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Floating markets are a dime a dozen in Thailand, drawing in tourists by the hordes. Shown above is the Pattaya Floating Market in Pattaya, Thailand. Facebook

Plans for floating market in the works

The local entrepreneur who brought the capital its first container night market is seeking government support to realise his vision for the country’s first custom-built floating market and entertainment complex.

Srey Chanthorn, CEO of SkyLand, said he hopes to present his master plan for a floating market covering 50 hectares on the Mekong River and its banks in Kandal province to authorities later this month.

“We already have a master plan, and now we are waiting to have meetings with the relevant ministries, especially the Tourism Ministry, to finalise and receive government support for the plan, which will serve the demands of tourists,” he said yesterday.

The floating market is part of SkyLand’s grander vision to develop a satellite city on over 1,000 hectares in Vihear Sour commune in the Ksach Kandal district of Kandal province. The project envisions residential and industrial zones, as well as a resort with areas for horse riding, motorcycle and car tracks.

In June 2016, SkyLand – a joint venture between local Jet’s Group and India-based real estate firm Star5 Development Pvt Ltd – announced that it would invest $30 million into constructing an affordable apartment complex in the satellite city, and $60 million into an upscale housing project.

Chanthorn said the proposed floating market would be more than just a novelty, it would be established as a fully functioning commerce centre to serve both tourists and the surrounding community.

In addition to souvenirs and traditional handicrafts popular with tourists, vendors would also sell food, vegetables and household goods.

He added that the new market would not be designed to emulate the floating markets of central Thailand that are popular with package tours. Instead it would be based on historic Khmer examples.

“Our floating market will be based on ancient Khmer traditional design that follows the norm of the Longvek era,” he said, referring to the city that became the capital of ancient Cambodia after the sacking of Angkor by the Siamese in 1431.

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, said the proposed floating market was innovative in that it would include entertainment facilities that could attract both local and international tourists.

“This is a huge investment into developing a floating market in a good natural location,” he said.

“But the project will only succeed if the tourist products are attractive, safe, hygienic and well-marketed.”