Cruising Asia with Jane McDonald (2020) - Travel Documentary
I'm Jane McDonald, and I'm cruising round the world. Do you want to come? I've spent half my life on cruise ships... You all right? ..and now I want to help you get the most out of them. Nearly two million Brits took to the seas last year, making this type of holiday more popular than ever.
SHE SCREAMS There's something for everyone on a cruise - excitement... SHE SCREAMS ..wonderment... Fair makes you feel humble. ..and romance. Are you married, Captain? No. GULLS SQUAWK Come on, then. This time, I'm in exotic Southeast Asia... Hiya, love.
..taking you up the mighty Mekong River. This is where millions come to find calm and tranquillity, or so I've been told. HORNS BLARE Oh, no, no, no, no. We're going to die. We're going to die! I'll be getting to know the friendly people...
SHE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE I've no idea. No idea what's going on here. ..sampling a true taste of the local cuisine... Urgh! No, I can't, no. ..and searching for some inner peace. This is a deserted temple, but I've never seen so many people. So all aboard this gorgeous ship. Can't get any better than this, can you? It's fab.
Well, it can, actually, as I've found some extra bits that you will have never seen before. That's a durian, the king of fruits. Over here, in Asia, they love it. It smells like old fruit gone off.
Urgh. No. Vietnam, beloved of backpackers, and a favourite of foodies, as its surrounded by sea, and has over 2,000 rivers. From spectacular mountain ranges to rice filled paddy fields, there is no shortage of things to see and do.
But first things first, I need to sort out my spends. Can I change £100? It's actually quite expensive to pick up Vietnamese money in the UK, so you're best to do it when you get here. I'm exchanging my British pounds for some Vietnamese dong.
Some ships change currency, a lot don't. So check out if they do or not. So I'm going to get some money here cos I want to go in to Ho Chi Minh first. It's only 100 quid. Only 100 quid - hark at me as if I've got loads of money.
Erm, two million. Two million? Yes. Wow. I am now a millionaire. And what a good tip? You know, if I'm...
If bellboy or someone comes up, you know what's a good tip? It's around 50,000 Vietnamese dong. 50,000. Yes. Which is what? Maybe £1 or £2. Really, that's it? Yes. And that's a good tip. Yes. Wow. So 500,000 is... ..er... Oh, hang on. 30,000 is £1.
30,000... ..equals... 500,000 is 16... £16.66. It is, isn't it? Th... Six... Hang on a minute. Maths never was my strong point.
Anyway, I've got my dong in my hand, time for a quick tour round Ho Chi Minh City, where my adventure begins. Come on, let's go see what Vietnam's got to offer. I hope it's bin day.
It's busy. It's loud. It's dusty. It's like nowhere else I've been on Earth, this. Can you imagine if these...if every bike was a car? It would be... It would be chaos. Utter chaos. I have noticed that everything is done on the back of a bike.
A moped here, you can fit a family of five in. A moped in Vietnam is like a Toyota in England. Oh! Ah! Sorry. TOOTS HORN I've also noticed that you can be killed at any minute here.
SHE LAUGHS I don't understand any of that. Hello. Look at these lovely fruits. I don't even know half of these. What is that? It looks like something out of The Little Shop Of Horrors, doesn't it? "Feed me, Seymour!" Ho Chi Minh used to be called Saigon. It was built by the French, and even has its own Notre Dame Cathedral.
It's the biggest city in the country, with more than eight million people. And where there's people, there's shopping. Look, I've found a market. Now, I'm at home when there's a market.
Come on, let's go and have a look. If there's one thing I love as much as cruising, it's a ruddy good bargain. If you are coming to this part of the world, don't pack, because everything is really cheap. £7.50 for a formal outfit. See, that's lovely. Look at that. That's perfect for a cruise. Isn't it? Do you think we can go down here? Hi! Come on, you know you want to.
Hello. Hello. This is great. SHE LAUGHS Ooh, nice bras. Nice little push up number there, isn't it? Every cup size going. Big beige pants, you can't beat 'em. They like their under crackers here, don't they? Oh, these are cute.
Do you do my size? Which size, madam? Big. OK. What you doing? I'm getting some shoes. You can never have enough shoes - it's a woman thing, you wouldn't understand. Madam, sit down.
Sit down? Oh, all right. Can I get down there? Hey, look at this! This is amazing. You get your shoes made for you. I can't believe that. Oh! I'm trying them on already. Oh, hello. OK, madam? I think so, yeah.
DIY shoes - this is fantastic, isn't it? Well, that's a new one on me - shoes to go. Aw, thank you. All for only a fiver. I could spend all day here, but this isn't Markets With Jane, it's Cruising With Jane, so I better get a move on.
Ah! TOOTS HORN Oh! Thank you. Getting used to the noise? Yeah, it's sort of... Yeah, it's weird, really, you do. You just sort of get acclimatised to everything, don't you? I'm still not used to the green cross code here.
I'm still not used to the traffic and getting across the road. Look at that! Look at that. Look. Wow, that's amazing.
