Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Chau Doc & Bassac River

    As the sun crested the horizon and illuminated the Bassac River, we prepared for an amazing day within the Mekong Delta. We boarded local covered longboats that took us to a nearby floating market. Dozens of merchants converged in the middle of the river to sell fruits, vegetables and flowers. Our longboat drivers navigated the environment so we could get a close view of the produce and process. After exploring the floating market, it was time to dock the longboats for another memorable experience, this time on land. Read More

  • Mekong & Border Crossing

    As morning light crept into the sky Phnom Penh slowly wakes up. Our landing party of exercisers and photo enthusiasts assembles in the lounge for a morning walk, eager to see another side to the Cambodian capital. Working our way through the city streets we encounter locals and visitors alike, some out for morning exercise, some still out from last night before. Street vendors and market stalls are setting up for another day’s business. Once we get back to the ship, we head downstream passing Phnom Penh one last time on our way to Vietnam. With a full day aboard the ship we can sit back and watch the world go by.The morning’s program begins with an entertaining presentation on a very complicated subject. Read More

  • Paris of the East - Phnom Penh

    Not all days are created equal and this day was going to be different from all others thus far. Our expedition leader Larry Prussin had filled every minute of the day with activities. We awoke to find the Jahan still tied up to the wharf at Phnom Penh. Read More

  • Kampong Tralach - Tonle Sap River - Kampong Chhnang

    What a day! We awoke early to perfect weather on the Mekong River and a beautiful sunrise. We started with a quick breakfast. Some chose to start with Tai Chi on the deck and others chose to simply take in the beauty of the Mekong in the morning. Not long after starting our day on the Jahan, we were off on an adventure with a difference: We were all assigned our very own ox cart, with two oxen to pull and one farmer “at the wheel.” We travelled through the rice fields of Kampong Tralach and were truly immersed in this beautiful country side. We were able to visit the Green School, where children are educated mostly by local volunteers, empowering the students with the skill of speaking English, free of charge. Upon our return, we were met with a splendid breakfast, quickly followed by a fashion show featuring the traditional dress of the local people. Read More

  • Angkor Ban and Koh Oaknha Tey, Cambodia

    Our first full day aboard Jahan began cruising through the cool morning air and our debut Tai Chi class on the upper deck. The sky was alive with birds feasting on insects, and the sound of distant loudspeakers echoing across the river. Our morning excursion took us to Angkor Ban, a typical Cambodian village virtually untouched by tourism with some houses almost 100 years old. With just one sealed road through the town, Angkor Ban features meandering laneways and dirt paths squeezed between an array of stilt houses, barnyards and livestock. Brahmin cattle are the breed of choice in Cambodia, and are used primarily as beasts of burden around the nearby farms. We also see a family organizing for a wedding as they prepare food and a pavillon tent for the upcoming ceremonies. Afterwards we pass the local market, with fresh fish and produce for sale, and we head back to the ship. Later, certified instructor Eric Kruszewski gives us an introduction to photography. Following on from lunch, cultural specialist David Brotherson talks about Cambodian religions, past and present. Read More

  • Binh Tanh & Cai Be, Vietnam

    Another hazy start to the day on the Mekong and we are welcomed by a cool breeze as the sun rose peeking through the morning clouds. Our last full day aboard Jahan saw us approaching Binh Tanh Island whilst we did Tai Chi. The local community of Binh Tanh are skillful rattan mat weavers, a craft which is typically practiced by the women. As the local boats take us into the island we pass down a narrow channel with the now-familiar sites of floating houses and fish farms as well as a small ferry crossing where we disembark to explore the village. Next we visit the community hall which also serves as a local village shrine and is where agricultural and ancestral spirits are worshipped. Here we sit and chat with two village elders who talk about their life experiences and help us understand what life was like living through war and social upheaval. The afternoon takes us to a vastly different setting as we cruise into the small city of Cai Be. Read More

  • Chau Doc, Vietnam

    It was an early morning for our first full day in Vietnam. Coffee and snacks awaited us at the bar before we boarded our local longboats to explore the area. We drifted through a floating market at sunrise, where locals were buying and selling goods between boats. Sellers were laden with massive quantities of fresh fruit, including mangoes, pineapples, watermelons and more, all advertised by hanging a bundle of fruit from a bamboo pole at the front of their boat. Buyers loaded the fruit onto smaller boats while women paddled about selling breakfast noodles. Next we headed to a fish farm, where our locals guides filled us in about the important fish farm industry. Upwards of 100,000 fish might live in a net pen beneath people's floating houses! After the fish farm we continued on to Chau Doc. Here we hopped into trishaws, a local form of transportation where a bicycle pulls a small cart, and passengers sit in the cart. We got a terrific tour of the town, including weaving around traffic and seeing street life in full swing. After our ride we wandered through a busy market filled with strange sights and smells before returning to the Jahan.Breakfast followed our morning excursion and we cruised down the delta towards My An Hung. Read More

  • Into Vietnam

    For those keen on an early start, we commenced the day with an early morning walk with the expedition staff. Emily showed us how to take photos of the traffic and sunrise from the esplanade, before taking us through the markets and finishing at a lone large tree full of Lyle’s flying-foxes. I told everyone about these magnificent bats and the vital role they play in our environment. Back onboard for breakfast, we cast off at 8:30 a. Read More

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    This morning we enjoyed a wee sleep in and arose at the civilized hour of 7:00 a.m. With the light early morning mist keeping the air cool and moist, Jahan made its approach to Phnom Penh and manoeuvred to the dock. Once again the kitchen staff had prepared us another fantastic breakfast which left us in good stead for the day. After climbing up the ramp to street level we encountered our day’s first novelty – a “cyclo” ride. A traditional mode of transport in French Indochina, the cyclo is essentially an articulated tricycle with the single wheel at the back. The elevated driver peddles at the back and gives the passenger an unobstructed view from the front. As our convoy meandered through the bustling streets we eventually arrived at the Royal Palace.  This beautiful complex of pavilions and gardens is a testament to modern Cambodian architecture and, furthermore, hints at the wealth of the empire in times past. Next we head over to the National Museum where we are treated to the highlights of over 1000 years of Khmer sculpture. For lunch we dined in style at Topaz, a French-style restaurant in the heart of the city. Read More

  • Kampong Tralach & Kampang Chhnang

    What a terrific day today! As the sun warmed the eastern skies we toasted the day with coffee and croissants. By 6:30 a.m. we were climbing up the Tonle Sap riverbank to a row of oxcarts waiting on a dusty road. Everyone climbed in and we were off, traveling down the rutted road as the sun rose in glorious colors. After ten minutes or so we stopped for a break in a rice field, where our guides talked about rice growing and harvest. We also trekked out to a lotus field where we picked a lotus pod and tasted the seeds (nutty and delicious). On the way back to our carts we found a frog, agamid lizard, and photogenic spiders. Once back onboard our carts we headed into town to visit a small school. A highly motivated young teacher has created an English language program for almost 300 students. We arrived for the flag-raising ceremony and national anthem followed by a visit to the classrooms. Here the kids treated us to English and Khmer songs and everyone practiced their English together. We returned to the ship by motobike-drawn-carts for a well-earned breakfast. The remainder of the morning was spent enjoying a fashion show put on the crew, featuring traditional Khmer garb. Read More

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Robert MacNeil,
Journalist

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