We started with a quiet morning, breakfast at our new find Paddy Rice (Irish Pub), picking up my laundry from a local business and then waiting for pick up at the Lance Court Hotel (No42-44, Street 136, Sangkat Phsar Kandal I, Khan Duan Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ph (+855) 23 22 99 61 ) to go on our half-day Silk Island Lunch Cruise and Tour departing the wharf.
For US$22 each we got an all-you-can-eat lunch prepared fresh on board in stainless steel kitchens…including drinks, as we cruised the mighty Mekong River. We also sailed through the Tonle Sap.
Our English speaking tour guide took us to visit Silk Farms to see silk production from larvae to finished products, a modern temple (pagoda) that is a working monastery, and stroll by plantations.
We were collected by tuk tuk at 11.40am and once on board we were given a special cocktail for free. After departure, at 12:10pm, lunch was made from fresh, local, organic food prepare and served directly from the boats stainless steel kitchens…….never on land hours before, and definitely not on a rusty charcoal grill. No food is frozen or foreign. No fish from the river is served, ever! Safety and hygiene are paramount……lunch was delicious…..fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce and salad, followed by BBQ chicken and pork with fried rice and kebabs! They also provided a full bar service to Western Standards…so Vince had a beers and I had a cocktail!
Cruising along the Phnom Penh riverfront we enjoyed the view from the upper deck passing the Royal Palace, we saw the junction of the Tonle Sap, Mekong, and Bassac rivers. Up the Mekong River we saw floating villages and fishing families living on their boats.
It took us about an hour to get to Silk Island and it was just a short ride (we were hoping for Ox cart but had to settle for a tuk tuk) to the silk farms. Along the way we took in the views of plantations and village life. We also passed through a modern pagoda which is also an active monastery. Our tour was very basic but we did get a good overview from silk worm to finished product….we had seen similar in Myanmar…so I guess some of the impact was lost.
On the 1 hour ride back to Phnom Penh we were served fresh fruit and we ordered some drinks. There were only 5 passengers…Ken (an Indian who lives in Chicargo), Manu (also Indian who lives in Laos) and Claudette (French Canadian living in Quebec)…..everyone was very friendly…it was like we were on a private boat.
The Cambo Cruise boat has 75 seats with a wooden Traditional Cambodian design with modern touches. With two commercial quality kitchens, men’s and women’s toilets, running water from fresh water tanks, and a water filtration system for clean, purified drinking water. Hygiene, safety, and guest satisfaction are their priority. We felt safe knowing that the boat is licensed, inspected, and has staff that are well trained in safety and first-aid procedures, with flotation devices, safety equipment, and fire extinguishers onboard.
We had a lovely, relaxing day. In the evening we walked to the Silver Pagoda and Royal Palace Gardens to see the sunset…..lots of people were out and about enjoying the evening. Walking back to our hotel we stopped in at the Pizza Company for dinner.