Shopping For a Cause

Look for places that sell something unique, made in Cambodia and high quality.  That in intself can be a challenge in Cambodia. 

Samatoa is an unique fair-trade organization which offers a wide range of quality products made from natural Cambodian silk. They offer tailored,  ‘made to measure’ silk clothes in 24 hours and sell accessories designed by famous French fashion designers including handbags, accessories, scarves and home decorations.

The shop is located in the center of Siem Reap, opposite the entry of provincial Hospital. Tel: 092.52.9001. contact@samatoa.com

Their goal is to revive the silk-making skills that have largely been lost in recent years, providing livelihoods for poor women from rural areas and allowing for the preservation of the art of traditional Cambodian silk-making. Opens everyday from 8am to 10pm. The main shop furnished with many silk clothing is located in front of provincial Hospital.

Samatoa also stocks a new fabric made from lotus fiber stems. You can have clothes tailored in silk or lotus fabric. The lotus fabric is really expensive but very special. It feels like a combination of silk and linen, is soft to the touch, breathable and machine washable.

The Lotus Farm is located near Siem Reap (15 minutes) whith a free guided tour which visitors discover all the handmade process of making exclusive lotus fabric and how they reuse the waste to make an excellent lotus tea.

Lotus Farm, 6 kms from Siem Reap center on the road to Phnom Krom: 063.63.69.133 / 092.40.96.33, info@lotusfarm.org

Grace Gecko is another nice little stop off point on the way down to Chong Khneas onTonle Sap. Nearer to Siem Reap than the Lotus Farm it is in the village of Korkrahn (on the right just before the elaborate archway through to the pagoda), local ladies are employed to make bags, belts, placemats and other items using water hyacinth which is basically a local weed! You can watch the weaving process and even sit with the ladies and make your own bracelet. 

There's a little gift shop and a tea shop if you're in need of refreshment. They may even have English tea... What's good is you can stop, stretch your legs and shake off the dust with no pressure to buy. Of course it all goes to a good cause, so every purchase is appreciated.The ladies working in the shop speak some English and are very friendly.   

 Artisans D’Angkor (AA):1.2km near downtown/psaa chaa has a tour of their workshops (and they have free shuttles to Silk Farm leaving from AA at 9:30 and 1:30);

If you’re still hankerin’ for more artists at work, also check out Khmer Ceramics Revival on the road to the temples(30m after the traffic light), and/or Lo Yu Yu past Bakong Temple on right (right off of National Road 6 toward Phnom Penh) for ceramics and weaving workshop next door.You could also check out the Angkor Pottery Centre :1.5km featuring traditional and contemporary ceramics produced by women potters.  They are on the Airport Road almost opposite the airport.

 

 

Senteurs d’Angkor: 3.7km

 

 

Workshop

 

National Road No.6 (Airport Road)
Siem Reap

 

 

Boutique Senteurs d’Angkor

 

Pi Tnou St (Opposite Old Market)
Siem Reap
Phone: (+855) 63 966 733 (workshop) – (+855) 63 964 801 (boutique)

Institute for Traditional Khmer Textiles: 8.5km

 

 

Open Hours:
We open the shop and gallery from 8:00am to 19:00pm everyday, but workshops (spinning silk, dying and weaving etc.) from 8:00am to noon and from 14:00pm to 17:00pm, from Monday to Saturday (Sunday close).

 

 

Directions:
Form "old market" to Tonlesap Lake or Crocodile farm along with Siem Reap River about 1km, you can find the signboard.

 

 

No. 472, Viheachen Village, Svaydongkum Commune,
(Road to lake, near the crocodile farm)
P.O. Box 9349, Siem Reap Angkor,

 

 

Angkor Silk Farm: 26km

 

 

Puok District (20mn from Siem Reap downtown)
Open daily from 8am to 5.30pm
Tel: (+855) 63 5555 768

 

 

Hotline: (+855) 12 222 404

 

 

 

Khmer Ceramics: 1.5km

 

 

Vithey Charles de Gaulle 
(Temple Road)
Khum Slorkram
Siem Reap - Angkor
Cambodia

 

 

 

 

 

The Angkor Hospital for Children sells little trinkets and postcards, which all go back into funding the hospital. Visitors can also donate money or blood.

Mekong Quilts is a non profit org which supports employment for women in remote Cambodian villages. Women are able to work whilst supervising their children, rather than be unemployed or working away from their families in rice paddies. 100 percent of profits  are returned to the villages.

You may custom order and they deliver to your home country. From traditional country designs, to baby quilts, contemporary white, block/reversable colours etc.

Silk is sold everywhere but you may not always get real Cambodian silk.  The $1 'silk scarf'' in the markets is unlikely to be  the luxury fabric that you were expecting but rather a synethtic silk made in China.  Colours are unlikely to be 'fast' when washing or under the sun.  

Thary is a young man who weaves custom bracelets with the word(s) of your choice hand woven into the pattern.  The remarkable thing about Thary is that he was born with no legs.  This notwithstanding, he has the most infectious smile and his bracelets make a wonderful souvenier.  See more about Thary at http://support-thary.com/  Siem Reap is small, and you're sure to bump into Thary. 

Angkor Night Market, Old Market and Central Market

Many markets in Siem Reap sell  the sames souvenirs made of stone, wood or fabric. Be aware that many of these cheap items are made in China, Thailand and Vietnam. It's quiet a challenge to find products made in Cambodia. Souvenir shops can be found near Angkor Wat, in the Central Market,the Old market and both Night Markets (the Angkor Night market -end of the street, and the newer Angkor Noon/Night market - on the street to the original Night market,)

For cheap t-shirts, copy of CDs or spices, you will find a good value.  For high quality handicrafts, try the shops around old market.

Angkor Night Market is nicely designed but be aware that some visitors have reported bad experiences and some sellers stock mass produced itmen and claim them as high quality local handicrafts. Enjoy bargaining at old market but not here. There are many "Dr Fish' foot spas to be found along the road to the Night market (prices are around $1-2 and may have a can of coke or beer included). A pleasant foot massage/ pedicure/ manicure place can be found at the back of the Angkor Night market.  Foot massages here are $2 for 15 minutes and the girls are very friendly.


Angkor Night Market Angkor Night Market

The Noon/Night Market sells the same sort of stuff, and while cleaner and newer than all the other markets is stiflingly hot at times.

Gemstones and jewelry

Don't buy gemstones in Siem Reap unless you know something about gemstones. Some may be fakes and more than likely they will be laboratory made crystal.  Shop staff will demonstrate how the stone withstands heat and scratching but man-made crystal has the same properties. The Khmers prefer gold that is purer than the western visitor may be used to, 22 or 24 kt gold. The purer gold is not ideal for setting gems as it is too soft, but you can have gems set at any jeweler's in 14k or 18k gold.