After cruising by the remote farmlands of the mighty Mekong River, we arrived at the authentic village of Angkor Ban, where local guides showed us the real rural life in Cambodia, where tourists and vendors are rare. The Khmer community welcomed us with open arms into their beautiful stilted homes. Local monks then boarded Jahan and performed a Theravada Buddhist blessing ceremony, with our Cambodian crew in full participation.
An onboard introduction to Angkor civilizations by cultural specialist Patrick MacQuarrie was a nice prelude to our afternoon visit to our first ancient Angkor temple of our journey, Banteay Prei Nokor. Sitting 150 kilometers from the main temples of Siem Reap, we see how vast the Jayavarman VII temples were, and our first glimpse provides us a yearning for tomorrow’s explorations.
After a walk across Kampong Cham’s iconic bamboo bridge, we boarded Jahan for the last time, enjoying a sunset cruise and dance performance by our beloved crew.