Sightseeing from Phnom Penh || Boat Trip from Phnom Penh ||
As I have mentioned in my previous posts, Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia, so do expect people, loads and loads of them, free running of hubbubs, traffic, but that’s part of being a capital city, so let’s take it as a statement. But even in your short stay in the city as a tourist, you still want to see a different side of the city, maybe an other side of the city! Well.. not exactly of the city, but there is surely another side a little distance away from Phnom Penh.
Silk Island or locally known as Koh Dach Island is a distinct village island about 40 minutes boat trip away from the main city. The cruise along the river is quite comforting, the newly extended wealthy city of Phnom Penh at the opposite side of the river, a small floating village of fishermen living their life on the floating boats, small deltas before reaching the island… I had visited another village island in Siem Reap and that was quite a profound experience. But this particular island looked a lot more updated and propitiating. A small well-swept simple leafy island, and it’s whispering serenity all around. The local people are hard-working and so family-oriented. Most of the houses are of traditional Khmer style, simple, mostly old-fashioned but so humble abode they are. And the people especially the women are so beautiful, friendly and so gracious.
The main attraction of this island is of course Silk making. The village concentrates more on local handicrafts; there are local silk factories where one can see the process of farming silkworms, then extracting raw silk from the worms, and then getting the useable silk threads. These threads are then distributed to the local villagers who have weaving machines in their houses, these silk, semi silk items are not exported in the International market, hence if you want to buy Cambodian silk, you have to come here to buy the material. Almost all the houses have weaving machines and the house ladies are the people who handle this job the best.
Seeing the silk-making process is one part of the island, then there’s more here. A simple walk in the village, seeing the local houses, knowing their customs, family tradition, culture, their local temples were a different ebullience for me. I was more interested in their daily lives, culture, rituals, and their simple beautiful houses. At one point I even wanted to see their every room, their furniture but surely I had to stow my intruding inquest! However, The walk across the village keeping the river at one side or maybe a thin line of greenery at times with hardly any noise from the neighbourhood, apart from the dogs who always recognise me as a trespasser, was years of peace gained in few moments.
There are local schools to see, the guide briefs with the teaching process of the village schools, most of the village schools in Cambodia have full-time and part-time enrolling options for the student to somehow get their interest into education.
Then there’s a monastery, where many underprivileged families let their boys admitted here as monks to complete their education. The monasteries are once again immaculate and so pure. The tour overall was so different and it seemed that I was living in this solitude for so long and it was good.. so very good.
Duration of the trip: It’s a half-day trip for about 3 hours, mainly recommended for afternoon till sunset, as you have to walk a bit around the village late afternoon is the best time for it.
How to Go: As most of the tourists opt for this excursion, there are small cruises which leave from the river area, your accommodation or tour operator can help you with this. It’s quite a pleasant journey, about 40 minutes by boat one way. (The tour may cost about 20-25 USD per person)
Or if you want to be on your own, you may take a tuk-tuk to the Japanese bridge, from there you may take the local boat crossing through the Silk island, the boat ticket costs about 5.00 USD per person, and the tuk-tuk ride may cost 15-20 USD (you have to negotiate a bit)
The all I could pen down on Silk Island for now.. Hope you keep this tour in your itinerary when you plan your visit there..