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Cambodian Khmer Garments - The History of the Krama Scarf

  |   Mekong River

Are you a fan of multi-functional clothing? Of course you are. So are we - and our absolute favorite, we discovered across our Rainforest Cruises travels, is the beautiful Krama scarf of Cambodia. These uniquely applied garments have old stories with modern applications, making them not only beautiful but significant too.   

Cambodia Khmer Garments

How Do Cambodian People Utilize These Unique Garments?

From carrying babies to weaponry, this item of clothing is likely to possess the most purpose of any accessory you will come across. Traditionally put to use as a scarf, as protection from the sun or a bandana to cover the face, the scarf has become an integral part of Cambodian life. Being applied to Bokator fighters during spars, wrapped around their waists, heads and fists; contrastingly swaddled around babies to hold them close to their mothers, or even spotted as a handyman’s quick fix to bicycle damage, you are guaranteed to spot these traditional cloths all over Cambodia. If you find yourself around more residential areas you can even catch adorable children using the Krama rolled into a ball, as a home-made version of a dodgeball. 

Originally worn by Khmer women to reflect status, you will find the materials used generally follow the same patterns with varied color schemes. Manufacturing villages are the birthplace of the Khmer scarves - it is not uncommon for a whole family of Cambodian natives to be living and working on these items. Consisting of mainly 5-10 people, each person takes on a different role in the production. There is even documented evidence of spindle worms from 500 BC, which are believed to have been used for the production of Khmer scarves! Now that is what we call vintage head wear. 

Cambodia Khmer

Who Exactly Wears and Styles Them?

A strong part of the Cambodian legacy, these scarves are worn by everyone. Thats right! A completely unisex garment that is sported by women, men and even children. Traditionally, they are created from a checkered red and white, or blue and white material. However, some people will use a Krama to show sorrow, sporting choices made in black. Alternatively, designs are fabricated using bright silks, which are worn during pagoda festivals. A fashionable statement of dress wear since the first century reign of Preah Bath Hun Tean, the Krama is stunning; a national symbol of Cambodia, distinguishing it from its nearby countries Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. It proudly symbolizes how far the Khmer people have come past their previous challenges lasting centuries. Interestingly, it has been re-discovered by younger generations as cultural outerwear, to maintain the values, spirit and legacy of the people as the country re-builds its society. 

Cambodia Tours

Take Your Chance to Explore Cambodia

Here at Rainforest Cruises we offer a range of cruises through the Mekong river, with opportunities to explore Vietnam and Cambodia. Specifically our Mekong Princess will take you to special spots, where you will see Khmer people in their daily life. You will even be approached with the opportunity to purchase a scarf, a great souvenir or gift to others. Undoubtedly, she is one of the most luxurious and grand vessels that we offer. You will experience the world like never before when traveling on this 4, 5 or 8-day cruise. Our experts sales team can happily help you organize every detail of your trip. If you are interested in booking with us, please contact our team to see what we can offer you; send us an enquiry or call 1-888-215-3555. 

About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises, Galapagos Islands tours, and Southeast Asia cruises. We provide you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Panama and Southeast Asia. As travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure.