Siem Reap is as small as Ozamiz and there ain’t no big malls around. However, they do have an array of specialized novelty shops dotting the city. Unlike Bangkok where everything are grand malls, Siem Reap has small stores lining up along Vithei Charles de Gaulle (Road to Angkor Wat). Based on our experience, it’s not that convenient to shop in the area because you’ll be under the heat of the sun while window shopping or every time you get in and out from one store to another. So it is advisable to visit the street by late afternoon to early evening after soaking yourself inside the mystical Angkor Complex.
Aside from these novelty shops, foreigners can enjoy duty-free shopping at T Galleria. This is now a fully air-conditioned mini mall with international brands like the ones we have in Greater Manila Area (GMA)’s SM Aura and Ayala Greenbelt. Since taking photos was not restricted, MM and I had fun doing pictorials! She also got her Pandora charm bracelet cleaned for free and I also got to explore the luxurious scents of top designer brands. Mmmm, so expensive fragrances but I can actually concoct all of these! Just wish me luck though, hehe….
Additionally, I was inspired by Cambodia’s local products that are made from coconut. Not new to us, Filipinos ‘coz we also do have a wide variety of coconut products. But their packaging is so enthralling that I couldn’t help but take photos. I also got a crush on their customized journal but I didn’t buy it ‘coz I already bought journals during our previous trip to Thailand that I haven’t used yet.
And for cheap souvenir shopping, off to Pub Street and Phsar Chas (Old Market) Road we went! Ref magnets, souvenir plates, keychains, coin purses, and T-shirts as souvenir basics are cheaper in the Night Market compared with the ones we already bought inside Angkor Wat. So as a tip, don’t be fooled by your tour guide when they say it’s cheaper inside Angkor or any other shop they bring you during your day tour. Save souvenir shopping for later at the Night Market for wise bargains! On the bright side, there are kids selling stuffs inside Angkor Thom for a hundred pesos only. Yes, they do accept Philippine peso and they are also honest sellers unlike Hanoi‘s clever ones.
Aside from the souvenir basics, Khmer art are also on display along with the famous Cambodian silk scarves. If you know how to haggle well, you can get 12 scarves for only USD 10! Yes, you don’t have to double convert from peso to dollar to Cambodian riel. US dollars are the mode of commerce in the country so that’s a bit of saving already. Anyway, we bought plenty of scarves for pasalubong ‘coz they’re light for the baggage and looks sosyal too!
Speaking of pasalubong, we also purchased Khmer delicacies which are full of flavors and spices. They have mixed dried potato, banana, and taro – a healthy alternative to junkfood. They also have peanuts with a twist! Instead of the traditional adobo with only garlic, their’s comes with lemongrass, kaffirleaf lime, dried chili, a bit sugared, and salted. Other than the ready-to-eats, they have prepared red curry, green curry, amok mix, and tom yum mix for cooking too. A variety of organic teas that are very new to me are also there. I was so delighted with pandan tea, lemongrass tea, and lotus tea! I purchased a lot for my tea addiction supply. Haha! So if you happen to go to Siem Reap, don’t forget to drop by at Chan sisters’ stall for some Khmer delicacies. It’s just outside the Triangle Restobar near the Night Market. Chan Neng and Chan Ny would be very happy to serve you and even give you discount!
Now what’s the catch in Siem Reap shopping? It’s the spices and teas section that caught me! If I enjoyed food shopping in Vietnam, I enjoyed more of Siem Reap’s exotic products! Or is it because I had already turned much into a foodie? And this now shows in my body. Huhu…..
Finally, the best way to shop around Siem Reap is by riding the tuktuk! Tuktuk drivers in Cambodia are also honest and don’t charge much as Thailand tuktuk drivers do. They charge minimum so better tip them for their hospitality. With that, we enjoyed riding and laughing around tuktuks because they are also more comfortable and spacious than the motorcabs we have here at home.
Stay tuned next week for my feature on Tara Angkor Hotel! #tosomtravels