This month, I had an amazing opportunity to take a  familiarization Mekong River cruise on Avalon Waterway’s new ship, Avalon Siem Reap. Our journey through Vietnam and Cambodia took us deep into the heart of this exotic destination, and we met many warm and gentle people along the way.  It’s not easy putting this experience into words, so I thought I’d share some photos (and a little video) to give you a taste. Enjoy!

Along the Mekong River: Here are just a few of my once-in-a-lifetime adventure experiences

Our first unusual mode of transport: oxcarts! Same as used in biblical times. ( Later we also rode in rikshaws and tuk-tuks.)

Traveling by oxart - Mekong River Cruise with Avalon Waterways

Traveling by oxcart

The slow pace of the oxcart ride gave my sister Patrisha and me time to take in the rural countryside and rice fields. The only real drawback was the dust from dirt roads and the oxen behind us threatening to lick our toes!

A view of the Cambodian countryside from the oxcart during Mekong River cruise

A view of the Cambodian countryside from the oxcart

Here’s a typical street scene with local traffic – we were amazed to see families of 3 to 5 all on one motor scooter!

Typical Cambodian street scene during Avalon Siem Reap Mekong River Cruise

Typical Cambodian street scene

We met many charming people during our walking excursions in small Cambodian villages. Here in Prek Bang Kong, these spirited teenagers were master saleswomen, each inviting us to visit her “shop” a few steps away…on a blanket at the side of the road! I bought 5 scarves from 5 different girls. They were irresistible: the girls AND the 5 scarves for $20 – what a bargain!

Cambodian Women selling scarves along the road - Mekong River Cruise

Cambodian Women selling scarves along the road

In Kampong Tralach, we visited a rural farmer and his wife who, by local standards, live well and simply in their 1-room home. The house is built on stilts to provide protection from the wet season’s monsoons which last from May to October and bring most of Cambodia’s annual rainfall. The “ground floor”  in the shade under the house is where they cook, play, study, nap and shelter their animals – 2 oxen makes them comparatively well-to-do.

A visit to the simple home of a farmer and his family was a special treat during Mekong River Cruise

A visit to the simple home of a farmer and his family was a special treat!

The children and grandchildren here are all the offspring of one couple. Their father said he is confident he can educate them all!

These Cambodian kids were so cute - and happy to meet some Westerners!

These Cambodian kids were so cute – and happy to meet some Westerners!

And what would a visit to Southeast Asia be without a rikshaw ride? Note the “elephant pants” I’m wearing – all the rage and a big shopping item in Cambodia!

Ready for my rikshaw ride! Mekong River Cruise with Avalon Siem Reap

Ready for my rikshaw ride!

Want to know what it looks like from inside a rikshaw in Cambodia? Please join me for a short ride in the capital city of Phnom Pehn.

As we returned to the 18-room Avalon Siem Reap (launched in 2015), crew members cleaned our shoes, dusty from the embankments and roads. The dedicated crew then delivered the shoes back to our rooms before we even had time to finish a cold beer in the attractive open-air lounge, pictured here. Notice each stateroom has a wall of windows (visible on the lower deck in this shot).

Returning to Avalon Siem Reap - Mekong River Cruise

Returning to Avalon Siem Reap

Ready for your own Mekong River Cruise Adventure?

A private charter of Avalon Siem Reap is an excellent adventure opportunity for small, well-traveled groups. Avalon’s Mekong River cruise is an intimate, in-depth destination experience for a maximum of 36 guests – guaranteed to be a group event they will never forget!

Hope you enjoyed your “Taste of Cambodia”! Give me a call at 305-661-1880 if you’d like to learn more about this incredible life experience.

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