It's a Catholic church. And I don't suppose, really, that there's many pink churches in Vietnam. But it is quite spectacular, isn't it? The crew reckon our transfer bus is down the road.
Just need to get to the other side first. Have you seen it? I'm not walking across the road. I'm going to die. HORNS BLARE Just give it a go. Thing is, we'll do it. We'll do it with you. Shall we do that? Yeah? Yeah.
They've talked me into crossing this road here in Vietnam. I think it's a deathtrap, personally, but I've put a camera on my chest, just to show you how scary this is! Could be the end of the show, this. Hello. It's been a lovely life.
No, no, no, no! We're going to die. We're going to die! We're going to die! We're going to die! SHE SCREAMS Argh! HORNS BLARE No, no, no! Do as the locals do. No, oh, oh, oh! No, no, no, no! Ooft. That's enough excitement for me, get me off these streets and onto that ship, please! Oh... Oh, wow! Coming up, I make myself at home... Look at this! Yes. Look at the size of this cabin.
..and get stuck in to the local delicacies. That's a durian - the king of fruits Over here, in Asia, they love it. It smells like old fruit gone off. I'm in Southeast Asia, cruising up the Mekong River. Travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia to sample a taste of the east.
For me, this is really gonna be a trip into the unknown. From Ho Chi Minh it's a quick drive to My Tho, from where I will be sashaying up the Mekong, stopping at Tan Chau, before crossing into Cambodia and the capital, Phnom Penh. Then it's on to the floating villages of Kampong Chhnang before my final destination, the temple of Angkor Wat. So, where do start? Right here, on our ship - the AmaDara.
At 302 feet long, she's the biggest vessel touring the Mekong route from Vietnam to Cambodia. Modelled on European river cruises, she's got a style all of her own. There are over 50 crew looking after the 124 passengers, so while she's a fair old size by Mekong standards, you still get a right personal service. Wow, this is a lot bigger than I thought. I've seen balconies here. I've never seen that on a river cruise. Oh, I've right perked up now.
It looks lovely, doesn't it? Good afternoon, choum reap sor, welcome aboard. Sorry, what did you say? It's a pleasure. Choum reap sor. Choum... Choum reap sor. Choum reap sor. Choum reap sor. Choum reap sor.
Welcome on board... Thank you very much. Watch your step. I think I am going to find my chi on here. I don't even know what chi means, I'll be honest. I just made that up. That's terrible, isn't it? What is chi? Anyway I'm going to find my chi.
Hello! Miss Jane. That's right. Miss Jane, I like that. Miss Jane. Miss Jane. Miss Jane, right? I like it, yeah! Yes, all right, your room is upstairs. OK, I'll follow you. Yes. What's your name?
My name is Mi. Mi? Mi, yes. I'm Mi. Ami? Yes. Yes, but you just say Mi is OK. OK. Yes. Yes, yes. Right, could get a bit confusing. Here we go. Here we go. Come on.
Oh! Oh, wow! This is your luggage. Look at this. Yes. Look at the size of this cabin. Oh, it's very oriental, isn't it? Very, very traditional. There's a balcony. Yes.
A big balcony outside for you and we have a gift for you also. Is this mine? Yes, it's for you. THEY LAUGH That's so cute.
What is it? Is that an aardvark? What is it? Anteater? No, I'm not sure what it is. Turtle? No, it's not a turtle. No? I don't know what it is, I'm sorry. No, I don't either. Oh, wow! Look at all this. Yes, also the flowers. These are gorgeous. It looks so healthy.
This is gonna be good for me cos I'm not healthy, at all, and I need to be healthy, me. Yes. The fruit is good for you. Really? What is this one? Dragon fruit. Dragon fruit. Yes. Right. Wednesday, we have, at 5pm, we will have the local fruit tasting and you will try durian. Yeah.
Yes, it's really good. Really? You try this before? No. The smell is really good, for me, because I love it. Yeah? But for some guests, they said it's really bad.
Yes... I'll you know, Mi. I'll let you know. I will wait on you. I'm waiting your answer.
Yes, about the durian. Oh, the durian. Yes. Ooh. In here you have the bath tub. Wow, this is massive. Yes, and a shower. Jacuzzi. I've got a Jacuzzi. Oh, my goodness me. Yes. If you need to... Oh, my goodness, Mi. Yes. I get very excited about bathrooms.
I don't know why I get excited, it's just that I always like to see the bathrooms on a ship. Yeah. She must think I'm bonkers. Thank you, darling. You're welcome. Thank you very much. My pleasure. OK. Thank you. Thank you so much. Right, I'll get unpacked.
Perfect. Yes, thank you. Lovely. THEY LAUGH You are adorable! You're doing brilliantly, darling. You are so good. Thank you so much. She's adorable! I think we'll have a lot of fun on this ship if they're all like Mi. No, not me, Mi. Her. I knew this would get confusing.
It's sail away now, which is very exciting, cos that means we're on our way. Ah, look at this. Mm. Where's the bar? Oh, that looks good. Thank you. Cheers.
