Pasar Nat is a market in Battambang, Cambodia. Pasar Nat is located in the centre of a large square surrounded by shop houses, many of which date back to the era when Cambodia was a French colony. Pasar Nat is clearly the central point in Battamabang and many of the town’s most popular hotels, bars and restaurants are located in this area.
The market was built in the 1930s under the direction of the French Public Works Department. Visitors to Battamabang who are familiar with other major markets in the region, such as Phnom Penh Central Market and Ben Thanh Market in Saigon, will notice similarities in the Art Deco design of the market building in Battambang. This similarity is no accident as Pasar Nat was designed by the same people responsible for Phnom Central Market and Ben Thanh Market: French architect Jean Desbois and engineer Louis Chauchon.
About Pasar Nat
Activity at Pasar Nat starts early at first light and ends when it becomes hot in the afternoon. This is a market which sells pretty much everything and local people come here to buy everyday essentials as well as less frequent major purchases. They also come here to eat. Unlike Phnom Penh Central Market or Ben Thanh Market in Saigon, you won’t see many foreign visitors at Battambang Central Market.
The market is split into two part. One part of the market is what is commonly described as a ‘wet market’ where foodstuffs are sold.
The majority of the food on sale is fresh – there is no refrigeration at Pasar Nat, save for the ice used to prolong the life of the seafood sold at the market.
Some parts of the market, particularly where the fresh meat is sold, smells bad. The local shoppers seem unfazed by the odour, foreign visitors may want to hold their breath and move swiftly along to another part of the market.
If you are looking for some ingredients to take home with you head towards the dried goods section. Items like dried shrimp and spices have a long shelf life and are perfect for cooking authentic Cambodian food in countries where these items are difficult to find and very expensive if they are available.
In the centre of market there are lots of food stalls selling Cambodian cuisine. Local people eat here which is a good indicator that the food is cheap and the dish are prepared according to local recipes. Pasar Nat is somewhere to go if you want to eat authentic Cambodian food.
The ‘dry’ section of the market is much less busy than the area where food is sold. All kinds of things are sold here from kitchenware to jewellery. You won’t find any souvenir stalls selling t-shirts or mugs with ‘Cambodia’ or ‘Battambang’ printed on them but you can buy some authentic fabrics and other Cambodian made handicrafts.
A word of warning for foreign shoppers at Pasar Nat. This is a market and the stallholders reason for being there is to make money. This means that they will try to make as much money out of anyone who shops there as they can. The prices you will be asked to pay in the first instance will be outrageously high: 3 to 5 times the local rate. Also if you are buying high value items, like silver or gold, there is a fairly good chance that some of the stallholders will attempt to sell you fakes.
Travel to Pasar Nat
Pasar Nat is in the middle of Battambang and very easy to find. Battambang Train Station is located 700 metres walking distance from the market along Preah Vihear Street.
At the present time there are very limited train services operating to Battambang. Trains from Phnom Penh arrive once a week on Mondays at 17:15 and once a week on Tuesdays at 10:35 from Poipet. For moment the best way to get to Battambang is to travel by road. For more information follow the links below:
- Train & minivan times – Phnom Penh to Battambang