Our Mekong expedition throughout Cambodia and Vietnam began properly yesterday afternoon as we boarded Jahan in the Kampong Cham province. This morning we pulled ashore at Angkor Ban, a small village which still features many traditional style houses. Narrow concrete roads and dirt paths run between stilt houses, hay sheds, and fruit trees. Peanuts are being harvested and tethered cattle munch away on stockfeed. We enter and exit Angkor Ban via the Buddhist monastery, whose monks join us afterwards to bless the ship and our voyage.

Whilst the ship cruises downstream, National Geographic Expert Chris Rainier talks about the many amazing cultures he’s studied around the world. After lunch we pull ashore at Prek Bang Kong where we visit a silk weaving cooperative and the traditional house of an architect who served the Cambodian royal family. We take tuk-tuks through backstreets and along the riverbanks, and while these neighborhoods are decidedly rural, the soaring skyline of Phnom Penh is visible in the distance.

After returning to Jahan, we cruise through the capital, past the meeting of the waters. We turn northwards to head upstream through silt-laden waters of the Tonle Sap River to continue our adventure tomorrow.