Cheung Kok is one of the prettiest Cambodian villages we’ve seen and also happens to be home to a fascinating “community-based ecotourism” project.
Cheung Kok used to depend upon its surrounding rice fields for survival, but recognising the need to diversity they collaborated with Amica, a French NGO, to create a sustainable, fair way to generate and distribute incomes.
You can visit the village independently, and do your own little tour, dropping in to see the artisans at work if they are there. There are panels dotted about the village, telling you where to find the silk maker, palm sugar producer, palm leaf weaver, the krama maker, or perhaps someone who will show you how to cultivate rice.
It may be better to get a deeper understanding with a proper, guided tour of the village, which takes about one hour. You may also be able to participate in various activities as well, to learn how they’re done.
You can take it a step deeper by staying at one of the homestays here too, which are just $5 a night. If you can’t or don’t want to stay the night, you could also tuck into a tasty, traditional Khmer lunch with a host family for just $4.
There is a small shop and visitor centre at the start of the village, where you can buy everything the artisans produce. You can’t buy direct. Proceeds are managed by a local committee, and go towards supporting projects such as free Khmer and English classes for children, micro-credit support for artisans and villagers, roads and house renovations, and water supply projects.