Time went by too quick and not realizing that I was already on my 6th day of the Mekong Cruise and in another country as I noticed the change of the crew in the ship. I was so excited though in getting to know another culture.
It has been an amazing cruise so far in the comfort of the beautiful La Marguerite. I didn’t have to deal with the packing and unpacking, as well as in the carrying and maneuvering of my long-standing traveling buddies, my suitcases. This was definitely one of the comforts when traveling via a cruise ship. All you have to do is to sit back, enjoy and relax.
Activities at La Marguerite usually start early in the morning. For early risers, you will get to have breakfast at the sundeck from 6 am to 8 am. Tea and freshly baked pastries are usually served. Though I am not an early riser person, I forced myself to get up early today to witness the sunrise at the deck and enjoy my last view of Phnom Penh as the boat sailed to the little village of Chong Koh, also known as the handicraft centre of Cambodia. Make sure to check the departure time, as you would not want to miss the 10-minute cruise along the breathtaking views of the riverside of Phnom Penh.
Chong Koh Village, is a small village and a main producer of traditional handicraft. They also do a lot of silk weaving, which is a task shared by the entire family across generations. Silk weaving is definitely the pride and wealth of the village. The weaving tradition in this village dates back from many generations and is still an activity shared by the villager’s family. I was surprised to observe that the kids in the town speak relatively good English. Most of them learn English from school.
The best way to help these families selling craft, especially to those mothers who tag along their kids who are as young as 3, is to buy a piece or more of their locally produced products. Here you could really get some good bargains. To be fair, it is best to buy one item from several vendors to spread the sales around. Under no circumstances you should encourage to give money to the kids.
In the afternoon, we visited Oudong, known to be the Royal capital of Cambodia from 1618-1866. We stopped by at the Buddhist Monastery, Vipassana Dhura, and the biggest Buddhist Center in Oudong. This was followed by an observation of a “Blessing Ceremony” chanted by two Cambodian monks. I found it fascinating to see how the monks were on their mobile phones right after the religious ceremony.
Oudong has stunning views and popular places for weekend outings and picnics. Our last stop for the day was in Kampong Tralach, a smaller district in the south east of Kampong Chhnang Province in central Cambodia. We toured the town’s temple, Wat Kampong Tralach Pleu.
At around 4.30 pm whilst in the bus, we encountered an interesting sight of a local motorbike transportation which is known as the “motor trailer.” This mode of transportation can carry 40-50 passengers and mostly transport factory workers from and to their workplace and home. It was so interesting to watch a true display of a local culture and how they squeeze in to fit to this rather unique form of transportation. I felt the community sense proudly displayed in the motor trailer.
We went back to the boat via an ox-cart and had the chance to see and feel the air of the countryside and rice fields once again. It was another unique experience to be able to ride on the most popular transportation. This is widely used in the rural part of Cambodia, mainly used by the farmers to transport their harvested crops, and even animals. Make sure to hang on to the handrails for firm positioning on the cart.
At La Marguerite, another delicious dinner was served at the restaurant. This was followed by a brief comedy show by the usual on-board presenters, the Cruise & Tour Managers. But nothing beats Minh’s ‘Nasty Quiz’ night where everyone enjoyed answering trivia and brain-teasing questions. A fabulous prize was given to the winner.
In this article, I am delighted to feature APT (Australian Pacific Touring) who fully sponsored my 8-days luxury cruise of the Mekong River. Visit http://www.aptouring.com.au to view list of ALL their product offerings
Two more days to go. Day 7 is our last night on board. Stay tune for the culminating evening activities.
© 2012 by Michelle Riel, retains sole copyright to her contributions to all the contents of this site.