Hi. Hi. Oh, I'm enjoying that beer. Don't spill it on yourself! Oh, I'm really having a lovely time now. Now I've started to have a holiday. I've got a beer in my hand. I've got no traffic trying to kill me.
I've got no crowds any more. I've got the open water, and I'm on my holidays. I managed to get a few hours' sleep with me jet lag, and now I'm up and ready for some action.
Now, then, yes, I've got a T-shirt on. I don't usually have T-shirts, I don't do T-shirts a lot, but I've brought one and I've realised it's got "Yorkshire and proud of it", so I'm really proud to wear this today and I hope it causes a lot of people going, "Are you from Yorkshire?" And also, because I didn't want to spoil any of my shoes that I've brought, cos you know what I'm like with shoes, I like my shoes. These are the ones that I bought at the market for six quid, so I don't even care if these come back on the ship or not. So, off we go.
So, we need water. Yes. Life jacket. Ah, right. Thank you. And just when I thought I couldn't look any more glamorous. Is that it? Market excursion, that's grand.
Thank you. Oh, lovely. Thank you very much. Thank you. Mind the step, madam. Thank you. Thank you very much. We're heading off to Sa Dec, where there is a popular local market.
Now there are lots of markets to see here, but this one is not really for the tourists, although that's what we are! This is aimed at mainly supplying the locals so I've roped in the chef from the boat, John, who's going to tell me what's what. Ah! You just have to... Ah! Don't stop. No, don't stop, don't stop. Keep going. Oh, my God. Hi there.
That's papaya. Yep. Wow. Yeah, anything that's unusual, that I don't see that we can't get, I go to the fruit market, pick it up, look at it and... That's a great idea. I was just saying how boring we are in the United Kingdom because we've only got like apples, bananas, pears. Oranges. You know, that's it, isn't it, really? Yeah. We're afraid, aren't we? We're not adventurous, are we? No, we're at all. We don't like change. No. We don't.
Some durian over there, do you want to have a look? Durian. OK. It's the one that's... Let's go and have a look. Is that OK? OK, right. Ah!
Durian, erm... Yeah. ..it smells. Yeah, so this... That stinks. ..this is a durian. So... I don't know, but... Oh, that's a durian. The king of fruits.
Over here, in Asia, they love it. It smells like old fruit gone off. OK, you want me to try this? It's up to you. I mean, you can probably give it... Sue, you've got to try that. Durian.
JANE LAUGHS If you think I'm tasting that! Jane, can you just run through your job description for me? Yeah, I'm a... Listen, I'm here... It's called Cruising With Jane McDonald, it doesn't say I have to eat everything that you give me. No, no.
Look at your face, Sue. Do you want to...? Would you like to go have a look...? Yeah. Please, carry on. I've never seen so many different types of fruit and vegetables ever.
It's like oranges, you know, you would never think you would have an orange orange and a green orange. Well, no, you wouldn't eat a green orange at home, would you? Cos it would be too sour. Yeah. Whereas here it's really sweet. SHE SMACKS HER LIPS Ooh, it was great to have John to help.
Now I wonder if he can point me in the direction of a chemist, as I'm not feeling 100%. John, just one minute. Yeah? I've had a splitting headache and a bad cold and a bad back and a bad neck, I'm just feeling off it. OK.
Do you know a good pharmacist, or...? Yeah, there's, erm, there's a Chinese medicine shop. It might not be what we get in probably Europe, probably something different and it's down there, yeah.
Cheers, John. OK. See you later. Bye-bye. Goodbye. Bye. Right. Hello. Do you speak English? No. No, OK.
Erm, I have... SHE COUGHS Ow, ow. Stiff neck. Yeah, yeah. Yeah?
OK. For the neck? Yep. This... Yeah. One? Oh, they have cinnamon, they have, erm, white ginger. But, you know, some other name, I don't know.
This is traditional, like, Chinese... Yeah. ..character. A kind of root of some herb. Root, root. Yeah, root. Ooft. Oh, yeah. Let me smell that again. Okey doke.
You can do two times but within a day. Within a day. Yeah. So I shall be cured tomorrow. JANE LAUGHS I can't wait. Thank you. Thank you. Hello. A bit different to a packet of paracetamol...
The dog's had enough. ..but I'm told it will do the trick. Remember though, always check with your doctor before taking. Yep, he's had it. Slowly, we have rain and it's slippery, so please mind your step. The weather is unpredictable at this time of year as we've come in October which is the tail end of the monsoon season.
Vietnam is a tropical country so remember to bring a waterproof when you pack, just in case. I'm a bit wet and I'm a bit soggy but I wouldn't have missed that for the world. That's been the trip of a lifetime that I will never forget, ever. And I've got something to get rid of my cold. It's a win-win! A quick dry off and shower and then I'll be as right as rain again. Oh, no, don't mention rain, Jane! Hiya, it's me and you again.
