The heart of Siem Reap and a major tourist centre, the Psah Chas Market, colloquially known as simply the “Old Market,” buzzes with energy along Pub Street, stretching all the way from the Siem Reap River to the famous night markets on Sivutha Boulevard. It remains a traditional local market in spite of increased international tourism, keeping its allure as an authentic Cambodian gathering spot and hawker venue.
Shops, galleries and cafes sit next together in the crowded market space, selling everything from luxurious Cambodian silks to Kampot pepper, herbal beauty products, woodcrafts, handspun textiles and ceramics. The air thickens with exotic scents from fresh spices, Khmer soups, red chilis, fried banana kebabs and pan-roasted peanuts from small food stalls dotting the market. Visitors can easily stroll the Pub Street alleys to find nightlife, eateries and boutiques.
The Old Market area is highly walkable with narrow lanes and bustling passageways, though many tourists choose to get around via tuk-tuk taxis or auto-rickshaws, referred to as “remorks.” There is no official public transportation in Siem Reap, making it feasible to hire an affordable remork driver for the entire day. Bike rental shops abound near the Old Market and along Wat Bo Road.
Though the market and its lively side streets are the main draws, the Old Market area harbours a striking collection of French Colonial buildings rebuilt after the Khmer Rouge years, now housing upscale restaurants and resorts. The name Siem Reap translates as “defeat of Siam,” generally referring to ancient conflicts between the Siamese and Khmer kingdoms.