Cycling through the countryside highlights the beauty of village life in Cambodia. Bun, our guide, told us that typically the rice harvest is in late January. This region, however, experienced early rains and the rice was ready for harvest early. Instead of seeing farmers at work we saw villagers pursuing other means of income like basket weaving.
Our morning began with a stroll through Banteay Srei a 10th century temple dedicated to Shiva. Bun explained this temple’s carvings were in impressive condition because the stones used are harder stones allowing the carvings to last 1000’s of years despite the harsh rainy seasons and destruction brought with the invading armies.
On our drive home we had a pleasure of meeting Oun Sophea Pheach who runs Golden Silk Pheach and touring the facility. Oun started the NGO in 2002 to support Cambodian silk making techniques and the golden silk worms native to Cambodia. The process is incredible and the artists who create the pieces are incredibly talented. Each artist trains for ten years before she chooses her specialty. Golden Silk Pheach is one of the only remaining facilities that fully integrates the entirely manual process of traditional Cambodian Golden Silk weaving. An average piece takes about a year to make from start to finish – and that doesn’t include the worm care or silk thread making process – just the design, dye, and weaving process.
Our last day ended with a sunset cruise on the largest lake in Southeast Asia Tonle Sap. More than half of Cambodia’s population depends on this lake for food and water. As you can see in the photos, it’s gorgeous!
We loved our time in Cambodia and were sad to say goodbye to our Amansara family. We truly can’t speak highly enough about our experience at Amansara. Now off to Vietnam.