This is the bit where I show you the ship. Let's go and have a wander. It is extremely hot over here, so, erm, don't... ..just don't bother about your hair. My hair's been backcombed within an inch of its life today.
It is a beautiful vessel, I have to say. Ooh, what's that, then? Oh, wow, look at them. They've got little boats tied. It's like having one of them caravans, isn't it, where you put your bike on the back? That looks like a dining room. Let's have a look. Can we get in here? We're going in anyway.
Hi. They're obviously making something very tasty for later. For anyone who hasn't cruised before, who's a bit worried about seasickness, I recommend that you dip your toe into cruising with a river cruise. Because they are a lot more tranquil, also there is no motion sickness because it's... ..it's really flat. You won't feel seasick at all. Coming up, I discover the many uses of the silkworm...
It's beautiful, but I daren't move. ..one for making nice dresses... They're very nice. ..and two, as a snack. Oh, that's disgusting! I'm sailing up the Mekong River from Vietnam through to Cambodia. HORN BLARES We started off in Ho Chi Minh and now we are further north, in the small village of Tan Chau.
It might be a bit of a back water, but it produces some of the finest silk in Vietnam. The silk excursion is one of the most popular on this trip. So I am baggsying one of the first rides out on the dockside. Ooh. That'll be that, then. Oh, aye.
Right, and they're off. At least it's safer than walking - I hope. Oh, my God, we're going to die. Ah! Morning. Hiya, love. This is quite pleasant, actually. Right, let's go and see some silk.
Silk, or lua if you're from round these parts, is woven into Vietnams' culture and economy. It's a natural fibre, made by silkworm, and gets turned into everything from curtains to frilly knickers. Did you know, to get just £2 of silk, you'd need 3,000 silkworms? No, neither did I - till I looked it up on t'internet. Now, where's the shop? There's always a shop. Hello. Hello. Nice to meet you.
Beautiful, beautiful. Yeah. Thank you. Could I have a suit? Could I, erm...? SHE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE JANE LAUGHS A long suit with trousers. The yellow trousers. The gold. SHE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE Yellow. Yellow, yeah? Yellow. Yeah?
SHE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE I've no idea...no idea what's going on here. HORNS BLARE OUTSIDE Oh... That's too small, is it? Too small? SHE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE You can make one for me, yeah? Oh, my God, we're off.
Right, love it. This reminds me of being measured up for one of my sequin numbers. Is that big or not? Hey, none of that. Can you tell her I'm a size eight? OK. Size eight.
SHE SPEAKS IN OWN LANGUAGE She's probably saying, "Never in this life, she isn't." All right, I'm not an eight, but God loves a trier. While they make the necessary adjustments, I'm going to take a peak round the factory next door. SHE MOUTHS This luxurious fabric has been produced here for thousands of years. Once, only members of the Vietnamese royal family were allowed to wear it. Later, it was used as currency by traders, and today, it's the perfect souvenir for tourists to take home.
THEY LAUGH What's the most interesting thing you have learned on this tour, ladies? The most... That I don't like silk. You don't like silk! It's all about the product for you. It's just not soft enough. It just doesn't...
I want soft and silky, it just doesn't... No. No. This doesn't feel like the other silk that we've felt before, right? No. And in, like, the texture, it doesn't feel...silky. Can't wash it. Silky! It doesn't feel silky. Doesn't feel silky. Not to me. No. Oh, well, you can't win 'em all. I wonder how my little silk number is coming along.
Wow! Is Sue around, please? SHE SPEAKS OWN LANGUAGE Ooh! It's beautiful but I daren't move. Because it's so structured, you have to stand right, otherwise... ..your belly will come out. And I think it's good. Yeah? Thumbs up? Thumbs up, yeah? Like that, yeah. Yeah? Da. "Dayer"? Da. Does that mean "yes"? SHE LAUGHS Da. Da, yeah. Yeah. Oh... Thank you. Thank you.
So long, Tan Chau. I'll miss your quality garments at reasonable prices. But, on this cruise, there's still so much more to come. The Mekong is the 12th longest river in the world, stretching 2,700 miles from Vietnam, all the way up to China. This is one of those cruises where there's just as much to see from the ship as there is when you get off it. Look at that.
You don't see that every day, do you? This is, by far, my favourite part of any cruise. You see the whole world go by. I love it. That...and eating. And, thankfully, there is a team of fully trained chefs, led by head chef John, who keeps us fed and watered throughout the day.
Hi. What do you recommend? Anything? Oh, my God - the stir fry. Stir fry. Doy's station. The stir fry was so good.
Have that, seriously. And on the appropriately named action station the chef will cook while you wait. It's like your own freshly cooked takeaway.
Oh... Hello, Doy. Hello, hi. How are you? I'm fine. And you? Oh, very well. What you got for me today?
Yeah, today, I stir fry some noodle, ma'am, with vegetable and meat. Right. I'll have, um, the chicken. Chicken? Chicken, yes. Yeah?
