Fascinating Cambodian Craftmanship To Experience In Siem Reap
Most people think of ancient temples the moment they heard about Siem Reap province. However, this wonderful land has so much more to offer to tourists out there. We are going to explore some fabulous arts that many visitors might not be aware of. Our team visited right at the fields in order to provide the most resourceful information possible to tourists out there. We also have done some interviews, and we sure hope that you will find this article interesting and useful.
Below, there will be 4 main beautiful arts that you are going to see. We are not talking about the usual stuff that you come across at the markets. The silk farm, pottery, paintings, and other handicrafts that you are going to read are all authentic and genuine. We had great experiences, and we learned so much from our interviewees. This is why we are here to share our great moments with you today. It is always nice to dive into new things and places, so let’s find out.
What comes into your mind upon the mention of the word “Handicraft”? Accessories would be the first things to pop up in some people’s thoughts while the others are bags and more. There are many forms of handicraft that you will see when you visit a tourist site like Siem Reap province. If you are not interested in cliché areas and markets, there is a new market that you should not miss.
Made In Cambodia Market has been established for a few years now. The special thing about this market is that all products are handmade. This also means no two items look the same, and that is the real beauty of handicrafts from this market. You will find a wide range of items from accessories and decoration items to clothes and more. Because the purpose of the market is to help Khmer villagers to have jobs, every purchase you make really contributes a lot.
Just like many other handmade products in this ancient province, every artisan and designer puts their heart into their work. It is not only just the good-looking items that you will get but also the high quality products. Such incredible Cambodian craftsmanship does not only show the ability of Khmer artisans but also the amount of effort they put. Even the designs and patterns of the stalls in the market itself is different from the others. Each stall has its own unique style that brings out the compliment to their products at their best. Not to mention the relaxing and tranquil vibes that you will experience, this Cambodian market is worth visiting.
Besides the fine quality handmade products, you will also get to see some special performances. On Friday, you will get to experience the live performance of acoustic music by the handicap bands. The performance starts at 6PM and ends at 8PM, and Khmer music is absolutely unique to listen to. On every Saturday, there is a live Khmer traditional dance that starts from 6PM until 7PM. As for Sundays, the market is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables that you can buy. The special thing about local fruits and vegetables in Siem Reap is that they are homegrown. That way you can trust that they are healthy and safe to consume.
If you are lucky, you will get to see the special circus performance by Phare Cambodia Circus. The circus team performs there once or twice a month, and their shows are always entertaining to watch. Not every night market offers such beautiful and cultural forms of entertainment like this. And that is what makes Made In Cambodia Market a fun place to visit.
Made In Cambodia Market is located at the corner of Achar Sva Street and Street 27. The market opens every day from 12PM to 10PM at night, and evening is probably the best time to visit. You can get to enjoy seeing Khmer products along with the windy breeze from the river in front of it. Plus with the beautiful light decorations, this market is definitely an amazing place to go.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MadeinCambodiaMarket
Contact Number: 010 345 643
Cambodian Painting And Khmer Artists
Sitting on a small chair in front of a white canvas with a paintbrush in his right hand is a painter who is concentrating on his daily work. Painting has been one of the sensational arts that many people find fascinating. You will see several houses that sell paintings as you are on the way to Angkor Wat temple. Some of the houses have been around for more than a decade already while the others just began their business.
Chhit Say, 29 years old, is a painter who starts his painting business in 2013. With his great passion for painting, he spent 4 years studying this skill in Battambang province. Now, he has 2 painting houses on Road To Angkor and another store in the new market in front of Angkor Wat temple. “The business is difficult these days. Sometimes I don’t get to sell a painting during the whole week.”, said Say. “Most of the buyers are international tourists, but local buyers are also common.”, added the painter.
There are 5 painters who work under his supervision in total, each of whom has their own specific talents. Some are great at painting temples while others are better at painting landscapes. This is to ensure that all paintings are flawless in every order that he receives. As a matter of fact, his team always provide great quality paintings with amazing details.
Some people may think that paintings are very expensive due to their sizes and mixture of colors. According to Chhit Say, the price of his painting starts from $2 up to $300 or more, based on the picture. The painting process takes from one day up to a week, depending on the types of painting. Speaking of types of painting, he offers up to 4 specific types for his customers. These include acrylic painting, light brush painting, oil painting, and watercolor painting along with pencil drawing arts. Each piece is very unique and beautiful, and the choice is all yours.
