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DESTINATIONS CAMBODIA CRUISE


Indochine II, which was christened in Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in September (Tried & T


ested, page 65).


If the cruise could kick off with such a star attraction, what more lay in store along the river?


w SIEM REAP Starting off with a couple of hotel nights in Siem Reap – though the cruise can also be done in reverse – the pace is leisurely enough to take in Angkor Wat’s many beauty spots. That means there’s time to


appreciate the huge, smiling faces carved from stone at Bayon temple mountain, pause to admire the intricate reliefs of the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King without feeling jaded, and wander around Ta Prohm. This half-ruined temple has started to sink back into the jungle as trees have grown up through the structure, weaving gnarled roots and branches through its crumbling stones, which provided an atmospheric setting for the filming of Lara Croft: T


omb Raider. The itinerary also includes a Khmer


royal dancing show and time at the Angkor Night Market, though we switched those for a night of artistry


SAMPLE PRODUCT


CroisiEurope cruise From


Angkor Temples to the Mekong Delta, onboard Indochine II, starts at £2,263 based on a departure on


August 27 for an 11-night itinerary (including eight- night cruise) which covers all


excursions, meals, one soft drink or beer at each meal, and tips. Flights,


transfers and visa fees not included. croisieurope. co.uk


62 travelweekly.co.uk 11 January 2018


ABOVE: Tonle Sap River


LEFT: Dancers at Angkor Wat


I defy anyone not to sit open-mouthed at the dizzying acrobatic exploits of the circus’s young performers


and entertainment at Phare Circus. This social enterprise trains young performers in dizzying acrobatic feats – I defy anyone not to sit there open-mouthed at their extraordinary exploits – while also telling the story of Cambodia’s tragic history. Tickets for the nightly performances start at $18 and must be booked in advance.


w TONLE SAP While the Mekong often gets top billing, the ship actually sails along the Tonle Sap River until Phnom Penh, where it joins the Mekong for the Vietnamese sector of the cruise. Thanks to the prodigious rain, we were able to cross Tonle Sap Lake, but water levels vary hugely depending on the season – in times of flood, the river actually reverses direction, filling the lake up to cover 4,000 square miles, while drier months see it fall to barely 1,000 – so avoid March or April if clients are averse to the possibility of a bus transfer around the lake. Once cruising, though, the banks of


the Tonle Sap River offer greenery in abundance, a reminder that Cambodia is still an overwhelming rural, relatively poor population. An excursion took us past floating villages, where families crowd into the tiny wooden shacks topped with corrugated iron roofs that float at the river’s edge. There’s no sewerage or electricity save that from small petrol- powered generators, and single-engine boats sail to and fro carrying fishermen fresh from their daily catch. After mooring at the nearby port


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