So what sort of sauce is this? Oyster sauce, soya sauce and tomato ketchup. Oh, really? Yeah, we make it very, very smell. Yeah? Remember that. How easy is that? Enjoy, ma'am. Thank you. Right, I'm off. Got to find a seat.
It's good to see how they do it as well, cos I spend about half an hour cooking at home, whereas that was like five minutes. We're doing it wrong. Mwah! Time for pudding and apparently tonight there is the very popular ice cream party. I'm not missing out on this! So this is a massive event, apparently, the ice cream party. The ship told us it's got 67 litres of ice cream for us. Really? Yes. 67?! So we won't run short.
I'm doing this for you. SHE LAUGHS Oh, rum and raisin. Ah! Yeah, that's the one for me. Sacrifices, eh? I reckon I deserve a medal. Enjoy. I will. Thank you very, very much. Mm, that is so good, innit? That is just a taste sensation, isn't it, that? I can't stop eating this.
I can see why everybody's here now. I'll probably lick the bowl out after I've finished this. It is so good. Don't let me do that again! SHE LAUGHS What a day it's been - silk, shopping and sinful eating. No wonder I'm knackered. Night-night! Gooooood morning, Vietnam! Actually, it should be "Goodbye, Vietnam," as we're about to cross over the border into Cambodia.
For years, Cambodia was off-limits to all but the most adventurous. Now, the locals welcome allcomers, keen to show off everything the country has to offer. It's a land of plenty, with historic temples, stunning views, gorgeous food... ..and rain. Hi, Jane! Hello. Very nice to meet you again. Good morning. How are you doing? Lovely to see you. Very, very well.
Did you enjoy a nice day and walk? Yep, lovely. I'm just going off now to the markets. Wow. Yes, OK. It's beautiful there. Is it? There's a lot of things to do. Good. And beautiful temple and many things to explore. OK! Yeah. And, furthermore, tuk tuks are ready... Perfect.
Very excited. Finally, it's stopped raining. We've docked in the capital, Phnom Penh. I've never been anywhere like this, ever.
I love the fact that it's...there's just nothing PC here. You can put five people on a moped, no helmets, drive down the road, no traffic lights, people walk out in front of you, nobody bats an eyelid. And, do know what? It works. Apart from this road. SHE LAUGHS So, now, you just walk across, don't you? You walk across and they go around you.
See, look at that? I've even walked across the road without the help of several people. Hello. And these are called tuk tuks. Which are taxis here.
And, er, I fancy one of them a bit later. They all look completely different, they've all got their own little personality and it's the driver who does them up and decorates them. It's great, that, isn't it? In the '70s, this place was always in the news, with wars and revolutions. No tourist would dare to set foot in it then. But today, it's buzzing.
Full of life, and safe enough for anyone to explore. Today, I'm getting into the feel of this beautiful part of the world. And, er, and I'm going to embrace it. Could I have a coconut? Yes. Thank you.
SHE LAUGHS You don't often ask for a drink and they get a machete out, do they? Thank you, it's very good for you, this, apparently, I've read it in Woman's Own, it must be true. Mmm. Market, here I come. That's the New Market in the city centre, or the Phsar Thmei as the locals call it. They sell everything under one roof here, from antiques to sarongs.
But for once, it's not the shopping I'm interested in, it's lunchtime and I'm starving. Oh, my God, I'm so brave. I crossed the road, on my own. The food on board ship may be great but I've decided to be adventurous and get a real taste of Cambodia. I love how, the fact they just cook it there and then. They just cook it on a makeshift barbecue and there's lunch. It seems to just work because if you look through all the mayhem and the chaos, the people are just...so lovely. They just smile.
Hi. Oh, my God, what's that? They look like scorpions. Can I...have a look? That's a scorpion. Deep-fried. Look - and even the thing's there.
I think I need some help before I get stung, so I've asked our friendly fixer Ti to show me what to nibble on. What are these? It's a silkworm. Silkworms? Yeah. They look like bugs to me. This is a chrysalis. A chrysalis? They become a moth. OK. And this is inside. I'm with you. Do they taste good? Taste a bit like peanut. Peanuts?
Put it in your mouth. Good. Try it. Is it soft in the middle? It's soft. SHE RETCHES No, I can't. No.
No. SHE RETCHES No, I can't, I can't do it. I can't. I know I'm brave Jane today, but there's just some things I will not put in my mouth! I put it on my tongue then, did you see that? Yeah. It's very simple. Yeah? It's kind of addictive when you... That's not bad, actually, is it?
I can't believe I've eaten that. That's not bad. Not bad at all. Yeah. I'm not going to eat 12 of them, but, you know... You tried. There's more bugs in this market than in the I'm A Celebrity jungle! Is that cockroach? That's a water beetle. Water beetle. There's a male and a female. OK. The female tastes better than the male - much more meat and heavy and crunchy. Yeah.
And they have to take the wing off like this. Then after that they take the heads out and that's the body. OK. And it's a bit chewy, this one.
