Long after we’ve returned home from our holiday, perhaps even after our memories of a trip begin to fade, our homes may be decorated by a selection of souvenirs we gathered from our travels around the world. Many are tied to memories of a small artisanal village in the mountains or a local friend’s relative who specializes in making cultural curios. These souvenirs can be some of the most special experiences of travel: meeting local people and bringing home a small piece of their culture. Today we’re going to speak to a man helping preserve such traditions and make them available to visitors to Cambodia.

Artisan working at SATCHA in Siem Reap

Trevor’s most memorable handicraft souvenirs 

  • As a backpacker, I traveled light but I had to get this carved wooden shaman’s staff in Sumatra after passing on the pricey ebony fire stick at Lake Cini in Malaysia: I think that must be on a Tantalizing Travel Tales episode (link below).
  • Laos textiles – when I started appreciating the people who made them and the history integrated into the art, I was hooked. 
  • I’ve always liked going to a village and buying a souvenir such as a silk scarf from the artisan who made it: Pursat stone carving village is a great one in Cambodia.
  • Thai handicrafts to sell in Hawaii story.
  • Here in Cambodia – learning most of the old market wares not made in Cambodia 
  • I think it’s important to know where your goods are made and support local economy. 

Scott: I’ve purchased quite a few over the years I am sure, but I can’t seem to recall too many. They get less and less as time goes on and I get older it seems.

  • A bulldog from Bali which is painted in wild colors – I think thousands of people have this but I like it.
  • We bought replicas of village / headhunter earrings in Kuching, Borneo, which are framed.
  • I have a cool tanka print I purchased from Tibetans in Nepal which is on my wall.
  • Some paintings from Vietnam and northern Thailand.
  • Some wooden and brass bowls and jugs from Nepal along with a hand made wool village coat.
  • I’m sure I have a ton of other stuff here and there but really can’t recall.
SATCHA Concept Store

PATREON – thanks to Lisa. She and other Patrons get neat stuff and recently we shared a video of exploring Taroko Gorge in Taiwan that Scott shot while on a trip in April 2023. Ensure you get this content by becoming a Patron too! recently watched a video of Trevor’s Cambodian New Year Celebrations in Siem Reap and of Scott visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya north of Bangkok. 


Every other week, we have a special Patron-only episode or video. Donate as little as $1/month to enjoy our bonus content. Your donation helps us cover the costs of keeping the show alive. Thanks, Wiley for your support. He and other Patrons heard this week’s patron-only video of Scott cycling Bangkok’s back lanes and top sites!

PA and team at SATCHA

TODAY’S GUEST: With 20 years of senior management experience in international and cross-cultural marketing, tourism, and the development and retail sale of cultural products, Pierre Andre Romano is passionate about working in cross-cultural environments. A resident of Cambodia since 2014, PA, as his friends know him, has served as General Manager of EXO Travel Cambodia, a destination management company for inbound tourists, and CEO of Artisans Angkor, the biggest producer and retailer of cultural goods in Cambodia. Currently, he’s President of the Artisan’s Association of Cambodia and the Siem Reap French Chamber of Commerce.

Listen to Episode 177: Cambodian Artisanal Handicrafts to hear PA’s answers to the following questions:

  • Where are you originally from and what did you do there?
  • Your story: when did you first come to Asia and why?
  • How did you first get involved in handicrafts and why was it something meaningful to you?
  • How are you involved now in this field now: tell us about SATCHA.
  • What’s the purpose of the organization?
  • What types of products do you produce? 
  • Are all the handicrafts traditional products made with traditional techniques?
  • How were these traditions preserved and revived in the post-war era?
  • Why is it important for travelers to know where their souvenir products come from? 
  • Is there a difference in quality or price typically with handicrafts in SE Asia? 
  • What are sure signs to be on the lookout for of not handmade – quality souvenirs?
  • Suppose someone visits a place like Phnom Penh and wants to purchase some souvenirs. How can they know that the goods they purchase at a market or shop come from local artisans?
  • Let’s turn the tables: As a traveler in your earlier years, perhaps, did you have some memorable purchases of local crafts from your explorations of Asia? 
SATCHA HQ in Siem Reap, Cambodia
About Satcha: SATCHA aims to become the first Cambodian handicraft center that incubates local artisans, mixing traditional knowledge with contemporary design to showcase Cambodian’ talents to local and international visitors and to transmit these know-how over time while having a sustainable social, economic, and environmental impact. Listen to today’s episode below as we speak to one of its founders, Pierre Andre Romano, to tell us more.


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