13 Monday Aug 2012

Souvenir Shopping Ideas in Cambodia

If you’ve been too distracted by Cambodia’s serene and natural beauty, you may have overlooked the fact that shops are limited even though there are a few shopping locales that we’ve mentioned in a previous post here. Even then, if you are leaving Cambodia and returning home or you are leaving to visit friends and families abroad, you still need to find souvenirs. This can be challenging.

Of course, you can buy the tried and tested favorite souvenirs such as the T-shirts, scarves, pillow cases, purses, etc.  Those can all be found at the Night Market in Siem Reap or at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh.  Other places to find those types of souvenirs in Phnom Penh is to wander on Street 240 or the Street 178 by the National Museum.

Some of the places I like to find my souvenirs are on Street 240 and Street 178 in Phnom Penh. What I’ve found to be excellent souvenirs are handmade beauty products such as handmade soaps you can buy from Bodia Spa or Senteurs d’Angkor. Both of these spas have locations in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.  All of the products they sell are made in Cambodia and all natural. The scents from Senteurs d’Angkor are a little stronger than the scents from Bodia so if you’re buying for guys, I would suggest buying products from Bodia. Also don’t forget to check out the candles too!

Other great souvenirs are the Kampot Pepper and other spices.  If you stroll around the grocery stores, sometimes you can find them already neatly packaged for you.  It’s cheaper to buy here than from places like Bodia.  Another option is just to buy the spices in bulk and wrap it up later on your own.  That way you get a little DIY project from it while adding a personal touch to your gifts.

To go along with the spices you’ve bought for your friends and family, consider going to a book store and picking up a Khmer cookbook.  The books are written in English and easy to understand. The book stores also offer other books about Cambodia and some would make great coffee table books.

If handmade clothing products are what you’re after, I suggest you browse the little shops sprinkled in and out of Pub Street in Siem Reap and Street 240 in Phnom Penh.  There you can find shops with handmade products made by certain disadvantaged groups.  Their products are just as good as the others with the added bonus that you are supporting their cause by buying their products.  You can empower their work and give them a sense of dignity. Win-Win.

31 Thursday May 2012

Shopping in the capital Phnom Penh

Well, when it comes to shopping, many people do not realize that Phnom Penh, although small in size and not yet developed, has it all.  In the past two years, new boutique and clothing shops are popping up everywhere on the main and famous streets of Phnom Penh.  A walk on Sihanouk Boulevard will introduce you to some big international names like MANGO, PEDRO, VNC and more.  Here is my summary of women shops in Phnom Penh.

  1. Sihanoukville Boulevard
    • MANGO
    • VNC
    • PEDRO
    • Eclipse
    • URS Inc.
    • Bysi
  2. St 240
    • Bliss
    • Waterlily
    • Ambre

Now that many brand names can be found in boutique stores, many Cambodians can enjoy their shopping in their comfort zone.  Some great boutique shops are:

  1. WEXPORT
  2. Cosmopolitan
  3. New Collection

So next time you are in Phnom Penh, do not forget to stop by these places.   If you are looking to buy souvenirs, then I recommend checking out Toul Tompong market or sometimes called Russian market.