Shopping is not normally the priority of visitors to Sihanoukville. That said, the city's growing popularity and the increasing number of visitors have seen to it that the shopping scene is much better these days. There are a good number of supermarkets and convenience stores that stock just about everything a traveller needs. Curio shops, jewellery stores and gift shops have cropped up all over the place. Excellent souvenirs, mostly handcrafted ones, are to be found in in town or on the beaches. Clothing, gemstones and sculptures are some of the other items worth looking at in Sihanoukville.
This Sihanoukville shopping guide gives an indication of some of the shops and markets you may wish to visit, as well what to buy and what not to buy. And after all this shopping in Sihanoukville, what better way to unwind than to sit down to a nice meal at a great restaurant in Sihanoukville - justifiably famous for their deliciously fresh seafood! Our Cambodia Shopping Guide provides general information for shopping in Cambodia.
Cambodia has a long tradition in handicrafts, and tourism has certainly given the sector an impetus. Few tourists go back without a bagful of locally made goodies. Intricate stone carvings, beautifully crafted wooden boxes and exquisite silverware are among the favourites. Also popular are paintings, pottery, rattan bags, basketwork and wooden furniture with local designs carved on them.
Traditionally these items are made by artisans whose skills have been handed down generations. In the last decade or so, some of the products are made by people disabled by landmines and by underprivileged women and children with training and support from NGOs and aid organisations. They have their own outlets in the downtown area and near Serendipity Beach.
Cambodia is known for its gemstones - precious and semi-precious. Many shops in Sihanoukville stock gems as well as ornaments and jewellery made with them. Identifying the genuine ones can be a problem though. However, you will definitely want to buy a few of the charmingly crafted silverware and silver jewellery on offer.
Excellent replicas of religious figurines, idols and motifs are available at souvenirs shops in Sihanoukville. Made with stones or bronze, most feature characters from the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Statues of the Buddha, in many sizes and using different material, are also on offer and are very popular. They make ideal gifts and souvenirs.
Weaving has always been an important occupation in these parts. You get beautiful and refined silk, cotton and other fabrics here. Typically the fabrics are tie-dyed and have fascinating traditional designs and patterns. A hot selling item is the karma, which is a type of scarf that is usually very colourful. Made using cotton or silk, it is used as a scarf, towel or headgear.
Along the beaches you'll find many Sihanoukville shops selling beachwear and swimsuits.
What NOT to buy!
You may notice stands along the roads selling seashells and coral. The harvesting of coral and shells is destroying reefs, damaging the ocean environment and is illegal. Further, those shells are so shiny and beautiful because they contained living animals when they were collected - animals now dead to provide such perfect specimens. Please do not encourage this trade.