artisans angkor cambodia

Artisans Angkor: A tale of craftsmanship in Cambodia


Southeast Asia is alive with rich traditions and colourful customs which can be traced back thousands of years. Historic forms of art, craft and design play a vital role in spiritual, religious and cultural practices to this day, and nowhere is this more evident than Cambodia.

While Cambodia’s major cities are developing at a rapid rate, much of the country comprises of rural communities where local people continue to live by age-old traditions. This is true of the spectacular and exotic province of Siem Reap, and it’s here where you’ll find one of Southeast Asia’s most successful and innovative social enterprise groups: Artisans Angkor.

artisans angkor cambodia

On a mission to revive and promote traditional crafting and manufacturing techniques, Artisans Angkor are helping local people from rural communities learn skills which will keep them out of poverty. Few social enterprise programmes have made such an impact in Southeast Asia, and you can discover the work of this pioneering organisation as part of an Emerald Waterways river cruise and tour.

Learn more about the story and legacy of the Artisans Angkor below.

Navigation

  • Who are the Artisans Angkor?
  • Traditions and social enterprise
  • What you can experience at the Artisans Angkor workshop
  • Discover the rich traditions of Angkor Wat with Emerald Waterways

Who are the Artisans Angkor

Artisans Angkor is a social enterprise programme based in the ancient city of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Established in 1999, the organisation aims to help young people in rural communities find work by teaching them traditional crafting skills which have existed for thousands of years in this beautiful region of Southeast Asia.

Originally launched as a three-year project in partnership with the Chanteirs-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle, Artisans Angkor is now a flourishing business which has created over 1,000 jobs for local people struggling to make ends meet in rural Siem Reap Province. The organisation runs 13 workshops for a range of young apprentice artisans, reviving traditional skills, crafting and trades which were first introduced by the Khmer Empire in 10th to 13th centuries.

artisans angkor cambodia
The work of Artisans Angkor has had a profound impact within Siem Reap Province, contributing to the development of rural communities and helping to pioneer a new social policy across Cambodia. Thanks to the scheme, hundreds of workers and artisans, particularly in rural areas, are now guaranteed medical welfare and a minimum wage – such is the success and impact of the Artisans Angkor project.

Traditions, crafting and social enterprise

Artisans Angkor are seeking to revive crafting techniques introduced to Cambodia during the Khmer Empire. Through their work, dozens of local craftsmen and women have gained knowledge of skills and crafts which have been passed down through the generations – ensuring that Siem Reap never loses sight of its artistic and cultural identity.

Explore some of the traditional crafting techniques endorsed by Artisans Angkor in our interactive guide below.

What you can experience at the Artisans Angkor workshop

Visitors to Siem Reap can experience the beautiful craftsmanship of Artisans Angkor as part of a guided tour, crafting workshop or simply by exploring the on-site café and gift shop. Complete workshop tours are available for those interested in learning about all the different traditional Khmer crafting traditions which the Artisans Angkor are dedicated to reviving – including stonemasonry, wood carving, silk weaving and lacquering.

As part of a private guided tour, you’ll discover the heritage behind some of Artisans Angkor beautiful products and crafting techniques, learning more about the fascinating history of the powerful Khmer Empire. There’ll also be an opportunity to try each of the different crafting methods for yourself, so you can learn first-hand how skilled and dedicated the organisation’s young artisans have to be.

Of course, visiting the Artisans Angkor in Siem Reap gives you the unique opportunity to buy sustainable and locally-made products and souvenirs which you can take home as a reminder of your trip. Whether it’s a fine silk sarong, traditional wooden serving bowl or beautiful hand-painted stone sculpture – there are many riches to be found in the centre’s wonderful store.i

Discover the rich traditions of Angkor Wat with Emerald Waterways

artisans angkor cambodia

A visit to Siem Reap with Emerald Waterways gives you the unique opportunity to uncover the depth of heritage which exists in this beautiful region of Cambodia. As part of our Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia tour, you’ll spend three days exploring the rich legacy of this colourful city, including an immersive guided tour of the great Temples of Angkor.

If you’re keen to take your experience of Siem Reap to the next level, our DiscoverMORE offering gives you the chance to visit the Artisans Angkor workshop, where you can enjoy a guided tour and pick up a few souvenirs from the gift shop. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the traditional heritage of the region, and the lengths local people are going to preserve it.

For more information about our river cruises and tours in Southeast Asia download our latest brochure or call our team today on 0808 274 6625.