• Siem Reap: 092 957 765 | Phnom Penh: 012 921 830

Welcome to Tara River Boat lake and river tours in Cambodia

The Tara Riverboat started life as a cargo vessel way back in 1927,and used to ply its trade from Vietnam into Cambodia up and down the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers, But over the years she has had a few changers, Way back in 2004,i like many tourist come to Cambodia primarily to see the awesome temples of Angkor Wat, they are truly amazing, I learnt that the huge limestone blocks that make up the temples where cut out of the sacred Mountain of Phnom Kulen and floated down on large rafts, so I visited the Tonle Sap lake, fishing villages and the flooded forest and was blown away with how the local villages have adapted to the constant changing water levels of this great lake, with the locals building floating homes and homes on stilts some 10 mts high, the fishing villages are something I had never seen before, the locals where smiling and the children happy,
As we approached the entry to the Tonle Sap lake from the river about 300 meters away I spied a very old abandoned and half sank riverboat, my memoirs of when I was growing up come flooding back to me, I was born and raised near a huge swamp/lake on the Central Coast, N.S.W Australia, and as a young boy I spent most weekends and after school hours building rafts and boats,so to me the floating villages seemed like it was as a child growing up, this was truly a place that time had forgotten, I got chatting to a small group of men from the floating villages and they where complaining of the lack of jobs available in Siem Reap and especially the floating villages, I than decided to try and re-float the old riverboat and restore her (tara boat) I also found out she was built in 1927,making her in 2004 (77 years old),
Primarily I wanted to restore the boat and create a floating training workshop, to teach the younger men and ladies about boat building, Carpentry. Metal working, Welding, Fiber-glassing, ferro-cementing ,engine rebuilds,repairs and the like,
But first we had to re float her, this was not going to be an easy task, she is 120ft long and is 24ft wide, she is also 4 decks high and weights in at over 350 tons, she was also stuck in the mud on a 45 degree angle, the local villages (boat builders and older villages just used to smile at me and shake there heads),thinking I was crazy, but some 15 locals(from the floating villages) both girls and guys where employed to re float and restore her, some 16 weeks later the old girl (tara Boat) was completely restored.
I was also impressed with the locals (can do attitude) and there willingness to learn new skills, The new look Tara Riverboat looked awesome, so I decided to also convert her into a restaurant and bar, and create tours using her as a place for lunches and dinners, (we than built a floating workshop)
My aim was to employ as many local villages as possible in a sustainable environment whilst learning new skills and having a fun place to work.
Over the years we have restored many boats in Cambodia and have given them a new lease on life, some of these vessels where ex sand dredges, some where ex Navy patrol boats and one also used to belong to the Royal Family,whilst also creating more jobs for the locals, we now have 8 boats in a lot of the floating villages and also Phnom Penh, (we also now employ 35 staff) all the boats are staffed by locals and many of the staff also live on the boats, all our staff are multi-skilled and apart from there primary job (task) they are also involved in learning new skills.
We are also very proud of the fact that the staff see a great future in working and learning with the Tara Boat company, some have been with me from the very start. 18 years now, our tara apprentice program, gives villages the opportunity to develop skills in all types of boat building and repairs, we are also constantly looking for more old disused riverboats to restore and put into service, thus creating more sustainable local jobs and training opportunities.                                                                     

We offer a range of half . full and multi day tours in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to choose from to explore the lakes, rivers, islands and floating villages to suit all needs starting from $26. Whether you choose to visit the floating villages , the quieter Kompong Phluk Village and flooded forest, the little visited Kompong Khleang Village or the famous bird watching area of Prek Toal Biosphere Center you can be sure that the Tara Boat Company will offer you a memorable trip to these special places and look after you to ensure optimum enjoyment. We also have Home stays in most floating villages and flooded forest to select from, so simply we offer the best solutions to cater for all tastes and desires. Our Guides are the very friendly and look forward to meeting you soon. 

