In case you suddenly feel the need for a souvenir while wandering around Angkor Wat, there is a row of vendors on the left-hand side of the complex. It's the usual stuff which is also available outside, but you may want to look anyway - I found a couple of good T-shirts here. You'll almost certainly want to bargain, but try to pay a fair price - the vendors certainly don't get rich from their efforts. The vendors don't seem to be allowed to go into the nearby ruins (fortunately), so just retreat if you don't see anything you like.
What to pay: I paid $5 per shirt, which was fine for me and a tidy profit for the vendor :-)
Mobile shopping appears to be the go at Angkor Wat!
So - what do you do for mail if you live around Angkor Wat - and the endless shops with T-shirts, scarves, books, postcards carvings etc are no good to you? - if you just need a stamp, or want your mail. What do you do if you have a problem with the neighbours - and the local constabulary are needed?
It’s pretty likely you’re going to buy some postcards to send from Angkor Wat and though you could easily buy them in Siem Reap at a shop, we found it convenient to buy them from local kids. If you sit in one of the outdoor restaurants, they are bound to come up and hawk their wares.
What to buy: They sell an assortment of trinkets but we just bought what we needed: postcards.
What to pay: They were pretty cheap and at least the kids weren't just begging for money. Now, the stamps....that was another question. ;)
You wouldn't miss stalls like these in almost every entrance of the temples in Siem Reap. They sell rices, snacks, cold bottled-water, coconut. Things you would definitely need under the hot sun and your stomach is making noises. They are fairly cheap. A plate of fried rice would cost you USD 2 the most. They are very persistent, they would start calling at you the minute you step out from your tuk-tuk or taxi. "Sir, you want cold water?", they would say. Some of the kids would even run up to you, with the menu in their hands. Initially you would turn them down politely, but with so many temples to go to and running into them every time, you can consider yourself a Dalai Lama if you don't find them annoying at times.
What to pay: USD 1 - USD 5
Many tourists to Siem Reap don't realize that most of the bigger shops are owned by Japanese, Korean and French interest.
Very little money goes back to Cambodians. So be thoughtful and only buy Cambodian!
What to buy: Carving School Items
What to buy:
Kra-ma is the typical locally worn chequered scarf, it is uniquely Khmer, inexpensive, and practical and makes for a simple but attractive gift or souvenir. Although most Cambodians have the ones in blue/white, red/white and black/white, you can buy them in all the colors you can imagine. They are all made by hand.
The kra-ma can be a very good investment on one of those dusty roads to cover your face or wrap it for protection around your head against the sun.
What to pay: Around 2000 riel, if you buy more you can get better prices sometimes. Most kids and women will start with 4000 riel which equals $1.
What to buy:
See if you can buy a whole jackfruit somewhere along the street at one of the fruitstalls. This is a large fruit with loads yellow pieces [pockets] inside its skin. It tastes delicious and it contains so much fruit that you can easily share one with a whole group of people.
see my local customs tip on my Siem Reap page on how to eat it.
Artisans D'Angkor which is a school teaching Cambodian youths to learn how to carve wood and stone scupltures used to be sponsored by Frence and UN.But now they have to keep it working by selling their hand made crafts.Thier hand made crafts are much more expensive than others in local market but much better quality than them.The most important thing is we could help this school keep working.
What to buy: Stone/wood carving
What to pay: US 100
Beside all of the major temples you will see locals selling souvenirs, drinks, and food. They have learned to really try to rip off tourists, so be smart with your money. You may want to compare prices in town before venturing off to the temples with a pocket full of cash, because you just might spend it all!
For example, the local water in blue bottles is usually 500 Riel (US$0.12) per bottle in town, but in the park, th asking price is as much as US$1, especially at the major temples. If you remind them how cheap water is in town, you can usually talk them down to 750-1000 Riels for the bottle (US$0.18-US$0.25) which is a fair price. But if you haven't compared prices (or read my tip!), you will have no idea and start shelling out money making it tougher on the next tourist that comes along.
There are numerous chances to support the locals. Around every corner are locals selling their handiwork. From wooden carvings of the faces at the Bayon, to paintings of the Angkor Wat, to little bracelets from little girls, there are ample souvenir opportunities. I bought all three of the above-mentioned items, and I paid about $14USD, and that was because I felt sorry for most of them and gave an extra 4 dollars over what they were asking. So, $10USD for a large wooden head, 2 paintings of the Angkor Wat, 2 bracelets from two little girls, and I love all of them. Mementos are awesome!
Near the hotel Ta Prohm in the old market, ask for the shop run by Set Maria and at times her little sister, Set Sofin would also be there. their mother is seen around with their little brother. They stock the usual stuff sold in these places, statues made in cambodia, cothes, and pirated books.. very friendly people and the prices are very decent indeed..
What to buy: Apsaras with bells attached to them. Budha heads. small replicas of Ganesh. pirated books on Angkor. VCDs about Angkor. Silk scarfs. shoulder bags
What to pay: Very reasonable about one fifth the price in the USA
I succumbed to one of the many vendors selling guidebooks and bought a couple for 10 dollars, 5 bucks apiece. I've read in lots of places that these books are supposed to be fakes, but the ones I bought seem to be genuine enough. Make sure you get a good look at any books you buy before parting with your money, though.
One of the books was a little bit worse for wear and was just basically a picture souvenir, but the other was an up-to-date copy (4th ed., 2003) of Dawn Rooney's "Angkor", and it's an excellent book with lots of information on the temples including the historical background. The UK price is nearly 15 pounds so it was a real bargain. The ISBN is 962217683 if you want to look for it.
A traditional market like any other local market in South East Asia :)
What to buy: So many souvenirs can be found here. Especially t-shirt with reasonable price. Don't forget to show your bargain skill. My fave are white one with sketch of Angkor map on the back. Then Khmer lingo with the figure of Angkor Wat on the front, left side. Many friends of mine were envy, hahahahah :)
What to pay: Approximately USD 1,8 - 2 per piece.
Around the temples you will find many "2 for 1 dollar" items. Those kids selling cheap souvenirs seem to know only that english sentence, so everything they sell costs 1 dollar, and includes 2 items!!! Maybe you can bargain for 3 items, but this girl was so cute that I couldn't :-))
I bought these 2 flutes for my kids... and everyday I repent, as my ears can't stand that sound anymore, LOL LOL They are gonna "get lost" soon...
It went past too quickly -:) Imagine if you'd forgotten soemthing, only to discover the local supermarket had upped and left!
With the oncome of the dry season, the village moves to the shores of the lake, hence this little trip.-:)