Our day aboard the Jahan started at dawn with a morning photography excursion around the city of Phnom Penh. We visited Wat Ounalom and discovered large fruit bats, or “flying foxes,” near Wat Phnom. Guests returned to the ship for Tai Chi and breakfast before we pulled anchor and crossed the confluence of the “four rivers” of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong.
A special guest, Jean Michel Fillippi, gave a spirited lecture on modern Cambodian history before, during, and after the Khmer Rouge, and during the Vietnam War. Guests peppered the professor with questions, extending this most popular talk right up until lunchtime.
After lunch, while the Jahan was clearing customs and immigration for Cambodia and Vietnam, David Brotherson, culture specialist, gave a highly informative lecture on the historical and cultural differences between Cambodia and Vietnam.
As the Jahan approached the Tan Chau Canal, tea and a cooking class were offered to guests. The Jahan entered the Tan Chau Canal, linking the Mekong and Bassac Rivers. Transiting the Tan Chau Canal offers a fascinating look into the Vietnam Delta. The canal is teeming with fish and rice processing factories. Boats of all sizes carry rice, husks, fish, sediment, and people. It is a drastic change in tempo from the quiet Cambodian countryside to a bustling, complex array of living and highly functional waterways. At sunset, the Jahan reached its destination for the evening. We docked at Chau Doc, and guests dined and enjoyed a screening of “Good Morning Vietnam.”