Support small businesses at Christmas during the “Siem Reap Slowdown”

We’ve all read the article that talks about how everyone is moving to Phnom Penh because of the “Siem Reap Slowdown”. And we of course wish those that have chosen to head to the big city all the very best with their new ventures. But we also all know that Siem Reap has so very much to offer, even during these challenging times. For those of us that have decided to stay here, in the town that we call home, it is time to support, promote and buy from the small businesses that are doing their very best to survive.

So with Christmas just around the corner and a whole plethora of exciting and local purveyors of the perfect Xmas gift in town, now is the time more than ever, to boycott Amazon and shop local. Here are just a few suggestions as to where you can spend your Cambodia riel in Siem Reap during the festive period.

The brand new and exciting Wat Bo Christmas Market

When one of the most community conscious resorts in town are hosting the inaugural Wat Bo Christmas Market you know it’s going to be good. Make sure to keep December 19th free and head along to Treeline Urban Resort, where you can expect to find market stalls with plenty of Xmas gift options alongside food and refreshments from a selection of your favourite Wat Bo restaurants. The aim of the market is “to do something fun after what’s been a pretty devastating year for everyone, whilst encourage the community to come out and support some wonderful local businesses and inject a little bit of Christmas cheer”. Festivities will include circus performers, kids activities and a variety of entertainment to ensure everyone leaves with a smile on their face and looking forward to Wat Bo Christmas Market 2021!

Wat Bo Market

Organic and natural bodycare products from Jaya Organics

As many of you will already know, Jaya House River Park is re opening on December 15th and for us, that’s the perfect Chistmas present in itself. Along with Treeline and Mulberry they have continued to show an unparalled commitment to the community with their Hotels Holding Hands initiative, which has fed tens of thousands of local residents during these challenging times. So now is the time to give back and support them by buying from their range of natural bodycare products. Organic and cruelty free, they certainly have the feelgood factor and if anyone wants to buy us a Christmas present, we would be very happy indeed if it came from Jaya Organics!

Jaya Organics

Is Kandal Village the coolest ‘hood in Siem Reap?

With Kandal Village being the ‘go to’ independant shopping location in recent years, it’s only right that it features strongly in our guide to where you can buy local in Siem Reap. Shops, cafes and galleries have thrived during the good times, with expats and travellers alike heading to this Siem Reap ‘hood to hangout, browse and shop. Despite the current situation, rest assured that there’s still a great community spirit with business owners working together to support each other and ensure survival. We reached out to a couple of long term ‘residents’ to ask them what Kandal Village means to them.
Kandal Village

What Kandal Village means to Beck from Saarti

“I remember many years ago when Frangipani Spa relocated to Kandal Village from the hustle and bustle of Pub St and people couldn’t believe they would move so `far` away to such a quiet part of town. Fast forward to 2020 and Kandal Village is now an eclectic and vibrant hub of cafes, shops and spas. That bumpy, unassuming street has morphed into a mecca for creative entrepreneurs and is proudly a platform for talented Khmer artisans and delicious food and coffee. It’s been heartbreaking to see many amazing Siem Reap businesses close or relocate during the pandemic but I feel the sense of community is still alive and stronger than ever. Stores which have relocated to Phnom Penh are now showcasing their Kandal Village neighbors and there is a real sense of love, support and celebration which I absolutely adore being a part of. The support of the local community has been key to many businesses survival in Siem Reap and I have to say we are grateful for every purchase made, which enables us to continue our work providing much needed income to our employees, talented artisans and suppliers.”

Beck’s stores not to miss in Kandal Village include Louise Loubatieres where you will find a selection of homeware, jewellery and fashion, Garden Of Desire who sell ‘objects of wearable art’, also Cambodian clothing designers Sirivan and Muoy Chorm who has recently opened in the village.

Saarti

Kandal Village through the eyes of David from Little Red Fox

“More than ever the concept of ‘community support’ and ‘small business’ actually means something! This is what I love about Kandal Village and Siem Reap as a whole, as we are all of the above. We are a community supporting each other and showcasing artisans who bring forth the very best of what Cambodia has to offer. Although the Kandal Village area is much quieter than it used to be there are still plenty of beautiful shops, cafes, spas and restaurants to enjoy and I feel blessed to not only have my cafe in the area but to have such a connection with all the people here.”

Some of David’s favourite stores in Kandal Village also include Sirivan, Louise Loubatieres and Muoy Chorm, also Shop 676 which sells beautiful ‘ready to wear’ resort linens, and Saarti which is high on his list for its eco lifestyle ethos, specialising in candles and body products which make the perfect Christmas gift!

