The mighty Mekong River is indeed, in more ways than one, the lifeline that runs through the heart of southeast Asia. Rising from the Himalayan mountain of Tibet, it trickles and gradually winds its way through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam before spilling into the South China Sea. In its course, the mighty Mekong meets the Tonle Sap Lake which is the largest lake in South East Asia and effectively, the heartbeat of Cambodia. The annual pulsation of the flooding seasons has been a huge contribution to Cambodia’s existence for millenniums.
When in Cambodia, tourists are urged to explore these timeless waterways by taking a cruise up the mighty Mekong and discover the amazements at the center of the Tonle Sap Lake. There is a huge community living on the lake itself. This is definitely a gentle and wonderful way to experience local life that has remained unchanged for centuries. Tourists can stop off to have a cuppa at a floating café in the middle of the lake, watch the small communities along the riverbank, visit remote temples far from the beaten tourist paths and enjoy the river breeze.
Tourist boats of varying size and quality wait along the riverfront, usually between Street 144 and Street 130, and at the Passenger Port near Street 104. Just look for the cluster of boats and advertising placards. From about 4PM-5:30PM you can get a sunset cruise for $4-5$/person on a shared tour boat. If you want a private boat, or arrive anytime other than the sunset hours, boats run about for $10-$15/hour for a whole boat and offers a standard tour itinerary. Bring your friends and split the price. Prices go up for larger boats.
Boat cruising at night
In the evening, the riverside along Sisowath Quay offers many night cruises up and down the Mekong River, some with dinner included. These cruises can be quite a romantic experience and best of all, they’re usually very affordable.