10 Best Cambodia Souvenirs to BuyCambodia is an ancient land that has seen kingdoms come and go and boasts of art and culture that is still at the core of the people living in the country. The country’s art and the skill levels of its artisans are best showcased in souvenirs such as handicrafts and locally made clothes. Here are the 10 best Cambodian souvenirs that you can buy to keep pieces of a forgotten culture alive with you.
1. SilkAt one point in time, Cambodians were regarded amongst the world’s best silk weavers. Even though the art of silk-weaving was somewhat lost during the long period of unrest in the 70s and 80s, it started coming back in the 90s.
Thanks to the work of establishments such as Phnom Penh’s Lotus Silk and SiemReap’s Artisans Angkor, silk-weaving has come back to the country with a bang. So if you are looking for a Cambodian souvenir, choose a silk product.
Point to Remember• Avoid the big markets as most silk products there are not of Cambodian make.
2. Silver JewelryCambodians are also known for their prowess in working with silver, and that is clearly showcased in the exquisite designs that are commonly seen in locally-crafted silver jewelry.
What makes Cambodian silver jewelry special is the fact that most of them feature traditional Khmer designs, patterns, and themes, making them truly unique.
Points to Remember• The Cambodians’ association with silver dates back to the 11th Century.
• A quality Cambodia souvenir made of silver to consider is a betel nut box.
3. Kampot PepperThe internationally famous Kampot Pepper has its roots in Cambodia. Traditionally cultivated in the town of Kampot, Cambodia’s famous pepper is available in red, white, black and green varieties.
You can easily take a pouch of Kampot peppers as your Cambodia souvenir when you are going back from the country. However, be careful not to get fooled, as many markets in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap sell fake Kampot peppers. To get the genuine version, simply head to a farm in either Kep or Kampot.
Points to Remember• Kampot Pepper is available in black, red, white and green varieties.
• It’s recommended to buy Kampot pepper from a farm in either Kep or Kampot.
4. KramaWhat’s a Cambodia souvenir worth if it doesn’t remind you of the common people of the country? The most convenient souvenir to carry home in this regard would be the Cambodian scarf, known as the Krama.
Used by almost everyone in the country to serve one or the other purpose, the karma is not just common; it’s cheap as well. Prices start from $1.
Points to Remember• The Cambodian scarf is known as Krama and it makes for a great Cambodia souvenir.
• Prices of krama start from $1.
5. LacquerwareLacquer products also make for great souvenirs to take back home from Cambodia, as local artisans in the country are incredibly skilled at designing them.
Modern-day lacquerware features combinations of traditional designs with modern touches. Siem Reap’s Theam House is a great place to go shopping for lacquer products in Cambodia.
Points to Remember• Cambodians know their lacquer work well.
• The best place to shop for lacquerware is Theam House in Siem Reap.
6. Body ProductsThere are many places in the country where you can find body products that have been made from hand. In an age where most of us use machine-made body products, this comes as a refreshing change.
Just walk into any Cambodian market and you would be able to spot locally-made body products such as body creams, soaps, and massage oils quite easily. You can also find locally-made candles and incenses.
Points to Remember• Hand-made Cambodian body products make for great Cambodia souvenirs.
• Popular body products include soaps, body creams, and massage oils.
7. Palm SugarPalm sugar trees are Cambodia’s national trees. The locals derive palm sugar from this tree.
To derive it, men climb the palm sugar trees and collect the fruit, which is extracted, heated and turned to paste in a metal pot. Once it melts, it is left to solidify, eventually forming the popular sweet.
Point to Remember• If you would like to take a popular Cambodian sweet back home as your Cambodia souvenir, then go for palm sugar.
8. Carvings and SculpturesCarving and sculpting are two specialties of Cambodian artists. That’s why wood and stone carvings and sculptures make for quality Cambodia souvenirs.
A wide variety of stone and wood carvings dot the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap streets. Pick something that’s not too heavy from Siem Reap’s Artisans Angkor.
Points to Remember• Cambodians are expert carvers and sculptors.
• Find quality wooden and stone carvings and sculptures in Artisans Angkor (Siem Reap).
9. PortraitsIf you have got space, then you can also take back a portrait as your Cambodia souvenir.
Phnom Penh’s Street 172 has a fantastic collection of shops full of Cambodian portraits made by local artists. You can find old-school portraits as well as ones with a modern-day feel.
Point to Remember• Find authentic Cambodian portraits on Street 172 in Phnom Penh
10. Batik FabricsCambodians use a special technique known as ‘Batik’ to dye fabrics.
You will find batik fabrics all over the country in a wide range of colors and designs. Pick one from SiemReap’s Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles if you want to choose from the best.
Point to Remember• Batik fabrics are best purchased in Siem Reap.