other restaurants too.

Must try dishes? Please refer to the photos below.

Food available in Siem Reap. These are some of the very traditional Cambodian food. Bahut is a mixture of raw veges and fried food, with pork and salted fish sauce (upper left). Teyo is some sort wrapped of fresh veges and spices (upper middle). Lola is a dish with fried egg and beef (or chicken), cooked together with local spices (upper right). Amok is something that you should try (lower left). The dish contains fresh vegetables and meat cooked in amok spices. Fried veges and meat with cashew nut is quite popular in Siem Reap (lower middle). While the Cambodian curry, not hot at all for us (it's quite sweet in taste). All the local food are quite reasonably price. All the food mentioned above were below USD 2.50 per serving. 

Streamboat with vegetables, beef, chicken, and egg. It was around USD 4 per set.

With USD 0.75 per coconut, we really enjoyed our time with lots and lots of coconuts.

The best place to stay awake at night in Siem Reap is the Pub Streets. Pub streets consist of few streets around Pub Street Alley at the old town area. Pub streets are the most happening place at night. We stayed around the area until 11 pm, with none of the shops showed the intention to end their business for the day.

Night at Pub Streets, Siem Reap.

Alley in Pub Streets.

To move around at Siem Reap, we have several options- by foot, bicycle, motorbike, tuk-tuk, saloon, van, or bus. For our whole family, we opt to rent air cond minibus on our trip to Angkor area. The rental was USD 35 per day (we gave away USD 5 as tips for the excellent service). We tried tuk-tuk as well, when we were roaming around the town area. The charge for tuk-tuk is around USD 1 - 2 per trip. However, tuk-tuk can be rented with USD 15 per day. Bicycle, yes, USD 2 per day, car, USD 30 per day. The price for the transportation is subjected to negotiation. However, a big difference shouldn't be expected.

Bicycles and motorbike on rental, are available almost on every street in Siem Reap.

Tuk-tuk for USD 1 from Lucky Mall to our hotel.

We stayed in Central Boutique Angkor Hotel at Tapoul Road. The hotel was good. The room for the hotel was clean, well designed, and the whole area for the hotel was well shrubed. The hotel has a nice pool, a bar, and the restaurant, hmm, with nice food as well. For our opinion, that three stars hotel is much more nicer than the one we got in our Bali trip.

About the service, well, the room service was excellent, and the maintenance worker came within minutes after been summoned to fix our bath tub. The cooks were willing to go extra miles by packing the breakfast for us in 5:30 am, when we needed to depart early to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. The downside, the workers (receptionist) was not so fluent in English (but still communicable), and, accept no "handicapped" USD notes.

Room for two (left), inside the bathroom (middle), and the resting table set outside each of the room.

The hotel has a nice swimming pool, which always full with people in late afternoon. The beautifully landscaped walkway to the lobby of the hotel.

A trip to Siem Reap was really a great experience for all of us. The friendly locals, with great and magnificent monuments from the ancient empire, and the food. It is indeed a good place for us to revisit in future :-)

High resolution Travel Photos of Siem Reap is available at Our Travel Photo Gallery. Back to All Our Destinations.

[Preah Khan and Ta Prohm] [Shopping and Food in Siem Reap]
[All Our Destinations]


  1. wow... they use USD haha...

  2. Thank you - we are looking at going to Siem Reap in November, and this was most helpful.


  3. You are welcome. Wish you all have a nice trip ahead:)

  4. Hi Betty and Shing,
    Very interesting and useful information as usual.
    The dishes really sound delightful. Love them all.
    Btw, who's writing this?Because you always mentioned us or we. Let me guess.....must be BETTY,right?
    About USD....I'm curious how you get USD. In M'sia or you used ringgit to change to USD in Siem Reap. I know its sounds silly. Should I get my USD in Holland first?
    Thanks! Betty(????)

  5. Dear Loong, a nice guess. Ling Shing is responsible for writing and photo taking and editing. Betty is responsible to refine the post, for maximum clarity and understanding (both of us wish that our blog can help us to keep our memories, for us and for others).

    We changed USD at Malaysia, which we found it's more worthy later (same as we found during our Bali trip on Dec 2009). We cannot say to get USD at Holland is the best (we don't know the situation @ Holland), but for us, we will settle the forex at our own country first before we set off.

  6. Nice n informative review. Thanks so much.