Best Floating Villages Tours in Cambodia is with Tara Riverboat
How it all started.
Like many travelers i come to Cambodia primarily to see the awesome temples of Angkor Wat, they are truly amazing, One of the many things i learnt about the building of these huge temples where 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, via the rivers,canals and lake, so I visited the Tonle Sap river and 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,
One of the problems i encountered was the high boat fees and so called community taxes i was asked to pay, not only at the local floating villages but also other villages around the lake, non of the prices of these are displayed,(later i learnt Non of the community gets these taxes) so it really is up to the people operating the boat association,how much they think they can get away with charging folks, than as we where on the lake the boat guide?(not really a guide,but a guy that speaks some English,there to rip you off) and driver where just trying to get me to buy over prized rice for the locals,this is a well known scam ,so was prepared for this, the other problem was, they did not take me where i wanted to go,it is all about taking you to places that pay them a commission(silly souvenir shops ,that charge you 3x of the price in town),than the hard sell starts, or there friends business for extra cash. anyway i was very interested in exploring the rivers and lake more but with someone that was NOT out to rip me off, that is when on return to port area, i got chatting with a small boat owner,that agreed to take me out in his boat, and we had a fantastic time, well that was 20 years ago now,i fell in love with Cambodia,and decided to start a boat tour business with zero scams and clearly defined Guaranteed low prices, and the local guy i went out with? , well we have worked together for the past 20 years. The first boat we restored was the Tara Riverboat, she is now 95 years old, and started life as a cargo vessel,of course when i found her she was half sunk, so we had a bit of work to do on her, employing 16 locals from the floating village ,we re-floated and restored her.
I was also impressed with the locals (can do attitude) and there willingness to learn new skills, The new look Tara Riverboat looked awesome, and soon we where welcoming guests from leading hotels and travel agents in Siem Reap, The hotel owners and managers where very impressed with how we would look after there guests from start to finish,(as one leading 5 star hotel manager in Siem Reap told me) Our guests always come back from your cruisers in a happy mood. So soon we where on the look out for more boats. not to build new boats,but to recycle older boats,(some of our boats used to be cargo boats,sand dredges,Navy and fishing boats, we also recycle as much as possible,for example,most of our fixtures and fittings on our boats are from recycled items and materials.
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.Quite simply we wanted to create the best floating villages tours in Cambodia.
Over the years we have restored many old 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 (Gun) 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 67 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 Tara Riverboat,some have been with me from the very start. 20 years now, our Tara apprentice program, gives local 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 $24. Whether you choose to visit the floating villages , the quieter Kompong Phluk Village, flooded forest,Chong Khneas fishing villages, 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 Homestays in most floating villages and flooded forest to select from, we offer the best solutions to cater for all tastes and desires. Our Guides are very friendly and look forward to meeting you soon.
No More to pay.
All our tours are the price advertised with no additional hidden costs or fees/taxes and include: - pick up and return from hotel/guesthouse in Air Conditioned Company cars or tuk tuks - all transfers - fully experienced local English Speaking Professional Tara boat 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) including on a 100 year old Cargo vessel.
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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,we have boats that are licensed to go into the numerous rivers and lakes, this ensures not only can we control costs,but also 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.(please note,you will also save money and time using our service,as booking through us,we will give you first priority, We will never be beaten on price).
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.(most leading hotels and travel agents recommend our boats and service)
9. We are a registered, licensed company fully compliant with travel insurance, advisory and safety guidelines,we have full Public liability insurance, 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,at the best price.
13. Zero Scam policy, our guides and all staff are committed to ensure a safe,smooth adventure into the numerous floating villages and forests in Cambodia, our (Zero Scam Policy) means that we Guarantee our tours will be scam free, its because of this policy most leading Educational organizations both local and International use our service,its also why most expats in Cambodia use our service.
14. Our boats are the safest and cleanest operating on the lakes and rivers, all are inspected daily before any tour takes place.
So all in all we believe by having the Best Staff,Best Boats,Most experience,Scam Free,cheapest and Best Lake and river cruise tours in Cambodia,we will ensure our guests the BEST possible time.
Our Sister Company :- www.khmerdetours.com
Tara Boat Guest House: www.taraboatguesthouse.com
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Sail into an adventure with Tara Riverboats.
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.