Latagaw Diaries: Souvenirs to Buy in Psar Chaa(Old Market), Siem Reap, Cambodia

When in Siem Reap and you are looking for presents to bring back home, Psar Chaa/Psar Chah/Psar Chas/Psah Chas or just the Old Market is definitely one place to shop cheap.

Here's a tip for you: Shop at around eight or nine in the morning when the stores are just opening up.

Everyone is just begging to make that first lucky sale for the day that they would practically beg you to buy from them and they would really lower their price just to make that sale.

It is heartbreaking because you can tell if that is the lowest price you can get from them based on their pained facial expression.

Here are some things you might consider buying in Psar Chaa or the Old Market:
1. Krama or the Cambodian Scarf.
It is a checkered piece of fabric that comes in different color combinations. There are cheap ones but the silk ones are more expensive, of course.

I think this has been the most practical and most used pasalubong I brought home so far. A year after I have given this as a gift, I can still see my friends using it.

It can be used in a variety of ways.
a. scarf
b. head wrap

c. to swaddle a baby
d. a baby carrier
e. beach cover up
f. mat or beach towel
2. Balms especially Tiger Balms.
I will always describe the scent of morning air in Angkor Wat as hmmm...a combination of sweat and other bodily fluids but the afternoon air would smell like Tiger Balm. I seem to smell this everywhere in Siem Reap. I can't recall smelling this in Phnom Penh but then areas in Phnom Penh are not as crowded as it was in Angkor Wat.

So in the Old Market, you would see beautiful tiny ceramic pots with different balms on it-the famous one is labeled Tiger Balm. now if you are like me and grew up in Asia, the Tiger Balms are were packaged in red tin cans with a tiger on the lid.( BTW, Tiger Balm is originally made in Singapore and the Haw Par brothers who created it has a wonderful place in Singapore that you can visit for free. It is the Haw Par Villa. See my post about Haw Par Villa.)

This balm basically works as a cure all-bites, nausea, head ache, clogged nose, joint pains...

3. Khmer Pants
This is a tie around pants that is very comfortable to wear but beware, it opens at the side so if you are not careful on how you seat, you might be showing a lot of legs without knowing it. Trust me on this.

4. Riel
The Cambodian currency can be found anywhere. You get these as change for your dollars.

I think these are perfect souvenirs. Very, very , very cheap.

Just look at this woman and her wads of riel displayed for all to see but only a fool would sneak in and rob her of these.

5. Insects
Whenever I leave for Cambodia my team would specifically request for me to buy them insects. They seem to love it but I am too scared to try it myself.

This time around, I managed to buy this in the border town of Banteay Menchi where an old woman was selling it on the side walk. You can get a lot for 1USD.

Okun tom tum!
Okun charan!

Thanks for dropping by!


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