Yeah. And not really a nice taste. No. Don't force it on me. And this, we have to take out the leg. That's a lot of work, isn't it? A lot of work for this little guy. Yeah. And they don't taste that good? Yeah.
It's an acquired taste, you know? I'm not acquiring that one. No, no. Try and... See that? Better than... Better than worm. Really? Er... A little garlic, please.
And it's a cricket. Yeah. Giant cricket. Very nice. I eat them even when I was a kid. Little bit. Oh! That's disgusting.
Really? She says, putting another bit in her mouth! Coming up, I start to feel at home... Whoo! Look at this. This is more like it. Look at that. ..and go in search of my elusive chi. I don't know what chi means. Do you know what chi means? Anybody know what chi means? I'm sailing up the Mekong from Vietnam, and now we're in the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. I'm enjoying the buzz of the city, but you can't beat a nice bit of peace and quiet, as well. Whoo! Look at this. This is more like it. Look at that. Look at that.
Whoa. There's even a man waving. Hello. Hello! Hi! Hi. Aren't they... They're lovely and friendly, aren't they?
Oh! It's like a palace! Oh, this is the yellow brick road, look! If I click my heels three times, I'll be back in Wakefield. Nope, still in Cambodia. Look at this building. I suppose, in a way, it's like being in London cos there's all that traffic going round - isn't there? - and then all of a sudden you see Buckingham Palace.
You see, that must be the King. Or the King's father. He's waving, anyway. He's a very friendly man by the look of it. This is the Royal Palace - the official residence of His Majesty King Sihamoni. This is hopefully the beginning of me finding my chi.
Oh, yes. Have you worked out what chi means yet? No idea. I don't know what chi means. Do you know what chi means? Anybody know what chi means? Oh, there's a monk! Monks. Oh, sorry, I've just pointed.
Pointing is very disrespectful in Cambodia. So, you know, you can't point. It's very disrespectful.
So you do that. There's lots and lots of pigeons. Do you think... Cos there's loads of pigeons in London, as well, isn't there? Do you think it's palaces that actually attract pigeons? Mind you, there isn't... There isn't a palace in Bridlington... ..and there's loads of pigeons there. The Royal Palace is more than 150 years old and it's one of Phnom Penh's most glorious sites.
Parts of this gleaming gold palace are closed to the public but you can still wander round the beautiful grounds. Being a palace, though, you have to cover up - so, boys, no shorts, and girls - get those shoulders covered! I have never seen anything like this, ever. I mean, it's stunning, isn't it? You know, I don't think anyone can teach you how to be happy.
I think that's something you have to find yourself. Right now I'm beginning to feel very happy. I definitely feel like Cambodia's working its magic on me. However, there is also a dark side to Cambodia's not-too-distant history.
In the late 1970s, an estimated 2.5 million Cambodians died or were killed during the Khmer Rouge reign. Our ship has arranged an excursion to the largest of the killing fields. Just outside Phnom Penh.
I was in two minds to go, but I'm thankful I was able to visit this spiritual place, which now serves as a monument to all who died, and some who thankfully survived. It's also here as a constant reminder to ensure that history never repeats itself. But the one thing that I am seeing everywhere is there's life all around. There's chickens. I saw a hen over there with her little chicks - she'd got about five chicks just walking along the grass. And all the graves already are shooting up with grass and greenery.
I was listening to the guide tell us that. Three butterflies just went past, one landed on me shoulder, and I just thought, "That's it. "It's a big circle that just keeps going on. Life keeps going on." And that's what makes cruising so special. You move around different places and learn so much more than you would on a normal holiday. So, I'm going out to the back of the boat now.
Aft as they call it. This, to me, is...is rural Cambodia. I can't lie. It has taken me a while to settle into this way of life. I feel as if I've been a bit reborn as I'm in the sunshine, I'm on a beautiful ship, and I'm enjoying every single moment. If you're a little squeamish - a bit like myself actually, let's be honest.
I'm a bit of a wimp, I'll be honest. I'm a wimp. And the perfect way for me to see Cambodia and Vietnam is on this ship. Oh, look at this pool. I wonder if I could just...dip me toe in.
It's nice, actually, isn't it, to be able to just dip your feet in? It's fantastic. JANE GASPS Oh, my God, I've dropped the camera. This morning, we've left the Mekong behind, and headed up to the Tonle Sap River to Kampong Chhnang, a bustling port at the mouth of the Tonle Sap Lake. Good morning. Good morning. Thank you. Morning.
Today, we're downsizing for some Floating With Jane McDonald. You always look immaculate. Oh, thank you. Absolutely gorgeous. A girl tries. Yeah. JANE LAUGHS
Now, I like life on the water, but we're off to see some people who spend their entire lives on it. Welcome to Kampong Chhnang. Kampong Chhnang is one very famous floating village in Cambodia.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and provides most of the fish eaten in Cambodia. More than a million people live here. Many of them on these floating villages.
