The 5 reasons we love the Phnom Penh Night Market:
1. LATE-NIGHT SNACKS.
When post-dinner hunger pangs strike, there's no shortage of Khmer snack foods to tame them. The western-most section of the market plays host to a food court of sorts where tote-able meals-on-a-stick await. These kebabs stack veggie upon veggie, sometimes mixed with meats, and are optionally smothered in various Asian sauces, from sweet to spicy. Wash the succulence down with sugarcane juice or an ice-cold beer. Enjoy your snack on the go, or get off your feet and have a seat on one of the patterned floor mats.
2. WEEKEND ENTERTAINMENT.
Amid the stalls selling nightly meals and copious Khmer souvenirs sits an elevated stage featuring local bands and artists who perform anything from recognizable melodies to Khmer choreographed routines. Grab an aforementioned snack and a seat on the mats to watch both professionals and karaoke contestants take center stage for your enjoyment.
3. BARGAINING OPTIONAL.
Most items are labeled with fixed prices, but bartering is still an option. Therefore, those who are still a bit shy when it comes to haggling for a cheaper price may find the Night Market to be the safest place to try out the acquired tactic. Think that leather over-the-shoulder bag is worth $3 instead of $5? Let the vendor know and see how far you can get with your newfound skill. The pressure to buy that some market-goers may feel at other markets is absent at the Night Market where the scene is more akin to a weekend hangout spot.
4. AFTER-WORK HOURS.
Need to get your haggling fix but trapped at the office or school all day? The Night Market's hours cater to your schedule by opening at 1700 and staying open till midnight on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
5. DO AS THE KHMER DO.
Located in an area of town clamoring with tourists and expats, the Night Market has gradually become a popular scene for Phnom Penh locals as well. Although there are traces of typical Cambodian souvenirs, the merchandise has grown to be geared toward Khmer shoppers, including local designers' fashions, Cambodian-crafted jewelry, and handmade home goods like pillows and tablecloths.
Considerably smaller in size compared with other Phnom Penh markets, the Night Market's late hours and relaxed atmosphere offer a welcoming respite to the larger and more intimidating shop sites.