It’s been a bit of an Internet blackout for us on the riverboat as it cruised along the Mekong and Tonle Rivers in Cambodia. We’re now on land at our hotel in Siem Reap and can provide updates from the past few days.
On Wednesday, 12th November, our boat left Phnom Penh at 5:30a and we putted along to Koh Oaknha Tey on the Mekong. Kona Oaknha They is an island in the Mekong that is known for its silk farming and production. Before visiting the silk farm, our Tuk Tuks drove past a school with children playing outside. We stopped and enjoyed a flurry of “Hellos” from the children as they all seem to know that English word very well. They were adorable kids and the village and school was quite scenic, too.
As our Tuk Tuks continued along, we came upon wedding preparations in the village and we stopped to take in the scene. We learned that weddings are week-long affairs and an entire village participates in the preparation. This wedding was going to be the following day and preparations for the 800+ guests were in full swing. The women were making “cake,” which was a banana enclosed in sticky rice and then enclosed in a banana leaf. The men were making the table centerpieces. It was a real treat to get this peek into their culture.
A bit later at the silk farm, we saw the silk worms hard at work, the women working to extract the silk from the cocoons and then other women weaving it into some amazing silk creations. The intricacy of some of the weavings is astounding for hand weaving.
We were then back to The Jahan for lunch and a presentation by the students from Chiro Commune – a project supported by the cruise line. This school provides basic English skills training for students. The kids performed some traditional dances, which were very cute. We then departed for the short trip to Angkor Ban – a community on the Mekong that is also supported by the cruise line. This village is one of the few in Cambodia that was not destroyed/affected by Khmer Rouge. As a result, village life there appears much as it did over a hundred years ago. It definitely felt even more like we had stepped into the pages of National Geographic and our eyes were busy taking it all in.
As the ship pulled up its anchor, we reflected on the amazing sights of the day and looked forward to more interesting sights, sounds, and smells the following day at Kampong Tralach and Kampong Chhnang.