Friday, August 22

The Mekong Unexplored - Cambodia 2

The third section of the Mekong Unexplored journey on the RV Angkor Pandaw was all new territory for me.
After leaving Angkor Ban (see previous video) we cruised upstream and anchored on the river bank near Chhloung, a town between Kampong Cham and Kratie.
Enjoyed a pleasant early morning walk of a couple of kilometres to the main township which was notable for some of the old buildings in particular the Chinese shophouses. Some were in good condition, others just about falling down.
This area has a fair sized population of Moslems and we saw quite a number of women wearing headscarves.
We then continued upstream to Kratie. This was as far upstream as our boat was able to sail next day we travelled by minibus to a World Wildlife Fund protected area where (if you're lucky) you can see the rare Mekong River dolphins. These are a sub-species of the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins and there are fewer than 100 of them left. Small boats with four to six people aboard took about an hour to reach the dolphin area and then we sat and waited. It took a while but in the end the dolphins put in an appearance. Awesome!
In the afternoon we went by minibus to Phnom Sambok where a number of wats, pagodas, monasteries and a whole lot of statues of monks sit on a hill surrounded by trees and with a great view over the Mekong. Very pleasant excursion.
We then cruised back down the Mekong towards Kampong Cham. There was a fantastic electrical storm as we sailed along. Went on for ages with sheet lightning as well as bolts. Most impressive.