Cambodia has enjoyed periods of rich creativity spread over many centuries, producing countless pieces of inspired artwork including stone carvings on the walls of the famous temples of Angkor in Siem Reap. But these are certainly not the kind of things you can take home with you.
Instead, items you can purchase to serve as a reminder of the Kingdom’s unique cultural heritage range from intricate woodcarvings and lustrous lacquer works, to vibrant ceramics, serene stone sculptures, finest silver jewellery, and pure silk garments.
Local artisans work hard to honour and maintain the ancient crafts of their ancestors. Some of the larger workshops in Siem Reap include Artisans Angkor and Khmer Ceramics Centre, with artwork sold onsite as well as in numerous outlets around town. There are also day and night markets showcasing the talents of Cambodian artists.
Down in Phnom Penh, you’ll find sections of the major tourist markets such as Central Market and Russian Market stocked full of artwork and handicraft, with boutique craft stores scattered across town and a line of art sellers located along Street 178 near the National Museum.
There are, of course, plenty of simple, lightweight and inexpensive souvenir options that make for ideal gifts for family and friends back home – from textiles like krama scarves, to Khmer cuisine treats such as kroeung paste (a dry paste of fresh local spices and herbs), to home products like naturally scented soaps and candles.