Cambodian handicrafts have been given a boost thanks to various local and NGO initiatives set up to support Cambodia’s disabled population and other disadvantaged members of society, providing a new source of income by training them in traditional crafts. When shopping in Cambodia, local markets are often the best place to hunt for deals; however, while specialist shops, boutiques and galleries are usually more expensive, they often offer higher quality.
Here’s what to look for…
An iconic symbol of Cambodia, the ever-present krama, a traditional red-and-white-checked scarf, is used for everything from a bandana to a makeshift baby carrier or hammock. Now coming in a variety of colours and fabrics, you can find them for sale throughout the country.
Native to Cambodia, golden silk is known for its incredibly high quality and super soft feel. Created from the silk strands of golden silkworms, this special silk is now making a comeback thanks to Artisans Angkor working to reestablish Cambodian silk to its former glory.
It is said that Kampot pepper is some of the best in the world so why not get some at the source? Grown in Kampot province, the pepper comes in black, green, red and white varieties and even boasts Geographical Indicator (GI) status. The intensely-flavoured pepper can be found for sale throughout the country even if you don’t make it to Kampot province.
When in Cambodia, drink what the Khmer drink! Locally-made strong rice wine is further infused thanks to the addition of a snake which is thought to boost virility and have a reinvigorating effect on the drinker.
Cambodia has long been known for its ancient carving traditions – just think of the incredible carvings found at Angkor Wat. Nowadays you can find a range of carved home décor, furniture and more carefully crafted from wood or stone by expert artisans to take back home.