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Shopping for Cane, Wicker and Rattan Furniture in Phnom Penh

By: Amber Martinez Posted: August-20-2009 in
Amber Martinez

I’ve had quite a few people ask me over this past year where to buy cane furniture and what the “going rate” of certain items are, so I thought I’d go ahead and share my own experience. I bought all my stuff around May of 2008 and a few things since then, so prices may have gone up or down a bit.

The place I went, which I am told has the best prices and the most options by far, is called “Cham Kar Mon” and consists of about 15 shops all lined up in a row on Mao Tse Tung St. right after it crosses Norodom Blvd, immediately after crossing, on the right hand side.

You can find all sorts of cool stuff here, including the great big round “Papa San” chairs, mini round chairs, rocking chairs, any other sort of chair, living room sets, desks, wardrobes, bed frames, dining table sets, drawers and shelves, shoe racks, room dividers, lamps, magazine racks, floor mats, patio furniture, tons of other fun stuff, and have any design of yours custom ordered for about the same price as something comparable on offer.

I purchased a cute living room set (a couch, two chairs, and a coffee table) which included the cushions, for $120. I picked up a few room screens at $30 each, if I remember right (the big, 4 panel ones). My small round patio table for 2 persons cost about $25, and each chair for it was $9. My wardrobe, which has a full length mirror, and is the biggest one I could find, cost about $65, and a dining room hutch with a pretty arched top and some good storage was also $65. A small, basic desk with one drawer and one storage compartment cost $25, not including the chair. A tall bookshelf was…if I remember right…$10 or $15. My magazine rack, the second from the tallest one (or maybe it was the tallest one?) which is a tiered style with scrolled iron detail, was $15. The two mini round chairs were $8 each, I’m pretty sure (not including the cushions). The low table was $9. My dining table was $65, not including chairs…chairs range from $6 to $20 and up, depending on style. I had a custom made piece to fit a very weird spot in my kitchen to hold my mini electric oven and baking stuff, for $25. A very small chest of drawers that could double up as a nightstand will cost you less than $10. A water filter stand was around $5.
Like I said, these prices may or may not still be accurate, since this was all around May of 2008 but it shouldn’t be too far off.

A note about the dining table selection process…make sure you try before you buy! I spotted mine under a pile of other tables, and behind a pile of tables…it made it impossible to try sitting at it to check the practicality of the design, and since I am accustomed to living in America and not needing to worry about such things, I just pointed and said “that one.” I got it home and realized that the pretty lattice arch piece attached to the legs, bumps into everyone’s knees and makes it impossible to pull a chair fully under it. A complete waste of money, unless I take off the arch lattice pieces which is the only reason I bought it to begin with.

Regarding bargaining here, it's not the same as, say, Psar Toul Tum in, you can bargain down by about 10% or 20% but that's about it(vs. Toul Tum Pong, where $50 can become $20 or less, depending on how savvy you are). Their prices are pretty set. Sometimes they won't go down at all, but you can likely find it in the next shop over if that's the case.

To get your stuff home, just have the shop owner call a moto with a trailer if you can’t find a tuk tuk usually cost me right around $5 to pile a tuk tuk full of stuff and an extra dollar or two to get him to carry it up the 3 flights of stairs for me. I live at the other end of Mao Tse Tung behind the Intercontinental Hotel, so you can determine how much you should pay a tuk tuk depending on whether your drive is longer or shorter than that.

You can have cushions made in either the fabric the shop has on hand, or fabric you purchase yourself. I had the second to last shop (I think it was) make me six big square cushions to sit on, six thin square throw pillows for my couch, and two small round cushions for my small round chairs…it put me out about $65, not including the fabric I purchased for $1/meter at Orrussy market. Those cushions are a lifesaver, I tell you.

Well, that just about sums up my cane furniture shopping tips...happy shopping!


Great Article. The only thing

Great Article. The only thing I would add is ( apart from the round papasan chairs which are too hard to cover and tok cheap to replace when they get stained ) I would get the shop to discard the horrible kapok cushions that come with all sofas ( as per the brown one in the photos ) and get some proper square 10cm thick foam rubber ones made. The ones for your back you can leave with kapok filling - I mean the bottom ones you will lie on when watching the tube. The kapok loses its original plump shape very quickly leaving a body indentation AND I am sure there are mites in the kapok cushions. Kapok is the fluffy flower of a tree and when I used to lie on it my face would end up with tiny little itchy bites. Once we changed the cushions to rubber, this stopped 100%. You can ask them how much material they need and then go to Russian Market and by some nice funky material for your sofa. They can make white cotton under covers and then removable covers so you can clean them. It might cost a bit extra but it is well worth the increase in comfort and style.

Also, while silk looks nice for throw pillows, it is quite hot in reality and hard to wash. Go cotton.


Thanks for the great info!

Thanks for the great info! Yes, the cushions that it comes with do suck. That's gross about the mites...also, any baskets bought from here I've noticed have tiny bugs that create sawdust looking powder around the base. I sprayed bug spray a few times and it seems to have stopped. Great article by the way, and cool couch!


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