The water levels change so much between the dry and rainy season, it's the most efficient way for the fishermen to make a living. When the lake's at its fullest, they'll drift along, stopping wherever the best catch is. But when the dry season comes, they have to move closer to the shore to survive. Our fixer, Ti, was raised on one of these very villages, so who better to be our guide. I love the fact that they're completely self-sufficient on this floating village. They've got everything they could possibly need to survive, haven't they? It's part of their life.
Long ago here, I mean, they adapted to the environment. The fish is here, so they catching fish, all different kinds of technique. And this one is very common.
Just scoop, you know, the fish out of water and they get the fish, small, tiny sardine. They grow everything on top of water. You know, they have water house and they have some vegetable, they have everything. So they pretty much self-sufficient. These families here, they all make their living from fishing.
And in the dry season, they grow pumpkin, grow watermelon, cassava, whatever crops they like. So when there's plenty of water, you eat a lot of fish. When there's plenty of land, you grow things on the land. That's correct. It's a perfect way of life, really, isn't it? My family, soon I can remember from the time I grew up, we have floating village. It's a beautiful life. Yeah.
And I love to see that everybody just seems so happy. That's correct. Yeah. I think, you know, when you look at their house, they grow flowers in front of their house. They have pets - they have dog, they have cat. And they're taking care of their family. Yeah. They may not know they live in poverty, they may not have much money in their home, but they have food.
So the children, when you look at them, they not hungry children. No. So the best way to describe this is there's poverty but not misery. Yeah. VOICEOVER: Ti is lovely.
Ti is just... He's this little encyclopaedia of all knowledge of Cambodia and Vietnam. He's the perfect guide to have. We have been very lucky to have him. Bye. Well, you certainly get to see another side of life on a trip like this.
Coming up... An electrifying experience on my last night on the ship. Can hear the electricity coming off this. I'm going to go up in flames. Don't come too near.
I'm sailing up the Mekong River - starting in Vietnam, and now we're in Cambodia. There's always so much stuff laid on, but if you fancy a day lazing by the pool, well, that's fine, as well. They're all so sweet.
There's a fruit carving demo happening today, where the talented chefs demonstrate what they can create with a sharp knife and a bowl of fruit. Very impressive. Right. I've got a bit of time to kill, so there is nothing I like doing more than taking a wander round the ship on me own.
I do love the feel of this ship. It's like a zen. Is that...? Is that...?
A zen? Is it a zen? Or is it, like, zen? Anyway, you know what I'm on about. What's your names? Makara. Makara. Oh, I like that. Makara. Makara and... And Sophea.
Sophia? Yes. Sophea? Cambodian name. Cambodian. Oh, you're Cambodian. Yes. Are you both Cambodian?
Yes. So, are you all very beautiful from Cambodia? SHE LAUGHS Yeah? Yeah, yeah, you are. You're lucky. Yes. Gorgeous people. Gorgeous.
JANE LAUGHS It's crazy, innit? I'm really getting used to this temperature now. As if by magic... As if by magic. You see, the weird thing is everybody's in their swimming costumes here because a minute ago...the sun was blazing. It's quite bizarre. It's a lovely little area, this, to sit.
Hi. Even if it is raining, it doesn't matter cos you come up here and sit with a book... ..have a cup of tea or a beer. Or something a little strong if you so wish. Hello, love, how are you? I'm very well. You've a lot to answer for, you. Why? What have I done? What have I done? My partner watches this programme... Yeah. ..and we've ended up booking a cruise next year. Well, I'm really glad you have.
St Petersburg. Oh, you're going to love it. You are going to love it. I promise you. Well, I'll be writing to you if I don't. Oh, please do. It'll be your fault. Write to me if you do, as well. Just write to me. All right? Thanks. Great to see you.
How sweet was that? But, as with all cruises, you have to keep moving. Tonight's our last night onboard, and what better way to celebrate than by getting all dressed up? Hello. An excuse at last to wear me frock. I do have a slight problem, cos I sent this to get pressed this afternoon, and it's come back and it's clinging to me. See what I mean? It's following me.
It's following me. Can hear electricity coming off this. I'm going to go up in flames. Don't come too near.
So... But, yeah, it's very glamorous, isn't it? It makes you stand right, so... ..I think my core might be a little bit better by the end of tonight. Hopefully. Right, I'm off. Bye. I've even got me home-made shoes on. Look.
So, yeah, I'm feeling quite cheap tonight. How much do you reckon your outfit is worth? Probably 20 quid all in. It's not bad, that, is it? 20 quid.
No wonder it's all clinging to me. JANE LAUGHS Right. It does feel so glamorous. The captain is already waiting for you. Right. Best get on, then, hadn't I?
I can't believe I kept the captain waiting while I was dealing with me wardrobe malfunction. Thank you very much. Enjoy ma'am. Thank you for a fabulous cruise. Thank you. Thank you very much. Cheers.
Cheers. Cheers. Cheers. What a lovely, lovely... It's going to be fabulous. Thank you. Thank you. Well, he didn't seem to mind.
