A trip to Cambodia’s ‘Cultural’ Village
I love learning about different cultures, and think that cultural villages serve a great purpose for tourists to immerse themselves in the country they are visiting, and for locals to learn more about their history.
My boyfriend, a Cambodian, was very keen to visit the Cambodian Cultural Village one weekend, so that we did. At a combined cost of $20USD, the entry wasn’t cheap. After we paid an extra 50 cents for motorbike parking, we grabbed our maps and headed inside. I will now detail the different ‘villages’ we visited, so you can gain an insight into the Cambodian Cultural Village and decide whether or not you think it is worth pursuing, should you ever visit Siem Reap.
1. Wax Museum
The wax museum has several wax figurines of famous Cambodians. However, there is no explanation of what these people are actually famous for. Who is that King? Why is that person famous? How come that Chinese man is in here? I will never know, as photos are prohibited inside, so I couldn’t take photos of the names to research later.
Wait, how did we get to number 14 so quickly? Well my friends, that is what we were asking ourselves. When you head outside of the wax museum and past the ‘craft village’ (some shacks with a few employees sitting together), the entrance sign says to go ahead. Which we did. And we walked and walked, very confused, until we saw a staff member who we asked for help. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very helpful, so we continued to head straight. That is when we reached the miniatures section.
The replicas were detailed, however, just like the wax museum, no information was provided. I was able to identify a couple, such as the National Museum and Royal Palace, having visited them before, but I didn’t recognise all.
Then things got weird. We saw an oversized notebook sculpture, next to an even bigger calculator sculpture. Perhaps the fact that this was supposed to be a miniatures exhibition got lost in translation when they were preparing the displays.
9. Khmer Village
This village had several houses surrounding what I assumed to be a stage. You couldn’t enter any of the houses, though I saw the door to one was partly open with who I assumed to be staff inside. There was some rubbish around, so that made it representative of a Khmer village quite well!
8. Floating Village
Relatively clean, this village represents Tonle Sap. There are some small ‘houses’ on stilts. I was excited to see they were opened, however when I looked inside each house only contained a table.
10. Mini Theatre
Here we saw a traditional dance show. I have seen my fair share of dance shows in Cambodia, and I can tell you that this one wasn’t worth watching. The show begins with a voiceover in Khmer, presumably giving a background of what is happening. There was no translation, meaning the foreigners went into the show with no understanding of what was happening.
There were many dancers in the show, however the majority of them were uncoordinated. There was a small child backstage during the whole show, playing with one of the dancers, moving the stage curtains and being incredibly distracting. It was completely unprofessional.
The story was difficult to follow, so I was very surprised when it ended as I had no idea what was going on, except for the fact that it had something to do with love. Oh, and a staff member was taking photos and kept walking in front of the stage. The kid sitting behind me, kicking my back, was the icing on the cake. I bolted out of there as soon as it finished.
11. Phnorng Village
This village is supposed to represent tribal groups who believe in Animism. Just like the Khmer Village, the huts surrounded a stage. At the time, there were staff cleaning the stage so we had to walk around them. We weren’t able to go inside the huts.
7. Khmer Association Village
I learnt something visiting this village, which is supposed to represent the lifestyle of Cambodians who live abroad. That is, that Superman is actually Khmer! That’s right, there is a statue of a headless Superman there. And a multi-coloured horse. And two houses you can’t enter, one which is boarded shut and has broken windows. Perhaps they are saying that Cambodians who live abroad can’t pay their mortgage bills? And who can forget the ‘church’ that was there. It was open, however there were workmen in there, so of course, we couldn’t enter.
6. Kroeng Village
Representing the ethnic minorities who live in Rattanakiri province in the northeast of Cambodia, there really is nothing to see here. If you wanted to pay $1.50USD however, you COULD enter a ‘judgement tunnel ghost cave’. We didn’t.
5. Kola Village
Kola people originate from Myanmar, and live in an area with plenty of precious stones and peacocks. The peacock dance is performed here, however as it wasn’t on when we visited, all we saw was a house on top of a hill.
4. Chinese Village
It took us approximately 30 seconds to look at the Chinese Village, which was pretty much a bunch of stereotypical statues.
3. Cham Village
Cham people originally come from Vietnam and follow Islam. This village, though bare, was actually quite beautiful. It consisted of a small house and a mosque.
2. Millionaire House
I was eager for our visit to end by the time we reached the millionaire house. The brochure shows a foreign man marrying a Khmer woman, so the implications are questionable. This house is a large wooden structure, and you can view a traditional Khmer wedding ceremony here. I have viewed enough Khmer wedding ceremonies in my time, so we gave it a miss.
|Opening Hours||Daily from 9am to 9pm|
|Location||National Road # 6, Krours Village, Svay Dangkum Commune, Siem Reap|