Mekong Floating Bungalows

Eco-tourism research project in Phnom Penh
A floating bungalow in front of Phnom Penh

Research on solar air conditioning

In 2006, we developed a unique gravity based solar water heater system, using locally available parts. After a year of research, tests and adjustments we installed this system in most of the bathrooms of the Pavilion, Kabiki, and Blue Lime. In 2009, we started a more ambitious research project, the development of a globally carbon neutral hotel concept, including solar powered air-conditioning and lighting.

The project is being carried by the group that runs the hotels Pavilion, Plantation, Kabiki, 240, elsewhere beds and Blue Lime in Phnom Penh.

How does it work?

How it works

Air conditioning circuit

To avoid any physical and ecological impact on the site, we decided to go for a floating structure. When removed, this option leaves no traces behind and prevents using local people’s or wildlife’s living spaces.

With a strong energy saving objective, the project redefines the essential energy needs of a tourist in a tropical country hotel. Mainly, we restricted the air-cooling to acceptable limits, i.e. without affecting too much comfort:

  • air-cooling when really needed, 8 hours at night (guest out for daytime visits);
  • air-cooling where really needed, concentrated within the space of the bed's mosquito net (wasted outside).

Dividing the usage duration by 3 and the volume by 10 allowed us to consider the sun as a possible energy source.

In order to avoid using highly polluting deep-cycle batteries, energy is stored by cooling water reserves when the sun is shining. At night, the cold water tank then cools the air inside the space confined by the mosquito net.

The river flowing under the bungalow cools the air-conditioning heat-exchangers with a much higher efficiency than the air blown by the fan of a conventional external split unit.

A first prototype has been completed after two years of efforts and with the help of interns from Ecole Centrale of Lyon and the National Polythechnic Institute of Cambodia.

We are now looking for a financial partner to further develop this project to an operating zero-emission floating hotel. It would be the first of its kind in Indochina.

The Room

The room inside the bungalow

The room itself is 5m wide by 7 meters long with a very large bed (as it is the only air-conditioned space). There is a comfortable bathroom attached with solar heated water from a unique system we have designed. A terrace of 7m x 3m is in front of the room, allowing a dramatic vue on the river.


The Mekong Bungalows are located in Arexat, accross the Mekong, in front of Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace. The are accessible by ferry departing every 20 minutes from behind Imperial Garden and Cambodiana hotels.

Contact us

If you wish to take part in this project, please contact us at