The Old Market (Psar Char) is a great place to go souvenir hunting. While the market is a bit run down, there's a good choice of items and prices are OK - definitely much, much better than the large souvenir shops on the edge of town. It's fully open during the day, and some (but not all) stalls stay open for the early evening too.
Don't be afraid to bargain, but remember the stallholder's livelyhood too!
What to buy: Pretty much all the souvenirs you'll see elsewhere are available here.
What to pay: I got a nice selection of gifts for 10 US dollars...
Everything is being sold here. Antiques, T-shirts, jewelry, pirated copies of books, arts and crafts, food, snacks - you name it, it's probably there. Walk through a wooden maze of stalls to hunt for the things you think you want or they think you should need (grin)
What to pay: Bargain.
There are a number of such local arts and crafts shop around the Old Market of which I think Senteurs d'Angkor is possibly one of the better ones. You can buy local ethnic clothings, local crafts, spices and tea leaves etc all in one location. Some of them items can be rather exquisite.
What to buy: I bought some kampot peppers in a salt & pepper salt as well as Lotus Tea.
What to pay: From US$2 above, depending on what you are buying.
The Lazy Mango is a great little second-hand bookshop. If you need something to read on your travels, it would be worth stopping by here to check it out. Not the cheapest of places, but the books were in pretty good condition, and you should be able to trade your old ones in there, too.
They have nice postcards, too!
If you’re looking for fabric, clothing, trinkets, etc. check out the Central Market. This large covered market features loads of stalls, each selling different wares. It’s the best place I found to buy clothes, like skirts, pants, sundresses and shirts. There are also food stalls that line the streets outside the Central Market. It’s a great alternative to Psar Chaa and slightly less touristed. It doesn't have the ambience of Psar Chaa, but I am still regretting the skirt that I decided not to buy there. It was the best deal I saw the entire trip!
What to buy: If you're backpacking and looking for some new clothes be sure to stop here. The prices can't be beat and there's a lot of variety.
What to pay: Bargain, bargain, bargain. Never accept the first price offered.
By the side of the road you often see people selling home made candy made from palm sugar.
I love buying it and usually take it home to Denmark as a present.
It´s very tasty and is usually wrapped in palm leaves.
They make it on the spot where you buy it and most of the time you will see the big pot next to the stand where they are boiling more sugar.
It´s a very authentic Cambodian thing to buy and it tastes great.
This is the famous old market where you can buy almost anything: clothes, hardware, food, statues, silver, basketry, musical instruments, and almost all kinds of souvenirs. Don’t forget to bargain – the number 1 rule for shopping in the market! :D
I bought a krama – a classic Cambodian scarf (very useful!), some Cambodian silk, and souvenir t shirts for very affordable prices.
Visit the Psar Chas in the afternoon if you wanna avoid the crowd!
What to buy: I really recommend for you to buy the krama if you want something very Cambodian. Almost everyone wears it (in various colors) to cover their face or back of neck in the scorching hot sun, and it's even used to carry an infant :) (see pic)
I do not want to be condoning piracy but I do know these are very popular with backpackers. For US$5-US$10, you can bargain hard for pirated coloured copies of "Lonely Planet" guides - usually of Cambodia and the neighbouring countries like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore. The quality ain't bad - and you save a lot of money compared to the originals but I leave it to you as reader of this tip to make a judgement call for yourself with regard to respecting copyrights.
What to buy: "Lonely Planet" guides.
What to pay: US$5-US$10. Bargain HARD.
A number of shops sell Kramas, a traditional scarf-like garment that are usually worn by Cambodians to protect themselves from the sun and dust.
The small Kramas go for US$1 (Seldom will things go for lesser than US$1). It's not the price that you should be concerned about here, but really it should be about the quality. I saw quite a number of kramas that actually looked rather old.
What to pay: US$1. No more, no less.
Although the list says it opens from 4pm till midnight; most shops in there actually open mcuh later. Best time to go would be after dinner, around 7pm. Not a lot of shops, but because these are really geared towards tourists, the prices are slightly higher, but the quality's better and you can find stuff here you will not find elsewhere.
What to buy: For unique t-shirts, check out Angkor Naga. The tops have tribal/tattooish designs by the store owner. Also look out for other t-shirts which feature stylished deisgn of the angkor monuments instead of the usual reprints of the pics.
Bags as well, silk bags - expensive compared to normal shops, but unique and good quality.
Spices, as well as sat and paper shakers sets
What to pay: I paid US$11 for a small silk dinner bag, and $14 for a cambodia traditional design tote. Angkor Naga t-shirts cost about $7 a piece.
What to buy: In many souvenir shops you will find reproductions of some of the carvings that you can find at the Angkor temples walls. They are made of clay and painted to look old, you can find them in any size and weight.
At many temples there are people selling T-shirts, and other assorted things. A T-shirt only cost $3 and it is fair quality. You can buy a book about Angkor for $8. Be a sport and don't bargain the poor local people down to nothing. Buy something and pay full price. It is still a bargain for you and it will help make a poor kid's life a little better. Remember how much money you spent getting here and what you will pay for dinner. A three dollar T-shirt is nothing.
What to buy: Anything
What to pay: bargain a little just to because it is expected, but when you get the T-shirt for $3, buy several.
Here's good news for book lovers out there!
Like Bangkok, Siem Reap is also the place to buy your bootlegged books! Be it fiction, non-fiction, or travel guides, you can get it for as low as 3 USD! What a steal.
I bought my lonely planet Cambodia travel guide at the Angkor site for 5 USD. And also here (see pics), I bought one of the classic Cambodian reads called “Stay Alive, My Son” by Pin Yathay for only USD 3 at the Psar Chas.
I know I’m encouraging 'piracy' by buying these kinda books, but, I was so damn broke at that time. Plus the bookseller, who was a brave landmine victim told me that I’d love that book. I read it, and loved it! =)
Artisans Angkor is an internationally-funded livelihood program to train poor Cambodians on how to make good quality copies of Angkor-inspired themes like the buddha, apsara, Angkor Wat, etc.
What to buy: Stone and wooden replicas of buddhas, buddha heads, apsaras, etc.; silk clothes and bags; toiletries, paintings and other artwork.
What to pay: Souvenir shirts cost USD 6 for kids' sizes, 7 for S/M adult and 8 for L/XL. Though the store is right beside the shop, the prices are the same as those at the airport store and other outlets.
There are interesting things to see and buy. There are rows of stalls that you can purchase the wares from. I'd preferred those shops that were located on the outside. Not too stuffy and prices are quite about the same as those inside the market.
Remember to bargain BUT, these people are not as giving as those in Thailand nor Vietnam. So don't expect a big discount from them.
There is also a wet market where you may want to feast your eyes on the live fishes and other interesting creatures such as grasshoppers that are on sale.
What to buy: Check out the replicas of Apsara dancers, figurines of their gods as seen in the temples, kramas and many others.