Cambodia: Phnom Penh and Beyond

Jan 30, 2019 - The Jahan

In the streets of Cambodia’s largest city, guests were out early with photographic instructor Max Seigal and naturalist Martin Cohen. Max taught guests how to leverage morning light for sharper, more immersive imagery. Afterward, Martin took us to a camp of Lyle’s flying foxes—similar in appearance to that of bats—that hung from a tree in a protected compound close to the ship.

We boarded Jahan and entered the Tonle Sap River, taking us into rural Cambodia. As the river narrowed, our ship came close to fishing boats and rice paddy farmers in the area. In the lounge, our guest from Phnom Penh, Dr. Jean Michel Filippi, gave an enthralling talk about the history and politics of the country. Then it was back outside to watch for birds and appreciate the day-to-day on the Tonle Sap River.

After lunch, we went for a voyage by longboat and van to reach the small central-province community of Kampong Chhnang. Here we met with local families and were shown how the clay pots that have been part of Cambodian culture now for centuries were made. We also met a certain Mister Rei who demonstrated to us how he makes his living out of sugar palms, a process that includes having to scale up the tallest palms of the area. Needless to say that the list of guest volunteers was lacking.

This wonderful day exploring and learning rural life in Cambodia was completed with a charming sunset cruise along the Tonle Sap River, past the Vietnamese floating villages.

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About the Author

Martin Cohen


Martin grew up in Melbourne playing cricket and Australian Rules football. While growing up, and to his parents’ dismay, Martin brought home and kept a menagerie of wildlife including frogs, lizards, turtles, and even poisonous snakes!

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