Built in 1937, this stunning butter-coloured art-deco ziggurat designed by Vann Molyvann is the most unlikely of buildings in Phnom Penh.
Here you'll find everything from jewellery to avocados and deep fried crickets to white goods, but be prepared to negotiate hard as the prices seem to be higher, and the traders tougher, than elsewhere.
A huge dome with four wings, it's an amazingly cool place to seek refuge in the middle of the day and is also a fascinating market to wander through. The area of the market under the dome is given over to gold and watch merchants, while the wings hold consumer electronics -- generally low quality -- along with household goods and clothing. Just outside the walls is a sprawling wet market which is a lot cleaner than the nearby Phsar Chas (Old Market). On the eastern side of the market a range of tourist stalls sell photocopied books, maps and kramas and further out still is the fresh flower section. Phsar Thmei is a good spot for sightseeing, but not really for shopping. The vendors often start with such inflated prices it is not even worth bargaining. To our mind, it feels a little sterile compared to the raw hustle of Russian Market, but it is a lot more comfortable, and cool, if you're not feeling up to that. Oddly enough, Central Market is called New Market if you're speaking Khmer, while New Market near the riverfront is called Central Market in Khmer. Ours is not to reason why.
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 22nd November, 2015.