All our tours are the price advertised with no additional hidden costs or fees and include: - pick up and return from hotel/guesthouse in Air Conditioned Company Mini Vans - all transfers - fully experienced local English Speaking, Professional Tara guide, safety conscious Tara drivers on our mini Tara boats - all check point fees - meals and drinks.  Please come to join us for one of our many different tours in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh . (private tours are also available and inquiries welcome) (we also now have nice homestay places to stay in the floating villages)

 

Why Use Tara Tours?


There are many reasons we feel we are unique in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh some of the reasons are listed below, however the main vision we have is to promote training, safety and best practice at all times, we inspire to think outside the box, we inspire our team to excel at everything they do, we feel this way will ensure a better life for all.

 Please Note: We care for our guests safety and well being, and have increased our efforts of cleanliness mainly due to Covid 19 

All common areas are cleaned more often and hand sterilizer are available , All our boats are open air (not boxed in)  so plenty of natural  fresh air at all times.  All our staff have been vaccinated fully.

1. Tara riverboat company owns all our own boats and equipment, this ensures we can control the quality, safety and thus welfare of all our guests. we also conduct tours of all the different floating villages and numerous flooded forest.

2. ALL OUR staff are full time long term committed employees, they share our joint passion for conducting the most professional and fun cruise tours possible.

3. All our staff are local friendly awesome people, and many were born in the villages you will tour giving an expert insight.

4. We are a responsible company and focus on education, training and sustainable tourism, always being respectful to the communities we work in. In fact we have set up many environmental projects (Our current project is to supply solar power to the homes on the floating village) www.kamworks.com  through our educational and awareness programs,apprentice training programs and supporting local businesses and suppliers doing the same. www.khmersolar.com 
Some 50% of the homes in the floating villages are without power and rely on car batteries for there most basic power,our excess power from our Queen Tara Riverboat(which is run on 100% solar) is used to charging some of these batteries,over time of course our aim is to supply a solar unit to all homes (floating villages)in need,one home,one village at a time. 

5. We are a Certified Childsafe Business as part of the network working together with communities and NGO’s to help protect children www.thinkchildsafe.org.

6. We conserve resources wherever possible, through, but not limited to recycling, fuel saving, sustainable development by way of engineering solutions, rather than burning of forests and other materials, e.g. Our boats are now converted to solar power replacing Fuel burning generator and all boats proudly using sustainable and environmentally friendly Biodiesel www.nagabiofuels.org .

7. The Tara Riverboat commits 100% of all profits into Giving back programs. Our commitment has and always will be that the Tara riverboat company, as a local company, sets aside 100% of all profits to be used in helping the local villages in sustainable resources, together with ensuring our staff are better educated ,resourced and health and safety of our team, guests and villages we visit.

8. We are a small specialized company promoting best practice and the management and all staff are only focused on your enjoyment and safety.

9. We are a registered, licensed company fully compliant with travel insurance, advisory and safety guidelines, we have the best safety record and take safety very. seriously, all our staff have been fully vaccinated for covid 19 and 90% have completed a senior first aid cert course.

10. We understand that for a company to succeed we require well priced, fun and hopefully education tours, we specialize in small groups from one person up. Nothing is more important to us than your safety and enjoyment. We do not run 30 different tours as we do not farm out our guests. We only run our tours which we are specializing in running.

11.We are 100% scam free, going on any of our tours will ensure you will not be exposed to any scams that maybe present, Our guides will look after you the whole way.

12. After some 20 years conducting tours in and around the numerous floating villages ,fishing villages and flooded forest we certainly know what our guests require, we are always focused on achieving the best cruise and tour possible. 

www.canbypublications.com // www.mrcmekong.org

Our Sister Company :- www.khmerdetours.com

Tara Boat Guest House: www.taraboatguesthouse.com

 

Mission Statement


To ensure that each and every guests has a safe, enjoyable and unique travel experience... to promote best practice and sustainability through training and education of our most valuable asset, our employees.


OUR GALLERIES