The River

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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One of the highlights of my whole trip was the journey down Tonle Sap and the Mekong on the fast passenger ferry.  A lot of the photos here were taken from the roof.

The day started earlier than it needed to so that the taxi could take us to a cafe and we could spend more money, and then we arrived at the ferry terminal, whihc is a short distance out of Siem Reap.  Then some men took our bags, whether we liked it or not, and charged us a dollar to carry them.  Sigh.  I know this is sounding negative - the truth was, it was too early to take these things in my stride.  The good thing was that we got talking to andy, Ollie and Katie, who then travelled with us for a while - major bonus!  :) 

The boat itself was not too much fun at first.

  You couldn't really see out the windows and everything was soggy.  Helpfully, the guidebook told us that the boat did not meet western standards, and it probably didn't.  Bored and probably not safe is a bad mix.  Luckily, as I tried to get some sleep, Iain and Ollie realised that the boat was gradually emptying out.  As we were in the middle of Tonle Sap, this was unlikely to mean that we were loosing passengers.  It turned out that most people had realised it was more comfortable on the roof.

From the roof, we could see the banks of the lake, and then eventually, the river.  We could talk more easily and take photos, and wave at children on passing boats.

Gradually, as we got closer to the capital, there were subtle changes in the things that we saw. The boats became progressively more decroated, the houses less rickety looking, and there was evidence that people were decorating homes as well as temples.
There were haystacks and larger cargo vessels.  not huge - not yet - but definately larger than the two man fishing vessels further north.  I can only guess - and am happy to be corrected - that because Phnom Penh has had peace for longer (and is the capital) people are a little more able to trade and to make a living. 

By the time we got into the city, I was having a lovely time on the boat.  I was still relieved to see Phnom Penh come into view, because by this point the rain was starting again.  Getting off the boat was pure chaos, with enthusiastic tuktuk drivers barging onto the boat to offer people lifts.  We had to send the driver that the hotel arranged for us away, because he wouldn't take us to Lakeside.  But we arranged with another driver to take us there.  By this time, it was torrential, and we went straight to Number Nine guest house and sorted out a room. 



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photo by: terminalfunk