Another early start to the day began with breakfast and a tender ride to Sa Dec. Sa Dec is a small river port and an agricultural trading center. We walked through the market which was filled with a variety of fresh vegetables and numerous types of fish. The fish were still swimming and very much alive. We then walked to a house known as The Lover’s House.
On our arrival into Vietnam we were met by individual rickshaws in the village of Tan Chau. Rickshaws are two wheeled vehicles pulled by an rickshaw driver pedaling an attached bicycle. We each had individual rickshaws and our rickshaw drivers took us through the village where we could get a glimpse of the local life. Tan Chau is well known for its silk production and particularly for its high quality black silk. We stopped at a traditional silk factory and got to see how they weave the silk.
After so many days traveling we were able to relax and enjoy the AMA Lotus as we sailed down the Mekong River en route to Vietnam. The AMA Lotus carries about 124 guests with a total of 62 staterooms. We had the opportunity to upgrade from a standard cabin to a junior suite. While the standard cabins (226 square feet) are quite nice, the junior suites (290 square feet) are much roomier.
We arrived in Phnom Penh in the early afternoon and took a short walking tour through a local market and continued on to the Wat Phnom Temple. Some of us headed back early as the temperatures reached in the high nineties – it felt at least a hundred degrees! Time to cool off a little in the pool on board the ship as we had the entire next day in the countries capital. Continue reading
Our tour started this morning as we boarded Tuk-Tuks to visit a silk weaving village. A tuk-tuk is basically a four wheeled carriage that is pulled by a small motorcycle. It holds up to four people and is a great way to get around. Ouknhatey Village is located on a small island in the middle of the river and is made up of about 200 families.
We travel to learn about other customs and cultures, so that we come back changed by the places we have seen and the people we have met. But to truly understand another country, we have to be willing to share not just that country’s joyous past, but also the tragedies that have changed lives and changed history. Cambodia is such a place, and this is such a story.
Our day started early as we visited Holy Mountain and Wat Notor Temple. The day we visited happened to be a national holiday and the temple and the surrounding complex was filled with people offering rice and other food to the Buddhist monks. By offering food they believe that they are feeding the souls of their departed relatives which in turn provides them with good karma. In addition to the temple there are many statues of Buddha in a variety of positions including the sleeping Buddha. The complex was very near one of the 388 killing fields found in Cambodia after the end of the Pol Pot regime. A Stupa was erected there memorializing the souls of those found in that killing field.
The 3:45 wake-up call came early but we were ready. We boarded our bus at 4:45AM and headed out to Angkor Wat armed with flashlights and cameras. Everyone crowded around the lake eagerly anticipating the dawn of the day as the sun rose over Angkor Wat. We were not disappointed. Also, the date was September 21, 2014 which also happened to be the autumn solstice. As the sun ascended it was perfectly centered behind Angkor Wat creating a spectacular sunrise.