Review: Toul Tum Poung
In our continuing series of emerging residential areas outside Phnom Penh centre, we will look at Sangkats of Toul Tum Poung 1 & 2, known to most expatriates as the Russian Market area. The suburb Toul Tum Poung is located to the south of BKK3 and to the west of Boeung Trabek. The Sangkat is bounded by Mao Tse Tung to the north, Street #271 (Phnom Penh’s ring road) to the west and Street #488 to the south. The area is best known for the large market near its heart – Psar Toul Tum Poung or “The Russian Market” – that is not only a tourist destination but used by locals and expatriates for picking up some great deals on assorted merchandise. This area is now undergoing some rapid development. Newly laid concrete roads zigzag around newly or partially built apartment blocks or existing shopfront houses which make up the majority of the properties in heart of the area. The outer portions of the suburb feature more villas of various quality and size. The northern portion, just south of Mao Tse Toung Boulevard, contains a relatively high concentration of wooden villas, whereas to the south and west there is a number of more recently built modern villas, complete with modern facilities and to a western style. By central Phnom Penh standards, these villas are large and much more affordable than their Daun Penh or BKK1 cousins. Villas in this area are commonly priced between $1000-$2000 pcm and on most occasions possess a garden or large paved area around the main house making this area attractive to families that cannot afford the exorbitant rents of central Phnom Penh. The newly constructed apartment blocks that are now beginning to be seen are housing a growing number of expatriates, driven southwest by the ever-increasing rents of the central suburbs. These new apartments vary in quality and size as local landlords do their best to meet western tastes, but not all reach this goal. Two-bedroom apartments in these blocks are commonly priced at $700-$1,000, and cheaper options are available in the many older shopfront flats that are available near the market. In recent times, Toul Tum Poung has seen an increase in the number of restaurants and entertainment establishments that cater to a diversity of tastes. Dotted throughout the area are new 24-hour mini-marts, making the trip to get some essential supplies easier than ever before. Additionally, the ease at which one can make the trip to central Phnom Penh, make Toul Tum Poung a viable alternative to the more costly central parts of the city.