Kampong Tralach & Kampong Chhnang

Feb 19, 2019 - The Jahan

With an early start to beat the heat, we climbed up the banks of the Tonle Sap River at Kampong Tralach to experience a timeless form of local transport: the traditional Khmer oxcart. Making use of a design which has changed little in a thousand years, oxcarts are the backbone of the local transport network in the less-developed parts of Cambodia. While lacking in modern creature comforts, this simple design is truly a sustainable means of transportation, effectively running on grass. As we wind our way through the rice fields the sun rises over Kampong Tralach. After learning about rice and lotus agriculture we head to the primary school which offers free English classes to the local community. This is a program Lindblad/National Geographic sponsors and holds a great deal of pride in.

The afternoon takes us further upstream into Kampong Chhnang province. Along the way, Jahan enters a narrow side channel of the river, allowing the adjoining river villages to be seen at a much closer vantage. Children call and wave from the shade of the banks. Fisherman haul in their nets. Herons and egrets coast alongside us, while kingfishers dart across the channel from tree to tree. Eventually we reach the provincial capital and go ashore to visit Andong Russei, the potting village. Heirs to a tradition which dates back centuries, the women of Andong Russei make earthenware cooking pots using anvils and special paddles.

Back aboard Jahan, we head back downstream, retracing our steps to take in another beautiful sunset from the upper deck. Tomorrow we’ll relax aboard the ship as we head south to Vietnam and the Mekong Delta.

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About the Author

David Brotherson

Cultural Specialist

David’s career in archaeology began in 2005. While his interests initially focused on the ancient languages and cultures of the Mediterranean, he eventually shifted to Southeast Asia. David has been conducting research in Cambodia since 2009 and moved there permanently in 2011. He is a member of the Greater Angkor Project, an archaeology research program and international collaboration between the University of Sydney, Cambodia, and France, and has conducted fieldwork and excavations at numerous sites across Angkor. His research interests include ceramics studies, archaeological survey, and the history of Cambodian art and architecture.

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