Village walk in Koh Chen

 

Previous page: Oudong Buddhist temple complex

 

Today there is a revelation

Whilst we had been on our ox cart ride and visited the temple complex our boat had moved along the river. We got back on the boat at Prek Kdam. We were puzzled - how could we be at Prek Kdam now when we had left there several days ago. What was going on here? Had we come back to where we had started from? Or maybe there are two Prek Kdams that look identical?

We climb back down the dry rocky slopeHere we are back at Prek Kdam again

 

We checked with the staff on the boat and discovered that when we initially set off from Prek Kdam we weren't going in the down-river direction we thought we were travelling. All that time we had been going up river. You think we would have noticed. Perhaps we were a bit stupid in that regard. So, if it is dry season and you board the boat in Prek Kdam then you will be travelling kind of back to where you would have started from had you been able to board the boat in Siem Reap. Curious. We explained to situation to some of the other passengers and they also hadn't realized we weren't travelling down river at the start of the cruise.

Another revelation around this time was that we weren't actually travelling on the Mekong River at the beginning of the holiday. We would be on the Ton Le Sap River until we arrived in Phnom Penh.

Lunch onboard was divine as always. One of the salads we had today was exceptional. It had vermicelli noodles in it and had those lovely Cambodian flavours of fish sauce and chilli along with peanuts and grated mango plus much more. I could have eaten a whole plate of it by myself. Totally delicious.

Whilst we were eating lunch the boat moved along the river about 1 - 2 km.

 

 

Silversmiths workshopKoh Chen workshop where beautiful items were being made from metal

Koh Chen village

After lunch we climbed off the boat for a walking tour of Koh Chen village. The village was quite dusty and dry with narrow little "streets" to walk along.

First stop in the village was a silversmith's workshop and display room where their work could be purchased. The workers toiled away in limited conditions creating extraordinary works of art. Young children toddled around in the workshop as did dogs.

It was incredibly hot and with all the hammering going on I soon had a headache. We peeped into the shop where some of the cruise passengers were buying jewellery and nick knacks. There was a very large fan up on the wall but it didn't put out any cool air.

 

 

We visit the Koh Chen School

Busy classroom in Koh Chen villageClassroom at Koh Chen

 

We spent a while in a class room of seven year olds. These beautiful children sang their national anthem for us and also "If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.....".

Other passengers handed over pens, pencils and note books to the teacher. We wished we had been advised to do this. It would have given us great joy.

It was explained to us that the teachers at the school receive $200 USD per month as their salary. It makes no difference if you do a 4 hour or an 8 hour shift the pay is still the same.

From the school we wandered back through the village streets to the Adventurer boat. On the way we again came across the "Getaway" film crew. We seem to see them everywhere.

 

We arrive in Phnom Penh

After the village excursion the boat moved off again and before we knew it we were in Phnom Penh. The docking area must have been busy because we had to tie up in parallel with the Amalotus, another river boat that was bigger than ours. So, we have the Amalotus tied up next to the wharf and the Adventurer slap bang alongside of the Amalotus. There was no way you could have your cabin curtains open because you were so close to the cabins in the Amalotus - so close you could touch the railings on the other boat. Interesting.

After dinner we thought we'd hop off the boat and go for a walk. Other cruise passengers had warned us it was a seedy part of Phnom Penh and we should exercise caution if we went walking. To get onto land we had to climb off our boat, climb in through the neighbouring boat and then climb out the other side onto the wharf. We soon discovered we were way below ground level. We exited the Amalotus and had a fairly long walk underneath the wharf to arrive at some steps to climb up to the ground level of the wharf. There were no lights under the wharf and in some sections of the walkway there were no barriers to stop you falling into the drink. The only lighting came from the Scenic Spirit another big boat tied up to the wharf. It was interesting to peer into the boat to compare it to ours. It did look rather grand.

Tied up to the wharf at Phnom PenhTwo river boats tied up side by side. Our is the smaller 'Adventurer". You can see how low the water level was.

 

Just before we got to climb up the steps under the wharf I tripped up. Luckily I had my camera strapped to my wrist or I would have lost it. I put my hand out to save myself. In doing so I gave my hand an awful whack. It's times like this you appreciate the OH&S rules we have here in Australia.

It certainly was a seedy area. We only went for a short walk and were happy to head back to our boat traipsing back along underneath the wharf and back through the Amalotus to get to the Adventurer.

 

 

Next page: The King's Palace and the National Museum

 

 

Our trip in the order it happened: