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

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from