The Russian Market is known as the best place in Phnom Penh to shop for souvenirs and clothes. It’s popular among tourists, locals, and expatriates. I’m not much of a shopper but wanted to visit for the experience and to buy gifts.
The Market is named for its popularity among Russian expatriates during the 1980s. It carries drinks, snacks and cooked food, gems, traditional carvings and handicrafts, hand-woven Chinese and Cambodian silk, antiques, CDs, silverware, books, maps, backpacks, handbags, shoes, and clothing.
For avid collectors, the Russian Market is a source of “objects d’art”. Local artisans showcase their work and displays include new handicrafts and antiques. Collectibles include wooden and stone carvings, silverware, and Indochinese notes and coins. Gold and silversmiths make custom jewelry while shoppers watch.
Russian Market architecture isn’t as interesting as Phnom Penh’s Central Market, but it has a more varied choice of souvenirs, curios, carvings, and silks. The Russian Market is busy and full of life, so just looking around is a marvelous experience. Like the Central Market, there are several jewelers and gold-sellers, and it’s one of the best markets for buying fabric.
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. Staff wear yellow and the inside has purple and yellow decor. The brilliantly painted bathroom is a work of art!
Young girls working at Yejj Café have been through different programs, including Sunshine House and Destiny Rescue. They’ve experienced rape and other forms of abuse. Yejj recruits the girls and gives them an income. By eating at Yejj Café you’re not only enjoying brilliant food but also helping worthy local 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. Cambodian women run the restaurant and 10% of 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 looking forward to the experience!