Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A Siem Reap day tour that you can bank on



A Siem Reap day tour that you can bank on

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ong Pisey poses with some of her unfinished banks. Keo Ratana

A Siem Reap day tour that you can bank on

For tourists in Siem Reap who seek out things to do after visiting Angkor Wat and the markets, and want a closer look at Cambodian society, tours of the countryside are not a bad idea. One recent stop added to some tours is a trip to a piggy bank workshop to watch first-hand how they are crafted.

Ong Pisey, 53, has made a living from making piggy banks for more than a decade in Kravan village, in Siem Reap’s Angkor Thom commune. She sees tourists visiting her shop every day because they are attracted to her beautifully crafted products.

While the pig has been a traditional shape for money-saving boxes used by children all over the world, those on display at Pisey’s shop include many other designs, such as those of the 12 zodiac signs, and cartoon characters including Minions and Angry Birds. But the pig still remains a tourist favourite.

“Most of my products are piggy banks for saving money. However, most people buy the elephant-shaped ones for decorative purposes. The elephant banks are still made in the 19th-century style,” Pisey says, adding that she charges $1.25 to $3 for her products.

To supplement her income from selling piggy banks, she also receives some money from tourists who visit her shop, most of whom are brought by Butterfly Tour, a local tourist agency.

“I teach them how to make piggy banks – beginning with shaping the clay to painting those brought out of the oven,” Pisey says.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ong Pisey’s piggy banks on display at her shop. courtesy of butterfly tours

Sok Heng, the executive director of Butterfly Tour, says her agency began including piggy bank workshops as a destination for clients who visit Siem Riep, Battambang and Kampot provinces as she wanted them to try making the products and buy some as souvenirs.

“Our clients are mostly from the US and European countries, and enjoy such tours, which have many other activities as well,” he said.

The workshops welcome guests in groups of seven or less as part of larger tours organised by Butterfly, says Heng.

“During the high season, from October to March, we arrange two groups a day. In the low season, we normally have just one group in the morning,” she says.

A half-day group tour, which includes the use of a motorcycle and a guide, costs $27 per person. A whole-day tour, which includes a lunch, costs $48 each.

However, an overnight tour, which includes two meals, a cooking class and the homestay costs $63 per person. Besides the piggy-bank workshop, groups are also taken to see how traditional Cambodian baskets and rice wine are made.

Hong Raksmey

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and