Cruise the tranquil Tonle Sap River and witness a pristine countryside of stunning tropical landscapes set with ancient Buddhist pagodas and charming villages. This is the perfect journey for those who want to travel the slow way between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The 3 night option can be done in both directions and offers a real feel of Indochina.
Transfer from the short distance from your city hotel to Phnom Penh (with an English speaking Tour Guide) to the centrally located port. Board Toum Tiou II cruise at midday, and after checking in to your cabin a safety demonstration will be held for passengers.
Sit down for lunch as you set sail on the Tonle Sap River in a northerly direction. In the afternoon arrive at Koh Chen (Chinese Island), a small village of whose inhabitants continues the traditional craft of bronze working practiced for generations amongst their families. They also use silver though due to the high cost the villagers primarily use bronze. The Koh Chen inhabitants make ornamental items, including delicately engraved bowls, used in traditional ceremonies at the pagoda or for marriages.
Return to the boat. In the distance you can see the royal stupas on the hill at Oudong, the former capital of Cambodia. Set sail in the direction of Kampong Tralach where anchor is dropped for the night.
This evening enjoy a welcome drink, further detail about the cruise programme and a chance to meet the crew. A welcome dinner is served. Overnight on board.
Breakfast on board the cruise before starting your morning sightseeing. Disembark at Kampong Tralach and follow a path along the river and thorough Krom village. Enjoy the Cambodian countryside with its patchwork of rice paddy fields set next to the snaking river.
Arrive at Wat Kampong Tralach pagoda where fading, 150-year-old mural paintings depict the life of the Buddha. They remain one of the last survivors of cultural destruction that continues unabated due to widespread indifference. Standing by itself in the middle of rice fields, it is a modest pagoda that receives very few visitors. Return to your boat where there is some time to relax as you set sail for Kompong Chhnang. Lunch is served on board before your next destination is reached in the mid-afternoon.
This afternoon visit Kompong Chhnang and the surrounding villages. The town is located just 90km from Phnom Penh and is home to one of the largest fishing ports on the Tonle Sap River. Fish farming is big business in this area. Head into the countryside to see some of the pottery which is produced in the area – in sufficient quantities to supply the entire country. You can also see sugar palm trees and learn how the fruits are gathered about the variety of produce that results – from the palm wine or ‘toddy’ to the more traditional brown sugar.
After this rural adventure get back on board Toum Tiou II and depart further upstream to the entrance to Tonle Sap Lake where you will moor overnight.
Dinner and overnight on board.
Breakfast is served on board. Today’s itinerary will depend on the time of year and the level in water in the lake. During the high water period (Jul-Dec) is it usually possible to transfer to your destination of Siem Reap by speedboat. However in the low water period (Jan-Jun) the transfer is by road (5 hours).
Sightseeing this morning will be to a floating village (dependent on water levels) which is rarely visited by tourists besides the odd river cruise boat. Everything floats here – schools, a police station, pigsties, fish farms and of course the houses. Explore the canals by way of a local boat.
After it is time to head for Siem Reap. Lunch will be served either on the road (low water) or during a speedboat transfer (high water).
Arrive into Siem Reap from where you will be dropped at a central location. Our English speaking guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel.
(Note – as with river cruises all over the world the itinerary is subject to change dependent on the season and water levels. Therefore the published itinerary should be taken as an indication only. The cruise can also be done in the reverse direction, from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh or as part of a longer journey from Siem Reap to Saigon or vice versa).