Hunting Souvenirs in Cambodia: 11 Treasures You Cant Miss

Hunting Souvenirs in Cambodia: 11 Treasures You Can't Miss

Cambodia is a country rich in culture and craftsmanship. If you're planning a trip to this beautiful country, you'll definitely want to bring back some of that cultural richness with you. Whether for yourself or for friends, Cambodian souvenirs always bring joy. If you're wondering what to bring back from Cambodia on your next trip, here are some gift ideas that might interest you.

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Written by Lan DUONG (Travel Counsellor) Updated on 11-06-2024
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1. Krama, the Cambodian Scarf

The Krama, a traditional and iconic checked scarf, is a must-have souvenir for anyone visiting Cambodia. Worn by men, women, and children of all social classes, the Krama transcends social status and is a cherished item across the country. This cultural gem is also a staple amongst the Khmer communities in neighboring Thailand and Vietnam.

krama

This traditional Cambodian scarf comes in vibrant colors like red and white, blue and white, or classic black and white. Made from soft cotton or luxurious silk, its checkered pattern is instantly recognizable. This versatile scarf offers protection from the elements – wrap it around your head on hot, sunny days, or style it around your shoulders or waist for a touch of Cambodian flair. The Krama is a uniquely Cambodian souvenir that's lightweight, packable, and surprisingly affordable. Expect to pay around $3 to $5, or even less with some friendly bargaining or a bulk purchase.

>>> If you're planning your trip to Cambodia and wondering which destinations to include in your itinerary, you'll love: Tourist map of Cambodia: Top Tips to Explore like a Pro

Krama, the Cambodian scarf
Krama, the Cambodian scarf

2. Sampot, the Traditional Cambodian Outfit

Every country has its own traditional dress style, and the Kingdom of Cambodia is no exception with the Sampot. Don't forget to discover the elegance of Cambodia's national garment. This rectangular piece of fabric, approximately 3 meters long and 1 meter wide, is expertly wrapped around the waist and secured with a metal belt. Unlike a skirt, its unique draping resembles trousers. Cambodian artisans weave the Sampot from luxurious silk, creating intricate and beautiful designs that embody the country's rich textile heritage.

Sampot, the traditional Cambodian outfit
Sampot, the traditional Cambodian outfit

3. Wood Sculptures

Imagine holding a piece of Cambodian history in your hands! The country's woodcarving tradition stretches back centuries, and you can see Cambodian artisans possess remarkable expertise and refined carving techniques, which are particularly evident in the intricate sculptures and bas-reliefs of the walls of Angkor Wat and other ancient temples throughout the country. Now, you can find beautiful carvings perfect for taking home – think miniature gods, Buddhas, elegant dancers, or even playful animals. Many of these pieces are made from ebony or teak, woods known for their rich colors and detailed patterns.

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Sculptural crafts in Cambodia
Sculptural crafts in Cambodia

4. Cambodian Silk Fabrics

Weaving is an ancient craft dating back to the 13th century in Cambodia and is still preserved today. The traditional method of weaving ikat silk and the use of natural dyes represent the essence of this craft in Cambodia.
The term "ikat" refers to a textile design process in which threads are dyed before being woven together to create complex and elaborate patterns. In the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat, you can admire a series of patterns on the temple walls representing traditional Khmer ikat patterned clothing.

>>> ✈️  Plan your 5-Day Classic Tour in Cambodia and experience the local culture firsthand!! ✈️

Handcrafted Ikat silk with care
Handcrafted Ikat silk with care

This type of weaving is unique because of the use of materials sourced from the Cambodian landscape. For example, traditional Khmer ikat uses golden silk spun from the fibers of the golden silk worm, as well as natural dye pigments extracted from indigenous species.
Silk fabrics produced using this method are of high quality: they are soft, washable, and do not easily fade. Although handmade woven products are more expensive, they are unique and have great value.

Traditional Khmer ikat
Traditional Khmer ikat

5. Cambodian Silver Jewelry

As early as the 11th century, Cambodians excelled in goldsmithing, a tradition that continues with the country's silver jewelry. These jewelry pieces, adorned with local gemstones, feature unique Khmer motifs, reflecting Cambodian culture.
During your visit to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, you will easily find silver jewelry, perfect for gifts or for yourself. Siem Reap's night market is the perfect place to buy them, but be sure to distinguish authentic products from counterfeits by favoring certified large stores. Prices vary depending on design and weight, and bargaining is possible.

Cambodian silver jewelry
Cambodian silver jewelry

6. Cambodian Paintings

Rice paper is often associated with spring rolls, but forget those tasty spring rolls! In Cambodia, rice paper becomes a canvas for incredible art. Local artisans take inspiration from Angkor Wat's stunning carvings, transferring their beauty onto delicate rice paper. They carefully rub charcoal over the paper to reveal every intricate detail. Framed and illuminated, these prints become stunning, lightweight souvenirs – perfect for travelers who love unique finds.

