Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh has 3 principal downtown, city centre, markets that casual visitors are likely to come across; Psa Thmei, Psa Chas and Psa Kandal – psa, (psar or phsar are also commonly seen – there’s no official transliteration), being, as you may have guessed the Khmer word for market thus translating as New Market, Old Market and Central Market. A 4th, slightly out of the town centre but very popular with visitors, is the famous Russian Market or Psa Toul Tompong. (So-named, before anyone asks, because this market was popular with Soviet and Eastern European advisors stationed in Cambodia during the 80s.)
Psa Thmei or New Market, (confusingly often known in English as Central Market), is the iconic art nouveau, ‘pineapple building’ situated smack in the town centre and now resplendent with a new coat of pale yellow paint.
Spectacular from the outside but the crowded, cramped, tin-roofed Psa Kandal and Psa Chas markets have much more local character. These are where city centre residents tend to do their food shopping, get their hair done or pawn bracelets in gold shops at the end of the month. (The larger Psa Thmei may have more choice but many residents claim it’s pricy.) Psa Kandal – ‘Central Market’ – is, as the name suggests, very centrally located – just off the riverside on 154 Street, opposite Wat Ounalom and a great spot for a wander, whilst Psa Chas – the ‘Old Market’ is situated slightly to the north, off 110 Street.
Psa Chas and Psa Kandal markets are conveniently placed to include in a Phnom Penh walking tour such as a 19th Street stroll or this Street 13 tour whilst Psa Thmei necessitates a very slight detour. All can be seen on our half-day Phnom Penh city tours.