It’s been years in the making. She has been our dream for a long time. And, now she is ready…
Sovanna means “Golden Dream” in Khmer
Sovanna is a beautiful river houseboat with two cabins (bedrooms) and is fully equipped and designed for four live-aboard guests, looked after and pampered by a skilled crew.
The Sovanna concept started with the first visit to Cambodia back in 1996. And, an eventful boating trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh that didn’t go quite according to plan.
Fast forward then, almost ten years. And, a trip aboard a traditional Kerala ‘Kettuvallam’ houseboat on the backwaters of Southern India. The penny was beginning to drop.
The natural beauty of Cambodia’s inland waterways had left a lasting impression. Although there was seemingly an opportunity for introducing more-suitable rivercraft, offering travellers a degree of luxury, comfortable accommodation and flexibility in their schedules and destinations. The Kerala houseboats offered all that was missing.
Further visits to the Kerala backwaters followed. As did a three-day houseboat trip coming up along the Mekong from Vietnam and into Cambodia.
The logical solution was to create a Houseboat for Cambodia. Similar to the successful Kerala boats found in India and build them locally.
Eco-houseboats started to appear in India and were being made with fibreglass composite hulls. These were more environmentally friendly and lower maintenance than conventional wooden hulls, that need to always be protected with polluting antifouling which can damage the fragile ecosystem.
Sovanna was entirely constructed in Cambodia from a purpose-built fibreglass mould. And, is sized on the standard two-bedroom Kerala houseboats. The boat is approximately 26 meters in length and 4.5 meters wide.
The superstructure and decking are made entirely from local wood which was carefully kiln-dried and treated to ensure its stability and longevity. Sovanna has a largely covered foredeck which is open-sided and contains a comfortable seating area, a jacuzzi spa and sun loungers. Along the entire length is an open-sided corridor which leads to two air-conditioned bedrooms. Both bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms and are furnished to the highest standards of comfort and luxury.
At the end of the corridor is the galley kitchen. And, an additional bathroom and a spiral staircase leading to the upper deck. The upstairs deck has a spacious open area with lounge seating. It also has a dining table with wicker chairs and a stunning bar area with bar stools which allows a commanding view of the surrounding riverside. At the front of the upper deck is the captains’ bridge from where the boat is driven and steered. Sovanna has WiFi and there is usually full connectivity throughout our routes.
The boat has its own Electrical & Power System allowing us to use mains power. An onboard generator and battery storage systems provide additional power needs. There are solar panels for keeping the engine batteries fully charged. Sovanna is fitted with a brand new Hyundai SeasAll S270 Engine with a Mercury Sterndrive.
Sovanna operates with a Licensed Captain and is fully registered and licensed to carry up to 30 persons. Our Company is Tax Compliant and we have a valid Tourist Operators License. The boat is also Insured through an international insurance company. Smoke Detection Alarms are fitted and the boat has its own firefighting and lifesaving equipment on board to ensure compliance and safety.
Sovanna is based in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia and can be used for taking guests up the Tonle Sap river and onwards to Siem Reap. She can also be used for overnight trips for one, two, three or more nights to visit the many places of interest along the rivers and guests can build an itinerary to suit their needs.
Our boat generally operates with a crew of four which include the Captain, his Assistant, a Chef and a Courteous Server who acts as your tour guide.
For larger gatherings, we can provide more staff to cater and serve, although we cannot exceed more than 30 people onboard including our crew.