Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and a bustling city compared to our last few days exploring the Mekong. We started our day focusing on the city center and then transitioned to the past and the Khmer Rouge. This is a city with a terrible past and hopefully a brighter future.
On our final full day on board the riverboat Jahan , we cruised further south on the Mekong where we could see changes in the number of other boats as general river traffic increased. The river here was also tidal and we could see mangroves start to appear in places along the banks. After breakfast we embarked onto local longboats for our transfer to the nearby island of Binh Thanh. One of many islands within the Mekong Delta which is criss-crossed by many canals and rivers. Along the way to the island we passed many small fish farms that are directly within the river, these rafts of floating houses with arrayed ponds raise tilapia and basa (a type of catfish). All along the narrow waterways, we also passed large floating mats of water hyacinth forming dense impenetrable barriers in places. On arrival at our dock our longboat paused to make way for the local ferry transporting a number of locals on motorcycles across to the mainland for their early morning commute to work. Our visit to this small community involved a stroll through the streets to a local temple that also serves as a local community centre. We had the opportunity to meet with one of the elders and understand how Vietnam has grown in recent decades and how they embrace peace and welcome American tourism to their country. We also had the opportunity to see how woven mats were weaved and how dried water hyacinth can be used to weave baskets. In the afternoon we visited another village via longboat to see how puffed rice, sugar palm treats, and rice wine were created. In the evening on board Jahan , over a farewell cocktail party we shared our appreciation to the wonderful crew and later enjoyed the voyage slideshow in the lounge.