The Russian Market is known as the best place in Phnom Penh for souvenirs and clothes shopping. I’m not much of a shopper but wanted to visit for the experience and buy a few gifts. The market is popular among tourists, expatriates, and locals.
The Market was named for its popularity among Russian expatriates during the 1980s. It carries drinks, snacks and cooked food, traditional carvings and handicrafts, gems, hand-woven Chinese and Cambodian silk, antique furniture, DVDs and CDs, silverware, books and maps, backpacks, handbags, shoes, and of course clothing.
For avid collectors, the Russian Market is a source of “objects d’art”. Local artisans showcase their work. Collectibles include wooden and stone carvings, silverware, and old Indochinese notes and coins. Gold and silversmiths make custom jewelry while shoppers watch. Displays include new handicrafts and older antique carvings.
Russian Market architecture is of less interest than the Central Market, but it has a larger and more varied choice of souvenirs, curios, and silks. Like the Central Market, there are several jewelers and gold-sellers. It has a huge choice of curios, silks, and carvings and is one of the best markets for buying fabric. The Russian Market is busy and full of life. Just looking around is a marvelous experience.
Outside of the Russian Market towards the back is a clump of shops and a café called Yejj Café. This café serves some of the best food in Phnom Penh. The staff wear yellow and the inside is purple and yellow. The bathroom is brilliantly painted!
Girls working in Yejj Café have been through different programs, including Destiny Rescue and Sunshine House. They have been through rape, abuse, and other issues, and Yejj recruits them and gives them an income. By eating at Yejj Café you’re not only being treated to brilliant food but also helping worthy causes.
I decided to have lunch at a restaurant near the market called Jars of Clay. Specialties include teas and coffee, iced drinks, pastries, and sandwiches. Eight Cambodian women run the restaurant and 10% of their profits pay school fees for children and help widows and sick people in the community.
Early tomorrow morning I take a boat to Siem Reap. The trip along the Mekong River is about 6 hours and I’m really looking forward to the experience!