Welcome to Tara River Boat in Cambodia
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 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 mts away I spied a very old abandoned and half sank riverboat, my memoires 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 of Australia, and as a young boy I spent most weekends and after school hours building rafts and boats, 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 refloat 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 ect
But first we had to refloat her, this was not going to be an easy task, she is 120ft long and is 24ft wide, she is also 4 stories high and weights in at over 350 tonnes, she was also stuck in the mud, I think 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 village) both girls and guys where employed to refloat 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, 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 for over 12 years now,
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 and full day tours in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to choose from to explore the lakes, rivers and floating villages to suit all needs starting from $26. Whether you choose to visit the floating village at Chong Khneas, the quieter Kompong Phluk Village and flooded forest, the little visited Kompong Khleang Village or the famous bird watching area of Prek Toal Biosphere Centre 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.
All our tours are the price advertised with no additional hidden costs 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
Why Use Tara Tours?
There are many reasons we feel we are unique in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh as conducting local tours is all we do:
1. Tara riverboat company owns all our own equipment, this ensures we can control the quality, safety and thus welfare of all our guests.
2. ALL OUR staff are full time long term committed employees, they share our joint passion for conducting the most professional and fun tours possible.
3. All our staff are local 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 and our current project is water filtration systems for villages we visit, through our educational and awareness programs and supporting local businesses and suppliers doing the same.
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. Giving back programs. Our commitment has and always will be that the Tara riverboat company, as a local company, sets aside 10% of all profits to be used in helping the local villages in sustainable resources.
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.
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.
Our Sister Company :- www.khmerdetours.com
Tara Boat Guest House: www.taraboatguesthouse.com
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.