Built in the traditional style, the Toum Tiou was christened in 2002 on the river at Phnom Penh, the first Cambodian cruise boat with international standard accommodation.
Fully-paneled in wood, with charm and comfort in mind, we designed it in keeping with the local style. Modestly sized and with the safety of a steel hull, its low draught makes it possible for the boat to access the smallest of villages. With the tasteful decoration of a bygone era, it has 10 cozy double cabins with private shower, a large lounge area, a panoramic viewing space to the front, a half-covered bar-restaurant to the rear and a roof patio. Air conditioning, hi-fi system and library are provided.
The captain, boat hands, hostesses, cooks and boat master are quiet and inconspicuous in the performance of their duties.
This traditional locally built boat started out as a freighter with a metal hull and a capacity of 150 tons, with two large but low-ceiling decks in order to maximize storage space. Like all boats of this type, it went up and down the Tonle Sap and Mekong, stopping at Siem Reap, Kompong Cham, Kratie and Stung Treng.
We stayed as close as we could to the original line of the boat, because we wanted to retain its slightly curved and elegant lines.
The Toum Tiou derives its name from a traditional Khmer tale of star-crossed lovers, the Cambodian equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, Toum being the boy and Tiou, the girl.
This beautiful love story turned tragedy features Tiou's mother, an ambitious woman who wants to marry her daughter off to the king and Toum as the awkward lover.
The king, good-hearted and understanding, eventually gives up on the marriage to make Tiou happy.
It ends tragically when a frame-up involving the mother and the governor leads to the death of one of the two lovers, the other committing suicide to follow suit.
story is taught from primary to high school. Many songs and pieces of traditional music allude to the pair of ill-fated lovers.