The east side of the Nam Khan river is often overlooked by tourists, particularly when the bamboo bridge that connects the two sides has not been completed. For those tourists seeking to explore this side of the river there is one little treasure trove filled with hand crafted jewellery that is a perfect place to spend a morning learning a new craft: Garden of Eden.
The shop is located next to Dyen Sabai Restaurant and looks like a little wooden shed. Walk inside and you will be greeted by Nic, whose sister owns the shop. Nic is lovely and speaks great English with an American accent. The shop is filled with little treats that make a perfect souvenir, with a focus on hand crafted items, recycling and sustainability. After our first visit to the shop we decided to ask for a jewellery making class the following day, which takes place on a balcony at the back of the shop.
When we arrived for our class Nic asked us to choose the items in the shop we would like to make. The selection is amazing: heavily beaded bracelets, stone rings and necklaces made from old magazines form much of the collection. Nic gave us advice over which items to select, based on our craft abilities and confidence. We settled on a ring made from copper wire and a bracelet made with thread and beads.
We were invited to take a spot on the balcony floor whilst Nic collected the tools and materials we would need. They had recently adopted two tiny kittens, so this gave us the perfect opportunity to have a play and cuddle with the little guys! Nic didn’t take long, and soon we were being introduced to some peculiar looking tools neither of us had seen before. Nic carefully explained how the tools are used and began setting them up to make the bracelet.
After getting Graham started on the bracelet Nic then began to teach me to make the copper ring, allowing me to choose the stone I would like to use. Soon the three of us were sat chatting and laughing whilst working on our own jewellery. Nic was wonderful, charming us with local stories, making jokes and keeping an eye on what we were doing. We were made to be perfectly at ease with the craft as she gently corrected our mistakes and answered any concerns.
When we were in the flow of things and needed little assistance Nic popped home to bring back some snacks her mother had prepared. They were delicious! We took a break to enjoy the food and view for a little while, passing thanks to her mum for preparing such lovely food. Sitting out on the balcony is lovely, with music flowing through the air from the restaurant next door and a sense of calm.
When we finished our pieces Nic explained how to make the jewellery again in the future when we don’t have access to the tools. I really liked this part of the class and knowing I’d be able to practice what I had learnt at home.
What you need to know
The session lasted about two hours in total, but the time depends on what you are making and how fast you pick up the technique. The class is free but you are asked to pay the shop price for what you make (our ring and bracelet were 49,000kip each). You can just show up at 9am and ask for a class but we’d recommend popping in or sending an email the day before to book.
Garden of Eden
071 141 0456
020 282 290 59
Check out their TripAdvisor reviews here.