Tuesday, April 7, 2009

On the river

The laid-back style of Paneman, which spends half the year in Siem Reap and the rest in Phnom Penh
Taking it easy on the polished wooden floors of Paneman, a 27-metre long vessel that runs on biodiesel made from discarded cooking oil
Floating vessels were on the agenda yesterday when I ventured out into the roasting afternoon sun to visit some boats that ply their trade on the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers. It was an inspection visit on behalf of my company to see a range of different options for our clients. There are lots more to see - as any visit to the riverside in Phnom Penh will testify - but 4 boats in an hour and a half was enough for me as my shirt was drenched in sweat and I needed an ice-cold bottle of water to cool myself down. Most of the boats are foreign-owned, my personal preference is for the wooden-bodied boats and it was good to see that at least two of them were innovative enough to utilize solar-power, which is in plentiful supply in hot and humid Phnom Penh. The boats I visited were Paneman, Mystic, Satra and Regina. There were a stack of boats moored nearby including some of the biggest vessels that ply these waters, the Toum Teav and Pandaw.
The Mystic provides riverbound dining and a chance to unwind along the waterways in front of the capital
Inside the Mystic with its flat-screen tv and sound sytem and table-seating for evening dinner
The two decks of the wooden Satra which can be chartered for trips to Siem Reap and along the Mekong River
The galley and eating area of the Satra, which can accommodate a small group
The Regina is the bigger sister of the Satra with bunk-style bedrooms aboard and lots of space on top
Accommodation on Regina includes this bed as well as 3 other bunk-style bedrooms

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