The Old Market (Phsar Chas) and the nearby Pub Street, Pub Street alleys and Night Markets are 'must sees' when visiting Siem Reap. Very popular, the whole Old Market area stretching from the river across to the night markets on Sivutha Blvd has become the tourist center of town.
Of the various traditional Cambodian markets in Siem Reap, the Old Market is the most visited by tourists, offering the deepest selection of souvenirs and curios of any of the traditional markets. There are souvenir vendors on all sides off the market and into the interior, especially on the south (river) side - offering silks, silverworks, carvings, statuary, art and handicrafts as well as t-shirts, post cards, boot-legged DVDs and books.
The 2 Thnou Street side of the market is a mix of local and tourist vendors, some offering souvenirs, others specializing in clothing, shoes and hats aimed more at the local consumer. The opposite Street 11 side is also a mix, with many vendors offering handicrafts, puppets, musical instruments and basketry and local food and dried fish vendors toward the other end. The north side of the market along Street 9 caters more to the locals than tourists, vending fruit, vegetables, meats, clothes, hardware and such. There are several interesting local spice, tea and coffee vendors on this side and a number of inexpensive cafe stalls lining the street, serving Cambodian fare in an interesting, very local atmosphere. A good place for a budget meal and a taste of real Cambodian cuisine.
The Old Market closes at sunset, though many of the souvenir vendors stay open well past 8:00PM.
The streets in the area around the market, especially the now famous Pub Street and Pub Street Alleys, sports dozens of tourist oriented business including galleries and boutiques, restaurants, cafes, bars, massage and spas, travel agents, bookstores, a pharmacy and lots more.
After the sun goes down, the focus shifts firmly a block east of the Old Market to the 'Pub Street' and the nearby alleys, so named for the numerous and varied restaurants and pubs that line Street 8. It all began in 1998 when Angkor What? Bar opened its doors - the lone pub on an otherwise quiet street. These days Pub Street is packed end to end with restaurants, boutiques, shops and pubs as are the many of the connecting alleys and passages, each with its own special character.
You can find all kinds of cuisines on and around Pub Street including Khmer, Thai, French, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian and a variety of other international foods. Most of the bars are open all day but really get going around 5:00PM as people return from the temples and come to take advantage of the various happy hour deals. In the later evening the Pub Street is blocked to motor traffic, allowing pedestrians to stroll easily. It's then the street really comes alive as the curbside seating at the fill and the bars crank up the music. The whole area is the center of nightlife in Siem Reap these days with most places staying open until at least midnight and couple running until near dawn.
Running parallel to Pub Street about a half block to either side, the pleasant little pedestrian-only alleys harbor collections of unique cozy haunts and offer a more relaxed, artsy atmosphere. The Passage (aka Pub Street Alley) is the first and busiest of the alleys with the greatest variety of businesses - focusing primarily on restaurants, there are also several bars, galleries and shops. A continuation of The Passage across Street 11 is Alley West, perhaps the quaintest of the alleys with an emphasis on boutiques and shops but also offering a few friendly little bars and cafes. On the opposite side of Pub Street, The Lane is the sparsest and quietest of the alleys, sporting a few pubs, restaurants and a late night club.
After the sun goes down, the focus falls to 'Pub Street' and Pub Street alleys. Named for the numerous pubs that line Street 8 near the Old Market, Pub Street sports as many restaurants and shops as pubs and bars. It all began in 1998 when Angkor What? Bar opened its doors - the lone pub on an otherwise quiet street. These days Pub Street is packed end to end with a varied collection of restaurants, pubs, boutiques and shops, making the area the tourist center of town. The narrow connecting alleys and passages have also filled with businesses, but offer a much more relaxed, pedestrians-only ambiance.
Pub Street really gets going until around 5PM as people return from the temples. Come evening the curbside seating fills, the bars crank up the and the street is blocked to motor traffic, allowing pedestrians to stroll easily. The whole area is the center of nightlife in Siem Reap with most places staying open until at least midnight and couple running until near dawn.
The Passage (aka Pub Street Alley) is the original and busiest of the alleys and offering the greatest variety of businesses. Restaurants dominate The Passage but there are also several bars, galleries and shops. Continuing west along The Passage and across Street 11 to Alley West...
Alley West, perhaps the quaintest of the alleys, harboring a collection of unique haunts and offering a more artsy, Old World atmosphere. The emphasis is on shopping boutiques, each with it’s own unique style - clothing, accessories, handicrafts, art, souvenirs and more. And there are a few friendly little bars, cafes and restaurants in the mix as well.
The Lane Paralleling Pub Street on the north side, The Lane is the sparsest and quietest of the alleys, but still offering several interesting places - a few pubs, restaurants and a late night club.