Handicraft Center (Mekong Island)
The handicraft center in Kandal province is located in Koh Dach commune, Muk Kapul district in the middle of the Mekong River. Also known as Mekong Island, it is 12 kilometers long. It is 100 meters wide at its most narrow point and 2,500 meters at its widest. On the eastern side of the island lies Preak Luong and Oknha Tei commune, Ksach Kandal district; on the western side lie Preak Leap and Bakheng communes, Muk Kompul district. There are five villages’ n Koh Dach communes: Koh Dach, Kbal Koh, Lvear, Chong Koh and Oknha Tei villages. The commune office is located in Kbal Koh village. Flooding on the Mekong River has caused the riverbank long Koh Dach commune to gradually collapse.
Many of the people who live here make their living as farmers. They plant corn, sesame, beans and banana. They also plant fruit trees. In addition to farming, the villagers produce mosquito nets, silk, sarong, pha muong, hol, karma, and run small businesses. Khmer handicrafts are in abundance here, since there are many weavers and they loom products, big or small, depending on their resources.
There are three pagodas in Koh Dach: Wat Ampor Phal, Wat Krapum Pich, and Wat Samky Kbal Koh. Men and women in Koh Dach commune also enjoy boat racing. Wat Ampor Phal and Wat Kbal Koh both have two boats for me-a paddle boat and a rowboat. Wat Krapum Pich has two rowboats-one for men and the other for women.
The island’s natural resources and traditions make it an ideal destination for tourists. The tourism industry here can be developed best by:
o Helping weavers to improve their skills in making silk hol, pha moung and karma that meet international standards and can be sold to visitors.
o Repairing and maintain the roads in the communes, encouraging the villages to build traditional Khmer houses and educating villagers about the importance of preserving Khmer traditions and traditional games Promote boat racing by men’s and women’s teams in national and religious festivals.