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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!
Written Mar 18, 2004
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. ;)
Updated Jul 15, 2005
Don't buy T-shirts at the outdoor stalls near the temples without unfolding and inspecting them. We nearly ended up with a few duds - sun bleached, with big faded squares, where they have been exposed for a long time - artfully refolded - and then given to you folded when you work out the design and size you want.
Also haggle good for the prices - as they can vary markedly.
What to pay: Try to get them for under $3
Written Apr 30, 2006
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.
Updated Sep 30, 2003
Address: Phsa Chas nearby Siem Reap River
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.
Updated Sep 30, 2003
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...
Updated Sep 11, 2003
If you have a sudden shortage of scarves at home, they are in abundance at the temples - the many kids who wander around selling have such a range, and such a persuasive persistence - I have so many at home from the last holiday - and then I just ended up with heaps more! At US$1, they are a fun gift for someone, and doing the scarf economy a small favour!
What to buy: Any colour combination!
What to pay: US$1 - and no more!
Written Apr 30, 2006
While wandering through Ta Prohm, I found this young artist from Battambang, who was finishing a watercolour of an area of the temple - after 5 days work on it. After rifling through his "portfolio" of Angkor Wat , was certain I wanted the unfinished painting. We negotiated the huge price of US$35 - although I insisted on paying him 40! - and we were both happy. Much better than the mass produced paintings sold in the souvenir shops.
There are a number of artists, of varying talent, to be seen inside the temples, some of whom are painting for their own whimsy, but also some for sale. Don't be shy about approaching and asking. I wasn't!
He delivered the paining, packaged in a cane cylinder and signed, to my guesthouse. Happy as a pig in mud I was!
What to buy: Original artwork from the artist
What to pay: A fair price for the skill and the time commitment
Written Jun 16, 2006
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 :-)
Updated Jan 20, 2006
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.
Written Jun 27, 2004