Apart from selling paintings, Chhit Say also teaches this form of art. His students are both international and local, the course fee ranges from $300 to $350. For those who want to explore the arts, you can also contact him for a quick class. The price is $15 per hour for a person, and it is $5 for a group of 5 or above. You can choose the type of subject that you want to paint, and he will show you how. At the end of the class, he will also make some touchups to the painting to make it look great. Going home with your own masterpiece is a great idea to try, so why not?
Not many people are interested in painting or having one as part of their home decoration these days. This is one of the reasons why this art does not gain its popularity. The good thing is that new hotels and restaurants are the supporters of painting during this difficult time. Although the income is not as stable as before, at least the painters can still thrive.
If you happen to visit Siem Reap, it would be nice to drop by and bring back home this unique souvenir. You can also make an order right at the place and watch the artist creates the art that you desire. Another great thing is the fact that the painters offer nice packaging with authentic Cambodia gift wrapping style. We are talking about the traditional Smok (palm leaf weaved box) as the gift box. It is nice and neat, and it is a wonderful present to offer your friends, family, and others.
Painting is a long term gift that lasts for years to come, and it makes a great compliment to various home designs. There are many painting houses along the road to Angkor, and their works are uniquely fascinating. No matter what size you choose, at least you know that each purchase contributes to the living of local painters in Siem Reap.
Contact Number: 015 737 619
When it comes to pottery, there is one place that you should not miss when you visit Siem Reap. Khmer Ceramics has a combination of a showroom, a teaching class, and a souvenir shop all in one. Started in 2006 by a Belgian man who has an enormous passion for pottery, Khmer Ceramics is an interesting art center to explore. From dinnerware and home decoration items to sculptures made from ceramics, this place has them all for you. The fascinating thing about Khmer Ceramics is that no one piece is the same. And that is the beauty of handmade products, all of them are stunning and unique in their own way.
There are many reasons that make Khmer Ceramics & Fine Arts Center one of the most popular places amongst tourists. There, you will find yourself surrounded by items from small to big. It is amazing because it shows you a mixture of great arts that people made. On top of that, you can also place an order if you want them to produce specific items. The decision is all yours from the color to size and shape of the item that you desire. The items take around 3 days to a week to make, and their quality will not let you down. Plus with the acceptable price, you can definitely trust the production from this center.
Behind those incredible arts is a team of diligent potters who put their hearts into every crockery that they make. More than that, some of the artisans are the handicaps who were trained and given the opportunity for this special career. By purchasing the items from the gallery, you will not only support Khmer arts but also help those who are in need during Covid-19. The price starts from 5$, and all the products come with great quality and design that you can trust. As one of the top schools that teach and produce pottery, the standard of their products is second to none.
Another great thing is that you will also be able to make one of your own as well. The center offers training with a fee of $25 per person. This price covers the teaching of the course that you prefer such as glass, plate, and vase. You will surely be able to master the basic steps starting from throwing a pot on the wheel to final production. On top of that, you will also get to design your own carvings and paint on your pottery items. The awesome thing is that you will be able to bring your handmade pottery back home along with a certificate. This activity is also very nice for kids to venture into new hobby, and that is why the course is popular.
This traditional art form has been in Cambodia since the third millennium BCE. It is incredible due to the fact that the locals are still able to maintain this work and their passion till today. This is why we should make it known even wider so that people can see what Cambodian people can do. If you are interested, the company also ships the products worldwide. Every item is carefully packed to ensure that there is no breaking or cracking. You can check their website to make the purchase which is absolutely convenient.
Khmer Ceramics & Fine Art is located on River Road, and it opens every day from 8AM to 6PM. A place where you can learn and help support the local like this is worth the visit. Both the locals and tourists have great experience there, and so will you.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/khmerceramics
Contact Number: 010 843 014
Cambodian Silk Farm
One of the most common art forms that local people produce in Cambodia especially in Siem Reap is silk. The unique thing about silk production in this province is that there are two different ways. We are going to dig a little deeper into this complex yet fascinating form of art below. Do not forget to let us know which type of silk production that you think is the most interesting.
Angkor Silk Farm
Located in Puok, which is 20 minutes’ drive, the Angkor Silk Farm is the oldest handicraft workshop in the province. Thanks to Artisan Angkor, our first and biggest silk farm in Siem Reap was founded in 1992. With the beginning of this silk farm, Cambodia no longer needed to import raw silk from neighboring countries anymore. At the same time, many Cambodian people also began to receive the opportunity to make a better living from this industry.
The center trains Cambodian people who live in rural areas so that they can work this type of craftsmanship. There are many steps in the training process including taking care of the silkworms, weaving, and more. This is why every product that comes from Angkor Silk Farm is filled with quality that you can trust. You can find their productions at Artisan Angkor which is in the city center. In case you are interested in seeing the actual production process, you can also visit the farm.
