Friendly people, delectable cuisines, superb crew, luxury services clearly describe my 7-day experience while aboard onLa Marguerite. It’s interesting to note the cultural variation and diversity as we move from one village/city to another along the stretch. However, there is one common denominator that I observed in all places we visited: the simplicity of life and the sense of community.
After breakfast, we disembark from La Marguerite and transferred to a motorboat for our final excursion to the floating villages of Kampong Chhnang.
Kampong Chhnang is a bustling rural port located on the Tonle Sap River. Primary livelihoods of the town are fishing and cultivation.
As we sail along the wetlands of Tonle Sap River by small motor boat, the kids were happily waving on us as they paddle their boats, fish and swim. These kids learned these activities in their prime years. Some of them have learned how to swim before they could walk. The best scene was of all a little girl paddling in a large basin as she moved from one house to another.
The walk around the town was another interesting experience as we observed numerous local stores selling mostly the primary necessities of the villagers: fishing equipment and buckets of petrol. We also had the opportunity to shop around other local stores selling locally produced sugar palms, fermented wine in large containers, and betel leaves (the traditional mild stimulant customarily chewed by old generation of Cambodians and Vietnamese). Houses in the mainland are mostly built with high poles to protect them from floods.
At 11 am, our Cambodian tour guides presented us some General Information about Cambodia in the Saigon Lounge. This was followed by our last hearty lunch. By mid-afternoon we enjoyed our last afternoon teatime in the Saigon Lounge and had the opportunity to learn ‘towel and napkin’ folding. The most liked room attendant, Mai and the remarkable Restaurant Maitre, Dary demonstrated this origami like activity.
The night culminated with a Farewell Gala Dinner. It started off with the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail where each crew on board was lined up and in chorus extended their heartfelt adieu to the passengers. This was followed by a fabulous dinner in the Mekong Restaurant. After dinner, everyone gathered back in the Saigon Lounge and dance the night away to the tunes of Hai’s (on board pianist) repertoire.
More exciting tales to come as I ended my Mekong River Cruise with a “Fear Factor” like experience, the opportunity to eat local delicacies such as crickets and tarantulas!
In this article, I am proud, once again 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.
© 2012 by Michelle Riel, retains sole copyright to her contributions to all the contents of this site.