I'd visited a silk factory in China, but this is different. This is an actual farm where they grow silkworms and cultivate groves of mulberry bushes to feed the worms.
Admission is free, and you're provided a free tour guide when you arrive, but our guide was pretty useless. He wandered far ahead of us, and we had to hunt him down if we wanted to ask a question. I couldn't even find him at the end of the tour to leave a tip.
As is typical at Cambodia's tourist attractions, there's no air conditioning here (except in the gift shop), so it's hot when you tour. Go early or late to avoid the most intense heat of the day.
It's very interesting watching people work at each phase of silk manufacturing. You'll see actual silkworm hatchlings 8 days old through 25 days, when they spin their cocoons. You can watch each phase of silk production, from boiling the sticky cocoon goo off the threads, collecting it into individual strands, spinning it into spools, the dying process, etc. The wooden looms they use are fascinating - so old fashioned but perfectly functional, like the kind my great grandmother used to use to weave rag rugs back in the 1960s.
You can also read some history of the silk industry in Cambodia. At the end of the tour is a gift shop with shelves full of beautiful silk clothing, scarves, handbags, pillows, etc. You can buy locally made souvenirs like tea, aromatic oils, Cambodian coffee beans, etc.
It's quite a ride from downtown Siem Reap, especially via tuk tuk ... maybe 25-30 minutes. But we were glad we took the time to see this.
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