This is a trip that is definitely for the adventurous traveler! It started with a dusty tuk-tuk ride down a pot hole filled road to a long open boat on the Tonle Sap lake. One of the things that make Asia so unique and special are the floating villages and markets you find on most lakes and rivers. Each floating village is quite unique with its own character and atmosphere created by the people.
The boats we were travelling in were very basic, the small pillow didn’t quite cushion the hard seat but who needed luxury when on an adventure.
My mom and I were super excited about visiting the floating village on the lake as we have heard a lot about it and it was mentioned to us by our fabulous tuk-tuk driver. He drove us out to Tonle Sap lake and helped us arrange this Floating Village tour.
This was very tranquil on the lake and we were getting a glimpse of a unique lifestyle. As we floated past people would wave and some would even pose for a photo ot two. To think they spend most of their time on the water, fishing or living in a floating house. Even their shops and schools are built to float around on the lake.
As we approached the village we were again reminded that we were outsiders observing this unique way of living. There were floating pigpens, flower markets and villagers going about their everyday life. On the river bank all the homes were built on stilts, and most had decks outfitted with container gardens with Lemon grass, herbs, vegetables and ornamental flowers.
Our first stop was Chong Kneas floating village which featured absurdities such as small kids sporting huge water snakes and so-called crocodile farms which in reality are small ponds where dozens of crocodiles are crammed together.
Young children in small canoe like boats paddled past us and smiled broadly for photos, posing with their snakes. Women with small boats filled with fruits and vegetables docked next to the floating restaurant trying to sell their produce.
Not only was there a floating restaurant but also a local temple and schoolhouse that one could visit. The floating restaurant was very basic, it had drinks and cooked shrimps for sale for very little money so this is where we had our lunch before continuing our adventure.
There were no postcard pushers as in the city and all the other usual tourist sites, just village people going about their daily life in this tranquil setting.
We floated past Kompong Phluk a small village which is truly authentic. Thanks to its low number of visitors. It felt genuinely untouched and peaceful.
I’d recommend this as a nice restful break between temple visits if you ever have the opportunity to visit Siem Reap.