Kampong Chhnang and the Tonle Sap River

Jan 21, 2019 - The Jahan

Today was simply marvelous! We were up at sunrise for coffee and croissants as well as Tai Chi before departing the ship for a wonderful adventure. We crawled into ox-drawn carts lined up alongside the ship and began a fun and bouncy journey into the rice paddies. We meandered through green rice fields and passed ponds filled with lotus blossoms. The sun rose in a fiery red ball over the Tonle Sap River as we continued further into the fields. Near some of the lotus ponds we hopped off the carts and wandered with our guides. We learned about the rice harvest and got to sample some lotus seeds, which have a somewhat nutty flavor. Then back to the carts and on to a private school, where we met a couple hundred children who are studying English and were delighted to practice their language skills with us. This is a school Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic have supported for several years, and we were touched by the children's eagerness to learn, share, and have fun. We returned to the ship for a late breakfast and spent the remainder of the morning cruising the Tonle Sap River. We spotted some interesting birds and enjoyed the rural scenery and small fishing boats. The crew of the Jahan presented an entertaining and interactive fashion show of the Cambodian krama, sarong, and sampots. The morning was rounded off by a lecture from National Geographic ultural expert Paula Swart on the revival of cultural identity in Cambodia. 

The afternoon was also packed with activity, starting with an iPhone session to perfect our smart phone photography techniques. By midafternoon, we were on shore in Kampong Chhnang, where a set of vans drove us to the outskirts of town and we received a warm welcome by a family (and community) specializing in making utilitarian pottery. We watched a young woman make a pot by walking around and around her pot, forming it as she moved. We also had a chance to meet a very enthusiastic man who showed us how he harvests juice from palm flowers and processes the liquid into palm sugar and Cambodian "fire water." Upon our return to the river, we boarded small local boats and toured a floating Vietnamese settlement at sunset. We look forward to another wonderful day tomorrow in the capital city of Phnom Penh.

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About the Author

Emily Mount

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Emily grew up in Boulder, Colorado and Pullman, Washington. Her love of nature began as a child during family vacations spent hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and deserts of the west. In contrast to her outdoors interests, Emily pursued an intensive young career as a classical violinist, culminating in degrees in history and music performance at the University of Washington.

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