Perhaps he was bedazzled by my Princess Leia ensemble. Wow! Look at you! What do you think? We're definitely going to fit together. Trouble is, I've ironed it and it's just stuck to me. I am loving this! You know what, you have a figure you can cling to so it's OK.
Oh, I don't think so. I got it in Vietnam. Do you remember I bought in that shop we were all in? You did? The silk shop, yeah. No?! That is gorgeous. Very pretty.
Now I'm all dressed up with somewhere to go, time to get the drinks in for me new pals. Tough job, innit? It is, it's awful. So this is your day? Yeah. It's dreadful. I have the best job in the world. Do you want to taste it? Yeah. Can I?
Course you can. And cheers to that. What a fabulous cruise this has been. Coming up... My Asian adventure comes to an end at one of the most spectacular sights I've ever seen. When there's something this amazing, everybody wants to see it.
My cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia is nearly over. It's been a crazy ride, but the more I've seen, the more I've started to feel at home here. I've been told by the crew that we're leaving the ship behind and finishing this trip off at one of the world's greatest sights. They kept quiet about the 5am start, though. Morning. Right. I'm in Angkor Wat.
I am definitely here. This is not just a voiceover. I'm just going to read some things about Ang... Ang-kor Wat. "Angkor Wat is an awe inspiring temple "that is stunning for both its grand scale and its incredible detail. "Culminating in what is..." I can't read at this...
It's five o'clock in the morning, you want me to read an essay? COCKEREL CROWS Ooh, can you hear the cock? I've never seen a sunrise. I've never been up at this time. This is a deserted temple. But I've never seen so many people. Every year, over two million people visit Angkor Wat.
And seeing the sunrise over the ruins is one of the most photographed sights in all of Cambodia. People have been coming here for a thousand years. Standing in this very spot to look at the thing we're looking at. A thousand years. Here we go. When there's something this amazing, everybody wants to see it.
Who can blame 'em? I'm the only person here without a camera. So I'm going to experience this for real. And I'll always have this memory in my head.
And thankfully, you're taking all the pictures. I'm very lucky that way. Right. Come on, let's go to the temple.
Now this particular trip, as well, comes with the ship. So we might bump into a few passengers today. Got a friend.
Oh, that's better. Look at that. It is rather fabulous, innit? And the... And the temperature's just beautiful at this time of day. That is one good thing about getting up at 3.30 in the morning.
Wow. Ooh, look at this. Being up early, I didn't have the chance to swot up on the temple, but luckily I've got a few things written down here to guide us through. Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed. Monks? Where? WHISPERING: On your right, walking across you now. Oh.
Hi. See, I know how to do that now. The monks, don't touch 'em. You're not allowed to touch a monk. Could you quickly just tap the guy on the shoulder, though? No! You Can't! Stop it. You're not allowed to point either. It's like...
But they're very smiley monks, aren't they? They're not sombre monks. The temple is the heart and soul of Cambodia, and it draws people from all over the world. I wonder what this was, then. Did people used to live 'ere? Well, it was originally built as a Hindu temple, dedicated to the god Vishnu, and was converted into the Buddhist faith in the 14th century. Some say it was built as a tomb for King Suryavarman II.
More recently, the ruins were the backdrop to Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider film. Funny that, because it reminds me of another movie. It is very Indiana Jones, isn't it? There's carvings everywhere.
It must've taken ages to do this. There are almost 2,000 apsaras, or Hindu nymphs, carved by hand into the temple walls. Each of them unique.
Better than a bit of artex, eh? It really is spectacular. Every little angle about it just...just fits. There's been so much detail gone into the architecture of this. This place really takes your breath away. You can see why people call it the eighth wonder of the world.
It immediately relaxes you and takes you to another place in your mind. I have been thinking about it all week. And if chi means going to a different part of the world and opening yourself up to different experiences... BIRD CHIRPS Ooh. Hearing birdsong, sat in a temple... ..feeling at peace, and realising how lucky we are. Yeah, I think I might have found it.
I really do feel blessed by coming on this cruise. I must admit, when we first arrived, I was nervous. Growing up at a time when I did, all that ever seemed to come out of this part of the world was bad news. The people here have suffered. But they've come through it. And seeing them now, so happy, so friendly, so determined to build a better future for themselves, it's really quite humbling.
To spend time with them is to find out what life is truly about. # The higher you build your barriers # The taller I become # The further you take my rights away # The faster I will run # You can deny me # You can decide to turn your face away # No matter, cos there's # Something inside so strong So strong # I know that I can make it # Though you're doing me wrong So wrong # You thought that my pride was gone Oh, no # Something inside so strong # Brothers and sisters # When they insist we're just not good enough # When we know better # Just look 'em in the eyes and say # I'm going to do it anyway # Because there's # Something inside so strong Inside so strong # I know that I can make it I can make it # Though you're doing me wrong So wrong # You thought that my pride was gone Oh, no # Oh, no # Something inside so strong # O-o-o-oh # Something inside so strong. # What? MUSIC: Dam Tham by Denis Hekimian and Nadja Nguyen Subtitles by Red Bee Media