Khmer Art Connections

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Aiming to provide a platform for local artist to share their experience, skills and talent, Khmer Art Connections is a Social Enterprise offering interactive arts and crafts classes for locals and visitors to Siem Reap.

Founder and director Samnieng Roun is very excited as he tells us how the initial idea was to connect talented and promising local artists with local people and visitors interested in traditional arts and crafts, as well as different painting, wood carving and iron sketching techniques.

Authentic Khmer arts and crafts

‘By connecting local artists and visitors,’ Samnieng explains, ‘we wanted to provide a platform for preservation and sustainable development of authentic Khmer arts and crafts techniques, and provide an environment for a sustainable development of art in Cambodia.’

People travelling to Siem Reap and Cambodia are increasingly expressing more interest for local and meaningful experiences. People want to get involved, and there is also an increasing trend that people want to learn more about the places they are visiting. Samnieng and his team of local artists offer dedicated, but informal arts and crafts classes in a traditional environment. There are regular classes for beginners and for those more experienced. One-to-one sessions for professionals can be tailored to fit most itineraries. Small class sizes ensure the arts and craft teachers will have sufficient time for each student and, whilst most of the teachers speak fairly good English, an English translator is always short at hand.

Concentration and determination as Rhonda is enjoying an iron fire sketching session in the Khmer Art Connections workshop. Image credit: Khmer Art Connections

Currently, there are regular classes in wood carving, spoon painting and iron fire sketching. We’re amazed by the skills and talent of the arts and crafts teachers at work, and the amount of details that go into their finished products. Therefore, a day at Khmer Arts Connection is not only great fun and a great learning experience, it really makes us appreciate the talent and efforts put into the many locally made souvenirs that can be bought at the various markets in Siem Reap and across Cambodia.

Khmer Art Connections is a Social Enterprise offering interactive arts and crafts classes for locals and visitors to Siem Reap, Cambodia. For more information about various courses and classes in Spoon Painting, Wood Carving or Iron Fire Sketching, please visit their website and contact us for group bookings and tailor-made itineraries.

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Moving on – a new chapter begins…

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For the past ten years, the team at Soria Moria Boutique Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia, have been welcoming guests from all over the world. Whether it’s staying guests, local project partners or the wonderful members of staff, people have always been at the heart of Soria Moria’s business model.

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Globalstudies – experiencing Responsible Tourism in practice

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My first trip to Cambodia was in 2007 when I came to run a guesthouse a bit outside the charming town of Siem Reap. It was a small guesthouse with a strong focus on Responsible Tourism and I was intrigued by the concept. The management and staff at the guesthouse worked closely with local community projects and hired local staff, drivers and guides. The staff all received plenty of training, had good working conditions, fair salaries and flexible working hours to enable them to continue their education – something of which was organised and sponsored by the guesthouse.

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Joining the Cambodian Circus – a social enterprise in Siem Reap

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Cambodia – a country of contrasts and smiles

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Siem Reap, Cambodia, has been my home for the past seven years. It is a country of contrasts and smiles. The town is booming thanks to the increase in tourism; tour buses and 4x4s are everywhere. Very different from seven years ago when the only cars were taxis doing the Phnom Penh run or World Food Programme 4x4s. But step back from the main tourist area and visit villages where bicycles and motorbikes are the main form of transport and experience how many Cambodians continue to live a life that has changed little in hundreds of years.

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Authenticity, Collaboration and Behavioural Change

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World Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market in London is always a good opportunity to meet up with and learn from colleagues and industry experts from around the world. This year was no exception and the Responsible Tourism Programme had a line up of interesting seminars and speakers with particular focus on animal welfare, authenticity, collaboration, child protection and behaviour change.

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Harnessing Oodlesofdosh through Paddling and Exhaustion

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Dragon boat racing has long traditions in Cambodia with people from all over the country celebrating the Cambodian Water Festival (Bon Om Tuk) and watching the boat races in Siem Reap, in the provinces and, not least, along Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh which attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year.

The Cambodian Water Festival lasts for (at least) three days, and commemorates the end of the rainy season as well as the reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River. The English rainy season is rather constant and we’d be surprised if The Thames suddenly should change it’s flow and run upstream from the Thames Estuary, but we’ll brave the English weather and put some serious muscle behind our fundraising efforts in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival at Bewl Water in Kent on Sunday 14 September 2014.

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On the road again

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It’s January 2006, two backpackers who met working at one of London’s finest hotels, are on the road again after experiencing the poverty on the streets of Phnom Penh, the harrowing stories of Toul Sleng and the haunting recollections of the Killing Fields. The bus driver, who sits behind a broken windscreen, drives recklessly along the long winding Route 6 bumping pot hole after pot hole to Siem Reap.

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