Ida’s Post: Visting a Silk Worm Farm in Siem Reap

One of the things I really liked about visiting Siem Reap was going to a Silk Worm Farm.

We took a tuk tuk to the Silk Worm Farm during the second day of our stay in Siem Reap. When we arrived, there was a guide waiting for us. He was good at speaking English. He took us from room, to room, to room while explaining the process. This is some of what I learned.

First, a male moth and a female moth mate and as soon as they are done mating, the female lays approximately 300 eggs and the male dies. Then, when the eggs hatch, the female dies. It’s a bit sad, isn’t it? It’s like an orphanage for the worms.

Afterwards, the worms eat for 3 days/nights straight and sleep for 1 day/night straight. They eat mulberry leaves.

After a month of eating the leaves, they stop eating altogether. Then they turn yellow-ish and are moved onto a wooden tray that is designed almost like a maze.

While they are on the trays, they start working on making their cocoons, using their saliva. It takes almost a month for them to make the cocoons.

The outer part of a cocoon is the raw silk and the inner part is the fine silk. When the cocoon is finished, the moths chew their way out of the cocoons and the people who work a the Farm grab the moths and place a male and a female together (the male is smaller than the female) like matchmakers. The moths then mate and start the cycle all over again.

Separate from the worms, is the precious silk. First, the cocoons are put into boiling water to separate the raw silk from the fine silk.

It’s hard work (and we learned that the people who work there only get paid $4 for an 8-hour workday). Each cocoon makes 40 meters of silk. The silk is so fine. It’s thinner than a piece of thread used for sewing. You can barely see the silk threads; they’re so thin.

After the thread has been put onto big spools – in most instances using bicycle wheels – natural die (from rubber trees, mint leaves, lavendar and other plants) are used to turn the silk red, pink, yellow, green, blue and other colors.

Finally, the silk is woven into scarves, bedsheets, tablecloths, pillowcases – even covers for notebooks and pencilcases. I bought a beautiful silk-covered notebook and my parents bought raw silk scarves.



5 thoughts on “Ida’s Post: Visting a Silk Worm Farm in Siem Reap

  1. Hi Ida, What a beautiful description of the process of making silk. (even though parts of that process are quite unusual……just like nature to be unusual sometimes, right? 🙂 ) Do you know that Bob and I went to , I think, that same silk worm farm, or one identical to it…..about 20 years ago when we were in Siem Reap! I am glad you bought a note book to give you wonderful memories of your visit there! hugs, Mary Pat

    Mary Pat Armstrong 95A Roxborough St. E. Toronto, ON, M4W 1V9 416-922-4812


  2. What an amazing story about making silk, I had no idea! Your note book is very pretty Ida, I hope it helps you collect many amazing stories and memories.


  3. Ida, I just loved reading about the silk process. Your photos and explanations were so clear that I almost felt like I was following you through the tour! I am so glad you got a special notebook cover to remember your visit and the lovely people who worked so hard to make it.
    I look forward to your next post.
    Hugs, Squeak & Dick


  4. That was such a great description of the silk farm as well as your approach to your visit to the temples.I hope you will put it together in a scholastic book for primary schools.Lesley Rogan


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