Angkor Silk Farm is free to visit, and you can go there by car, motorbike, or tuk-tuk. The beautiful thing about the trip to the farm is that you get to enjoy the stunning and natural view along the road. As you arrive the farm, things are not different from the environment that you have come across during your journey. The first thing that you will notice are the mulberry trees which is the food for silkworms.
There will be a tour guide who will show you around the farm while explaining each process and showing the workshop. Those are the moments that you get to inspect the silk production up close as the craftspeople do their work. Not every one of us sees a silkworm or the weaving process like that so often. This is why this tour to the farm is a great way to learn and see new things locally. The tour takes between 20 to 30 minutes, and the experience is absolutely fun.
Apart from the silk farm, you can also enjoy the surrounding nature since the place is far from the city. Instead of car engines, you will hear birds tweeting along with light and windy breeze. There is also a coffee shop where you can relax while drinking some cold beverages. The last part is definitely the gift shop that includes a wide range of items that you can purchase. From accessories and clothes to silk paintings and textiles, they have them all for you.
Great experience with great souvenirs to bring back home is a satisfying moment to try. This is why Angkor Silk Farm is one of the best places for those who want to explore new activities in Siem Reap. Not every exciting adventure has to be far, so don’t forget to give this amazing farm a visit.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ArtisansAngkor (Artisan Angkor)
Contact Number: 099 555 184
While most of us think that silkworm is the only way to produce silk, Samatoa proves us otherwise. Lotus Farm was set up in the early 2000s by a French man whose name is Awen Delaval. He first started with a small factory that designed clothes under the brand Samatoa. In 2009, his interest in lotus sparked when he learned that lotus fibers can be made into clothes. After some research and practice, his first production finally came into image.
With a distance of 9 kilometers from the city, Lotus Farm brings out a new whole vibe to all visitors. The lotus fields or the ponds are filled with pink and white lotus flowers along with green lily pads. With a total of 60 hectares, the view is absolutely breathtaking. There is a house where the artisans do their daily work such as lotus fiber threading, the weaving process, and more. This is a unique sight to see because most tourist attractions in this province are in different forms.
This type of production is different because it requires a lot of concentration and patience. The workers have to make sure that the stems that they collect are of their best quality. That way, the final products also come with long lasting performance and durability. Speaking of durability, the delicate threads produce the fabric that is naturally soft, stain resistant, and waterproof. This is the type of quality that none of us regret spending on. As a matter of fact, it is worth every cent that we pay for the product from this unique material.
After the tour, there is plenty of items to see in the gift shop. All fabrics are 100% ecological, and they are also hand-spun and handwoven by the locals. As we all know, no handmade product is the same. This uniqueness brings out a great look along with the quality that will no let you down. There is also a teaching class that you can learn some weaving from expert spinners and weavers. You can make your own handicraft from lotus, and the course is so fun. Make sure to book the activity 24 hours in advance, and get ready to experience great things there.
That is not all, there is also a tea lounge on the rooftop that you can enjoy the 360 degrees view. With both the view of nature and the taste of lotus flower tea, the experience will be marvelous. You can even stay to watch the sunset, and no photos can compare to how spectacular the real view is. Refreshing and organic tea along with great food and wonderful views is the perfect way to escape from the city. Don’t forget to give it is a try because you will surely adore this experience.
Another unique thing about this type of farm is the fact that their wastes are also useful. Lotus wastes also provide cosmetic, medicinal, and nutritional properties. This plays a part in maintaining the amount of waste disposed into the environment. Not to mention that it is environmentally friendly, there is no polluting or over-consuming of the resources at all. The fact that the company maintains the sustainability between nature and production plays a part of its popularity.
The Lotus Farm is free to visit, and it opens every day from 8AM to 6PM. It is less than 20 minutes from the city center to the farm on tuk-tuk or Grab rickshaw. You will pay about $3 to get there which is an appropriate price. All visitors there really enjoyed their time at the farm, so let’s see if you find it interesting too.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lotusfarm.siem.reap
Contact Number: 092 529 001
Final Thoughts On Cambodian Arts And Crafts
The businesses we mentioned above are largely supported by international visitors as well as some tourist-related business. Those range from hotels and restaurants to travel agencies and follow by some local population. As successful as it sounds, these industries are now being hit the hardest from the current pandemic.
Due to the border closure in an extended period of time, the demands are not as high as they used to. Those that survive are struggling to adjust by laying off staffs, reducing productions, and switching their target clients to the local people instead. This is why we hope that we can contribute to the local people by sharing these amazing forms of arts. By supporting the productions, you will not only help people to maintain their job but also keeping the arts alive.