Cambodian paintings
Cambodian paintings

7. Dried Fruits

For snack enthusiasts, Cambodian dried fruits are a must with their delicious variety of flavors. Dried tamarind, in particular, is highly appreciated for its unique taste, blending whole fruits, seeds, salt, and chili. Don't miss the opportunity to bring back this memorable snack home, especially since they are beautifully packaged, making them an ideal gift for your loved ones.

Cambodian dried fruits
Cambodian dried fruits

8. Local Snacks

For something authentic to give to your loved ones, consider Cambodian burnt rice. It is cooked in a round shape, similar to the size of the bottom of the pot, hence its nickname "burnt rice at the bottom of the pot." It's an ideal gift for your friends and family.

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This delicious dish is a combination of many different flavors, combining the spiciness of chili, the saltiness of meat, and the sweetness of shrimp and sauce. The thick sauce that permeates each grain of burnt rice is particularly delicious and tantalizes your taste buds.

Cambodian burnt rice
Cambodian burnt rice

9. Cambodian Jaggery

Craving a unique and tasty souvenir from Cambodia? Look no further than jaggery! This delicious treat isn't your ordinary sugar. Made by carefully extracting and transforming sap from precious palm trees, Cambodian jaggery boasts a unique sweetness with a hint of caramel. Unlike refined sugar, it's packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a healthier alternative for those with a sweet tooth.

Compact and beautifully packaged, Cambodian jaggery is the perfect gift for foodies back home. For cooking enthusiasts, it adds a touch of Cambodian authenticity to any dish. Imagine infusing your desserts or stews with the rich caramel notes of Cambodian palm sugar!

>>> Experience local flavors on our Vietnam and Cambodia tours in 10 days!!

Cambodian jaggery
Cambodian jaggery

10. Kampot Pepper

Kampot pepper, a pride of Cambodian agriculture and among the best in the world, is available in several varieties, including black, white, red, and green. Red pepper is especially prized for its aroma, although each variety has its own distinct taste. Overall, Kampot pepper offers a richer and spicier flavor than ordinary pepper. It's a perfect gift for cooking enthusiasts.

Kampot pepper
Kampot pepper

11. Khmer Herbal Oil

Khmer Herbal Oil is one of the most prized souvenirs from Cambodia. You won't miss this oil, as there are a variety of options to choose from.
Most of these oils are made from herbs and spices that have many beneficial uses, such as relieving headaches, dizziness, abdominal pain, lowering blood pressure, or treating insect bites. The price of each bottle of windbreaker oil is usually very affordable, making it an economical and practical souvenir.

Khmer herbal oil
Khmer herbal oil

Where to Buy Cambodian Souvenirs?

1. Russian Market (Toul Tom Poung Market)

  • Address: Street 440, Phnom Penh
  • Hours: 6:00 AM - 4:30 PM

The Russian market in Cambodia is a must-visit shopping destination, offering a wide variety of products such as clothing, shoes, silk items, antiques, sculptures, souvenirs, and much more. It's perfect for bargain hunters and lovers of local craftsmanship. Don't forget to bargain with the vendors to get the best price.

Russian market (Toul Tom Poung market)
Russian market (Toul Tom Poung market)

2. Angkor Night Market

  • Address: Street 08, Siem Reap City
  • Hours: Sun - Sat 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM

At the Angkor Night Market, over 200 stalls offer handmade items such as silk paintings, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry. It's the perfect place to explore local craftsmanship and buy unique souvenirs to take home during your visit to Siem Reap.

Angkor Night Market
Angkor Night Market

3. Central Market

  • Address: Calmette Street (53), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Hours: 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Phnom Penh's main market is the largest in the city, but it is crowded, so be careful to avoid thefts. You'll find everything here: gold and silver jewelry, antiques, watches, clothing, and shoes.

Central market in Cambodia
Central market in Cambodia

Practical Tips for Buying Cambodian Souvenirs

When traveling to Cambodia, buying specialties or unique items for your loved ones is a must-do. To make your trip more meaningful, please note the following points:

  • US dollars are widely used in Cambodia. For items of high value, we recommend paying with US dollars or a Visa card.
  • You'll also need the national currency, the Riel, to pay for items valued at less than $1 USD.
  • Before purchasing anything, always ask for the price of all products. Remember to negotiate, as you could end up paying more than a local for the same item.
  • Check prices in different stores, but also consider the quality of the goods.

Finally, every trip to a new country brings its share of interesting experiences and discoveries, and souvenirs are the best way to keep them in memory. If you're not sure what to bring back from Cambodia on your trip to this beautiful country, feel free to check out the products we recommend above so you don't regret missing out on them when you return!

>>> Get to know about Cambodia:

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