The Old Market is located near Pub Street in the center of Siem Reap. It is surrounded by small cafes as well as tuk tuk drivers, so you won’t have to worry about getting a ride or getting food.
The Old Market is an indoor market, meaning that it has a roof, but there aren’t exterior walls and there is no air conditioning. Inside the market are seemingly hundreds of shops and vendors. You can find just about anything you want there from hammocks, to women’s clothing, to tapestries, to spices and food, and even housewares.
It is dark and humid inside and there is no easy way to find your way around. Every shop we passed, the store owner would greet us by saying, “Lady, do you want to buy something?” That was a phrase I heard so many times while in Siem Reap. The shop owners here do not back down and do not take “no” for an answer. I ended up buying a pair of pants just because I was so overwhelmed with a woman’s hard sell technique.
The center of the market (at least I think it was the center) is where the food is. There are tables full of fish and whole chickens, fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, sausages and other dried meats, and some things that I didn’t even recognize. I recall the floor being wet and trying not to think about why it was wet. The walkways are extremely narrow, so you get pretty up close and personal with everything on the tables. We even had to carefully step over women cleaning fish. The Old Market does not smell good, it’s hot and claustrophobic. But it’s something you have to see!
(Note: We couldn’t find any notorious deep-fried spiders or other bugs, we did look!)