Day 7 Friday 27 December. Phnom Penh, Chong Koh

After breakfast this morning, the three of us caught a Tuk Tuk back to the Central Market for more shopping!  We strolled around the market and bought lots of bits and pieces, thoroughly enjoying ourselves., However, we are hopeless at haggling over prices because we feel sorry for the vendors and know how hard they work to earn every dollar, so we give in too easily – but we are having so much fun!!

We caught another Tuk Tuk back to the ship – it takes about 10 minutes and cost $USD3.00.

The three of us had morning tea up on the Sun Deck, enjoying the breeze off the river, chatting and laughing about our experiences so far.

At midday we raised anchor and cruised to the traditional silk weaving village Chong Koh, which is on an island and has 417 families.  Richard and I went on the shore excursion while Eenie opted to have a massage.  We were taken for a gentle stroll through the streets of Chong Koh, a little-known silk-weaving village. The villagers also farm sub tropic crops, fruit trees and manufacture mosquito nets, silk sarongs, silk purses and Kroma (silk scarves).

Our first stop was the local school where they have Primary (age 6 – 11 year olds), Secondary (age 12 – 14 year olds) and High School (age 15 – 17 year olds). The children go to school in either of two sessions – morning session is from 7.00am to 11.00am and the afternoon session is from 1.00pm to 5.00pm.  Each month they switch from morning to afternoon session and from afternoon to morning session.  We were invited to visit a year two classroom of 24 children.  The children stood up when we entered the classroom and said “Welcome to our Classroom” and stood standing until we said “Thank you – please sit down” and then they said “Thank you” and sat down.  The teacher is a 22 year old girl who has been teaching for 1 year.  Lovy, our guide, asked one of the children to come out and go through some words they were learning on the blackboard and then they sang us a song, “Happy Families”. They were so gorgeous!  Some of our tour group had colouring pencils or books and gave them to the children who were very grateful and had big smiles on their faces.

We were then taken to a family house where the mother and daughter were using the traditional method of silk weaving to make scarves to sell to the tourists and they also sell them to the Central Market in Phnom Penh.  They told us via our Tour Guide that they can make 2 scarves per day.  We were invited to look inside her home, on stilts – two bedrooms upstairs with the looms underneath as well as their very sparse kitchen behind the looms. They made us feel very welcome and then we were able to purchase some of the scarves etc that they had made.

We went for a walk through the village to the river and then walked along the river back to the ship, all the while being followed from the time we left the ship, by a group of girls with scarves that they were trying to sell to us.  The children were happy to speak to us in their basic English and were eager to know where we came from, how long we were staying in Cambodia and what our names are.  We noticed a number on one of the houses and when we asked Lowy what it is, he told us that it is their mobile telephone number because a few of the less poor families have a mobile but none of them are able to input each others’ names and mobile numbers into the phones and the number on the house was so that people with mobiles could ring them!!

When we arrived back at the ship, there were many little stalls set up on blankets on the ground with lots of colourful scarves for sale – we wished that we were able to support each of the families as they all work so hard and it is a tough life for them.

We went to our usual briefing in the lounge about tomorrow’s activities and then headed down to dinner after a lovely day in Cambodia.

2 Responses to “Day 7 Friday 27 December. Phnom Penh, Chong Koh”

  1. Janet says:

    Sounds like you’re having a great time. Can’t wait to be able to look at the photos when we have better internet. Give our love to Eenie xoxo

  2. Maria Hughes says:

    Just had a chance to catch up looking at your photos – all brilliant – great to see you guys are having a brilliant time, love all of us in Melbourne xoxoxo

Leave a Reply