The Mekong Floating Bungalows were designed to be a low impact, zero emissions floating hotel, and are the first of their kind in Cambodia. The bungalows utilise a locally built gravity based solar water heater system and solar powered air-conditioning and lighting. As a result of the success of this project, these carbon neutral concepts have been used in several of the group’s other businesses, like The Pavilion Hotel Phnom Penh. The Mekong Floating Bungalow also supports Cambodian culture and industry as much as possible. They source locally produced food and decorations, and their furniture is always locally made.
About the Mekong Floating Bungalows
Built as a model for low-impact tourism accommodation with zero emissions, the Mekong Floating Bungalows maintains all of the comfort, service and beauty you can expect from parent The Pavilion Hotel. The bungalows are situated along a riverbank of the upper Mekong. From the distance, the floating wooden structures blend into the river scene, with stilted homes belonging to fishing families off to one side, and undeveloped land with long grass and floating water hyacinth to the other. There is no other accommodation in Phnom Penh where you can experience life along the river in such an immersive yet luxurious setting.
Arrival and Check in
Check-in for the Mekong Floating Bungalows is at 4:15pm at The Pavilion Hotel. A tuk tuk will pick you up at 4:30pm to take you to the docks along the riverside. You can arrive to The Pavilion Hotel earlier in the day to relax by the pool and enjoy your complimentary 25 minute massage.
The sunset boat cruise to The Mekong Floating Bungalows
Before you leave civilisation behind for the night, you’ll go on a sunset boat cruise on the hotel’s private boat, Le Tonle, along with other guests from The Pavilion Hotel. The intimate wooden boat has beautiful green palms, comfortable seating, and unique antique sewing tables where you can rest your complimentary drinks and snacks.
The lovely on-board guide greeted us at the dock and ensured we were taken care of throughout the evening. She gave us information about the city along the way and was able to answer any questions we had. We rode up to the river to the confluence where the upper and lower Mekong, Tonle and Bassac rivers converge. Gliding along the river provides a unique perspective of the city and the vast array of activities happening on the water.
When you arrive at the Mekong Floating Bungalow, guests are invited to sit in the floating bar for evening drinks and dinner. Along the riverbank you have a perfect view to watch the sun dip behind Phnom Penh’s skyline, streaking breathtaking colours across the sky. You are welcome to join the other guests, or go directly across the bridge from the bar to your own private seating in front of your bungalow. Once the sun has set, the hotel guests head back into the city, and you are left to enjoy a romantic private multi-course dinner.
The rooms at The Mekong Floating Bungalows
The bungalow room is stunningly beautiful, with two day beds, a large canopy bed, a rain shower, refrigerator, mini-bar (including full bottles of wine), air-conditioning and a fan. The deck just outside the sliding glass doors has another day bed and a table where you can dine for dinner and breakfast. Blackout curtains in front of the sliding glass doors ensure a peaceful slumber for as long as you’d like.
Sitting on the deck of your private bungalow, you’ll feel like royalty as you survey the city from across the river. Small bats with translucent wings swoop just above the water, and tiny fish jump out. Sunset cruising boats go by intermittently, some blasting popular music in their wake, and you have to wonder how the local fishing families returning home for the day feel about the temporary party vibes in their space. However, once the sunset fades, the river becomes peaceful and uninhabited. The city lights along the riverside are aglow, and you can soak in the views of a Phnom Penh that is quickly transforming, and will possibly be unrecognisable in 10 years time.
The service at The Mekong Floating Bungalows
The bar and kitchen employ a small private staff who are at your service for the evening. A security guard will remain on the grounds throughout the night as well, ensuring extra comfort. The staff is there to ensure you have everything you need, while giving you plenty of space to enjoy your surroundings.
The Food at The Mekong Floating Bungalows
For dinner there is a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian set menus, both featuring delicious Cambodian dishes. Red, white and sparkling wines are available, as well as beer and a range of cocktails from the fully stocked bar. Without the distractions of internet and television, you’ll have the perfect excuse to unwind and connect with your partner as you sway gently with the flow of the river, sharing a moment that is all your own.
Morning at The Mekong Floating Bungalows
A light hum of motorised boats from the fishing village are the background noise to an otherwise peaceful morning calm. There is something truly refreshing and relaxing about waking up along the water. You will see fishing families floating past the bungalow, dragging and reeling in their fishing nets. A small girl and her mom smiled and waved to me from their boat as dad paddled, while I was enjoying my passion fruit juice and writing in my journal. The deck is spacious enough to do yoga, and the light rocking when boats pass by provides an extra challenge.
Breakfast is served on your private deck, and you may checkout anytime before noon. The Le Tonle will come by again to pick you up and take you back into town.
The Floating Bungalows are a unique, exclusive, and beautiful experience to take advantage of while you are in Phnom Penh. One night was a perfect amount of time to experience life away from the bustling city and disconnect from technology while reconnecting with each other in an unforgettable setting.
This article has been written by Guest Writer Jen Joslin from Two Can Travel. Jen and her partner, comedian Stevo Joslin, are based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They write on expat life and travel in Cambodia and throughout Asia.