When it comes to floating markets, the first image that comes to mind is of those in Thailand. Nevertheless, with a master plan in the last stages of completion, Cambodia will soon see the debut of a floating market invested by property investment firm Sky Land in cooperation with a specialised company from Thailand.
Srey Chanthorn, CEO of Sky Land, told Post Property yesterday the floating market was set to commence construction within two months.
Occupying a total of about 20 hectares of land – inclusive of water from the Mekong river that runs through it – in Vihear Sour commune, the part of the floating market itself could very well cover 12 hectares of the entire land area, which includes the river water. The remaining area will be constructed such as to accommodate parking lots.
Already a well-established settlement cum tourist attraction in Thailand, floating markets in fact already do exist in Cambodia.
However, these are out of a daily necessity norm, with floating villages comprising fishermen heading out to the river before the sun rises, while some boats act as convenience stores tied to water trees to sell goods to these fishermen.
As such, commercialising the concept would require the assistance of experts from the Thai company, who will help with finalising the master plan and drafting up a legal framework.
Chanthorn was unable to reveal the name of the Thai company, and also did not specify the amount of slated investment for the novel project.
“We want to do things impeccably, and we want to do it right the first time in order to attract tourists to visit the floating market when in Phnom Penh, just like they flock to visit Angkor Wat when they’re in Siem Reap,” Chanthorn said.
Further detailing how the floating market would come to life, he said floating boats designed in the traditional Khmer style – which could measure up to 40 metres long – would be selling food, merchandise and souvenirs.
The project’s site would be vast enough to accommodate up to 20,000 people. Since the Kingdom has yet to introduce a commercialised floating market, some of the design concept would be spearheaded by Sky Land, whereas the rest would be inspired by Thailand’s floating establishments.
Pan Seng, chief of Vihear Sour in Kandal province, expressed his delight in having the area developed, saying it would provide job opportunities to people from the districts of Pearang, Srey Sonthor, and Ksach Kandal.
He added, “If the company is indeed planning to build a floating market, the area will become very vibrant and active.”
The success of such a project, according to Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, rests on the organisation of the infrastructure, attractiveness, safety, and order in the area. All these are areas which Skyland confirmed it was currently working on.
“The area is very captivating and has high potential for attraction, as the area is home to an artificial stream, and a natural tributary, that adds to the already favourable atmosphere,” Vandy said.
“Once the bridge linking Chroy Changvar to Svay Chrum area is completed, this site will be closer to Phnom Penh, which in turn, will attract even more locals and international tourists.”