Samatoa Lotus Farm is located to the south of Siem Reap in the direction of Tonle Sap Lake. Many visitors combine a visit to this lotus farm with a boat trip on Tonle Lake and excursion to Kampong Phluk Floating Village.
- Opening Hours: Mon to Sun 08:00 to 18:00
- Entrance fee: Free
About Samatoa Lotus Farm
Samatoa Lotus Farm is a commercial lotus farm and textile producer which is open to the public to visit. The main product made here is ‘lotus silk’ which is the most expensive fabric in the world. The Samatoa Lotus Textile Company retails products like scarves for between $400 and $700 USD a piece.
The reason that fabric made from lotus is so expensive is that the process to make it very labour intensive. The start of the process is the harvesting of fibre from the stem of the lotus, which is then layered and spun into a thread which can be woven. The fibres are so delicate that the whole process needs to be done by hand using the same techniques that have been used in Asia for hundreds of year. It takes about 10 days full time work per person to produce enough thread to weave into a single square metre of lotus fabric. Although labour intensive, lotus fabric is very environmentally friendly using less carbon and water to produce fabric than nearly all other forms of fibre, including silk.
Samatoa Lotus Farm covers an area of 20 acres and employs around 30 local people. Although this is definitely a for profit organisation, the working conditions and pay of the people employed are notable better than other form of agricultural employment. It’s not really a ‘social enterprise’ as its often described but the people who work there have opportunities that they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
When you visit you will be shown around the farm with all parts of the process, from harvesting the lotus, through to weave the fabric, explained to you by the English manager. There is rooftop cafe with lotus tea and other beverages offered for free. This is a commercial enterprise and they would like you to buy some of the fabric or a cheaper souvenir made from other parts of the the lotus plant, but its not a hard sell.
Lotus silk is a very expensive product and not so many customers are required to fund the operation. The objective of bringing visitors in is to raise the profile of the product and the operation which in turn hopefully helps them build a market for their products in richer countries. There is nothing wrong with this, Cambodia needs more high value products to sell to boost their economy, and its an interesting place to visit and learn about what one of Asia’s traditional but lesser known crafts.
Location Samatoa Lotus Farm
Samatoa Lotus Farm is 10.5 km by road from Siem Reap in Phnom Krom.