Siem Reap has no shortage of beautiful boutiques, offering stylish travellers the chance to take some unique hand crafted souvenirs and presents home with them when they leave. Here is my round up of where not to miss; why not join in by using the hashtag #shopsiemreap on Instagram if you find somewhere you think is worth shouting about?!
Saarti is Kandal Village’s “new kid on the block” with a wonderful array of eco-friendly and stylish gifts available for purchase.
Beer bottles have been repurposed into candle holders, candle chimneys, ashtrays and even glasses, bamboo straws offer an eco alternative to plastic and intricately woven shawls and rugs jostle for shelf space with sleek kaftans and cushion covers decorated in local fabrics and designs.
There is also a range of bath and body products in a range of locally inspired scents ( I cant get enough of my ylang ylang conditioner, which is helping to keep my hair somewhat sleek even in the face of the fierce Cambodian humidity) as well as scent diffusers and more candles, made from soy as opposed to standard paraffin, in dainty Cambodian prayer bowls that will squeeze into even the smallest of handbags in case you are worried about running out of suitcase space.
Pop Up Shop Angkor
Just 2 doors away is the quirky Pop UP SHOP!, newly rehomed after its taste of fame in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/travel/guides/asia/cambodia/siem-reap/overview.html earlier last year. Bold prints in block colours adorn the walls as framed posters featuring the famed towers of Angkor Wat, as well as unique hand printed bags, placemats, cushions and even ceramics.
It is impossible not to feel energised by their tiny surroundings and you can rest assured you are taking home something truly unique.
Across the road (almost opposite The Little Red Fox, one of Siem Reaps best loved Cafes http://wp.me/p2spY3-2zE ) is Kandal Village stalwart, Louise Loubatieres’ treasure trove of a store. Lacquered bowls in every colour of the rainbow, fine porcelain, Cambodian kroma (scarves) woven silk necklaces, statues in bronze and sandstone and much more make for a dazzling experience that no shopaholic will want to miss out on! The product range changes with the seasons with new items and designs appearing frequently, my recent purchases include a stunning breakfast tray in bronze lacquer as well as a gorgeous hand painted scarf and miniature bronzes.
Saarti, Pop up Shop and Louise Loubatieres are all on Street Hup Guan, behind the Riviera Hotel https://www.facebook.com/kandalvillage/?fref=ts not far from Pub Street.
No trip to Siem Reap would be complete without making the short tuk tuk ride out to Theams house, the design studio of French educated, local artist Lim Muy Theam. Bronze statues of Deities, Apsara hands and prayer bells line the shelves along with his witty elephant, lizard and rabbit statues available in every colour imaginable. Lacquer work is another big draw and he painstakingly hand paints local designs such as lotus leaves or religious tableaus before layering them with lacquer to make unique wall hangings and portraits. Allow some time to walk around the beautiful gardens in which his unique artworks are really given a chance to shine. Staff are able to assist with arranging shipping back home so you don’t need to worry about exceeding the weight allowance!
+855-0-78 20 81 61
25, Veal, Kokchak district, Siem Reap
Whilst you can find Artisans d’Angkor products at most of Siem Reaps 5 star hotels, as well as their work shop just by the old market, it is worth taking the 20 minute drive out to their silk farm in order to gain a better understanding of the Cambodian silk industry and to truly appreciate the immense level of effort that has gone into producing what you are purchasing. Be sure to buy one of their beautiful silk scarves, available in an array of colours as well as beautifully packaged herbs, spices, soaps and lip balms.
Puok District (20mins from Siem Reap downtown)
Open daily from 8am to 5pm
Tel: +855 (0) 99 555 109