Here’s a diversion well worth taking while you’re in Siem Reap visiting temples and temples and yet more temples: head just 20 minutes out of town and visit Artisans d’Angkor‘s Angkor Silk Farm for a tour —
— FREE! no less, although a tip to your guide would be polite —
— of the entire traditional Cambodian silk production process all the way from the fields to the gift shop …
… and for bringing back impressive presents that aren’t going to weigh you down, it’s pretty hard to beat traditionally woven Cambodian silk products!
We’ve been to a couple silk weaving shops before, but this is the only place we know of where you can see the entire production process, starting with the fields of mulberry bushes
which feed the silkworms
which grow the coccoons
which get collected in bins
and we’ll leave it there — watch the video to see the boiling spinning and weaving parts in action! — and skip ahead to the shopping part. Anybody you know like some silk napkins?
Or maybe some pillows?
Or … well, pretty much anything in silk, really?
They’re not the cheapest souvenirs mind you, but between that they’re actually handmade, have won multiple UNESCO Awards —
Artisans Angkor has had the honor to be awarded by the highest authority for supporting craft producers: UNESCO. The history between Artisans Angkor and this international organization dates back to eight years ago, when our company first received two “Seals of Excellence for Handicraft Products of Southeast Asia” which were jointly attributed by UNESCO and the Asean Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA).
These awards are granted to products which “meets high standards of quality, innovating, cultural authenticity, as well as socially and environmentally responsible production”. With the constant efforts developed by Artisans Angkor regarding the quality of its products and the handing over of the traditional handicraft skills, our company managed to win these awards many times…
— and the money goes to supporting rural Cambodians, think of this as your opportunity to not only get some unique souvenirs to bring back, but actually contribute something back while doing so. Thoroughly recommended!