Learn about the khmer scarf and sampot - traditional Cambodian clothing

Traditional Cambodian Clothing: From the Khmer Scarf to the Sampot

One of the best ways to learn more about a culture is to take a closer look at their traditional clothing. Often, it provides insight into their heritage, as well as their beliefs and way of life. This is true of Cambodia. Today, we’re going to look at traditional Cambodian clothing, from the khmer scarf to the sampot, and everything else in between.

The Khmer Scarf: A Versatile Garment

The khmer scarf is an ancient tradition among the Cambodian people. It has countless uses, ranging from the obvious (as a scarf), to the unbelievable (as a weapon). It’s not only a fashionable garment, it is extremely useful. Cambodians wear the khmer scarf as a turban, use it as a bathrobe, and sleep in it like a hammock. It has been used for thousands of years, and is iconic and unique to the Cambodian culture. You can spot a beautiful checked scarf everywhere you go, so useful to the culture is the khmer scarf.

The Sampot: National Dress of Cambodia

The sampot is a garment worn wrapped around the waist, and is the national dress of Cambodia. Pronounced “sahm-pots,” it resembles a loose-fitting sarong, and is can be folded, draped, and worn in several different ways. The sampot is about one and a half meters long, and both ends are sewn together. History tells us that the Cambodians began wearing the sampot after their king ordered them to at the request of the Chinese envoys during the Funan era.  Variations of the sampot are the sampot chang kben (which resembles pants more than a skirt, and is worn by women), the sampot phamuong (constructed with floral or geometric motifs), and the sampot hol (which utilizes more of a twill weave than the traditional sampot).

Take Home a Piece of the Culture with a Khmer Scarf

The khmer scarf is beautiful, and unique to the Cambodian people. When you purchase a checked scarf from Give Krama, you are bringing home a traditional piece of Cambodian culture. The khmer scarf can easily be added to every outfit, and will be a beautiful conversation starter among your friends. And, when you buy a scarf from Give Krama, you are purchasing from the craftsmen and women who keep the weaving tradition alive, as well as supporting the Angkor Children’s Hospital. View all our available styles, and own a piece of traditional Cambodian clothing today!


Find your colorful khmer scarf and give back!