Lit up like a lantern, the new pavilion-covered Night Market of Phnom Penh has added a new dimension to the nightlife along the riverside in recent months.
First opened in front of Wat Ounalom in November, the market this month moved closer to Phsar Chas and is open from 5 pm to midnight Friday through Sunday.
With 160 stalls, the market sells everything from clothing and sculptures to fish sauce and beer. It attracts 3,000 people on Fridays, and about one third of them are foreigners, said Ngoeun Chanline, president of LAS Vision, the company responsible for managing the market for the Phnom Penh municipality.
Still, there is debate over the future of the market, with some vendors complaining that high rental fees are making it difficult for them to turn a profit. However, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said that due to its prime tourist location, the night market is sure to be a successful and profitable location.
“Tourists like to spend money on souvenirs from the countries they have been to,” Thong Khon said this week.
In Vibol, a marketer for Khmer Nature Handicraft, said that his company had actually lost money so far during January. The company sells beer and vinegar at the market.
“Still, the company will try another month, and it might have more customers next month,” he said.
Ngoeun Chanline of LAS Vision said the nightly charge of $10 per stall is a fair price to ask of vendors.
“The price cannot be reduced. We set the cheapest price for vendors,” he said, adding that even if vendors make a profit they will still complain about paying the rental fee.
Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, said the market is a good way of tapping the growing tourist market, as foreign customers who are busy during the day are usually free to shop at night.
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