Little Red Fox

Bags with soul from Smateria

We are big fans of Smateria and are the proud owners of a couple of their bags. Made primarily from recycled materials they are a wonderful ethical brand and their products are sustainable which makes us smile. Now located at The Aviary Hotel in a brand new boutique, they have a wide selection of bags, backpacks and accessories to suit all budgets.

Smateria

Creative designs by Cambodian minds at Phare Circus Boutique

Phare Circus Boutique is the perfect place to pick up a Christmas gift or two from thir selection of locally made handicrafts, jewellery and clothing. Their concept is “Creative designs by Cambodian minds” and their mission is to support local artisans and crafts people by showcasing their work with the central focus being the designs from students at the excellent Phare Ponleu Selpak school in Battambang. The boutique is currently open between 5pm to 9pm on show days and they are also happy (by appointment) to open their doors any day of the week between 8am and 5pm.

Phare Boutique

Give the perfect gift of smiles and laughter at Phare, The Cambodian Circus

Reopening postponed due to the current COVID restrictions in Cambodia

With shows starting on Friday 4th December and continuing every Friday and Saturday, now is the ideal time to buy the excellent value Phare Circus Rising season pass as a Christmas gift for a friend or even for yourself. For just $60 you can run away with the circus as often as you like between now and 31st March 3021, this is certainly the best way to give the perfect gift of smiles and laughter! Or why not pledge to Invite a Family which sees people who may not normally have the chance to experience the thrills of the circus, receive an invite on your behalf. This is a great opportunity to make someone smile this Christmas.

Phare Circus

The one and only Made in Cambodia Market

Now located at Kings Road Angkor, the one and only Made in Cambodia Market first opened at a different location in 2013 and has continued to welcome toursts, locals and expats alike ever since. The philosophy behind the market is to help create Khmer jobs, from the villagers producing the handicrafts to the sellers interacting with the visitors. They are currently open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1100-1800, and now it’s more important than ever to support a local initiative by heading down to pick up a Christmas gift or two.

Made in Cambodia

Innovative and handmade jewellery from Ammo

Head to Wat Bo Road to visit their workshop and showroom, where you can pick up a gift from their extensive collection of men and women’s jewellery. The talented team of designers use recycled brass bullets and sterling silver to create an innovative range whilst at the same time providing apprenticeship training for young, disadvantaged or disabled Cambodians from Siem Reap province.

Ammo

Check out the pop-up shops and designers at Kraum Chat Makers Market

Postponed due to the current COVID restrictions in Cambodia

This brand new makers market in Siem Reap is curated by the team behind MIRAGE Contemporary Art Space and located at Koulen Hotel on the 5th and 6th of December. ‘Kraum Chat’ translates to ‘Under Umbrella’ and the name pays homage to the tradition of pop-up roadside shops that you will find throughout the Kingdom. Connecting artists, designers, and local businesses who will display their creations and offer a variety of Christmas gift options for sale. Take the time to visit their Art Space to see the current display of photobooks from around the world and a neon-light installation by Lyno Vuth who will also be talking at the makers market on Sunday 6th.

Kraum Chat

Eat vegan chocolate from WAT Chocolate

If you visit Kraum Chat Makers Market make sure to eat vegan chocolate from WAT Chocolate AKA Temple of Cacao as it really is very good indeed. Produced using Cambodian cacao, and made locally in Siem Reap it’s a supreme product that you really need to try. We would say that it makes the perfect Xmas gift but we’re too greedy to share vegan chocolate it so we will probably just keep it all for ourselves! If you don’t make it to the market, worry not as you can also get your vegan chocolate fix from Angkor Market on Road 6.

WAT Chocolate

Buy individual and stylish clothing from Blush Boutique

We hear there’s “lots of community love” for Blush Boutique right now and speaking from experience, one half of Vegan Food Quest can vouch for the quality of their women’s clothing. The whole range is ‘Made in Cambodia with love’ and each collection is limited, individual and stylish. Check them out at Kings Road Angkor and make them happy by shopping local and make one of your friends even happier when you buy their Christmas gift from Blush Boutique.

Blush Boutique

Quite simply, now is the time to shop local, buy local and support local businesses in any way you can. Buying a Christmas gift or two from one of these Siem Reap community stalwarts will help more than you can imagine. Don’t forget to eat local, drink local and stay local too as we all have to come together and support each other during these challenging times.

PEaCE and Love from Temple Town x

Check out our other Cambodia travel blog posts

2020-12-03T04:57:37+00:00

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