Soc Trang: Khmer people preserve rattan weaving, engage in tourism
Update: Jun 14, 2024
Bamboo and rattan weaving in Phu Tan commune, Soc Trang province, is more than 100 years old. Khmer ethnic people there are combining the traditional craft preservation and tourism development to turn the commune into an attractive destination.

Rattan and bamboo products of the Dat Phuong Nam Bamboo and Rattan Cooperative (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

Phu Tan villagers use their skilled hands to fashion rattan and bamboo into grain baskets, flat wide baskets, closely-woven baskets, and fishing baskets.

Lam Thi Phen, a local resident, said that her family has been engaged in the traditional weaving craft for three generations - my grandfather, my father, and her.

“When I was 10, I knew how to weave baskets. We are proud because our village is one of the most famous craft villages in Soc Trang province. I hope to pass this craft on to my children and grandchildren,” said Phen.

Phu Tan households have formed cooperatives to jointly develop production, business, and tourism. The cooperatives provide raw materials and purchase all the villagers’ products.

People in Phu Tan commune weaving rattan and bamboo items (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

Truong Thi Bach Thuy, Director of Thuy Tuyet Rattan and Bamboo Weaving Cooperative, said her facility has supplied more than 700 products to domestic markets and for export.

Thuy added, “Most of the exports are consumer goods such as baskets for restaurants and hotels. We also provide bamboo and rattan construction materials for homestays, resorts, and tourist areas.”

Nguyen Van Huynh, Director of the Dat Phuong Nam Bamboo and Rattan Cooperative, said the products of Phu Tan are sold in Vietnam and overseas.

“We are outsourced by an exporter to Japan, China, Canada, and Thailand. Domestically, our products are sold in Hanoi, Hai Phong, Lao Cai, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, and the southern provinces, said Huynh, adding, “We offer retail, wholesale, and combo sales. In addition to tourism products, we also make home décor items and build or design items for restaurants and hotels.”

Local authorities visiting Dat Phuong Nam Bamboo and Rattan Cooperative (Photo: Ngoc Anh)

Phu Tan’s products have become increasingly diverse. Traditional items like small boats and betel trays have been miniaturized to become fine art and handicraft items sold as souvenirs.

Quach Tieu Phung, who visited Phu Tan commune, said, “I find the products very sophisticated and beautiful. It’s important to preserve and develop traditional crafts. The exported products will be popular abroad.”

To attract tourists, the locality has started a tour of craft villages and Khmer pagodas, including the Som Rong pagoda, the Four-Faced pagoda, the Buu Tam pagoda, and the Champa pagoda.

Visitors to Phu Tan commune can watch craftsman doing rattan and bamboo weaving and admire rooms full of items made of rattan and bamboo. By preserving and promoting their traditional craft and combining it with tourism development, the villagers have made their products widely known as a symbol of Khmer culture.

VOVWORLD - - June 13, 2024