I would love to tell you about Tonle Sap Lake and why it is a ‘must see’ destination.
Tonle Sap is one of the largest lakes in Southeast Asia. Tonle Sap Lake covers an area of 11 thousand square kilometers in the wet season which is from August to November. There are 5 Cambodian provinces surrounding this huge lake and each province has both floating villages and villages which flood in the wet season.
Siem Reap is one of the provinces located beside Tonie Sap Lake so tourists who come to Siem Reap should definitely go and see it, as it is such a unique experience. Let me describe to you about two of the floating and flooded villages you can visit from Siem Reap.
Floating village of Mechrey
To get to this floating village it takes around 30 minutes by car from Siem Reap city. Along the way we can see Cambodian villages, duck farms, rice fields and the local people going about their daily activities.
As you travel around Tonie Sap Lake by boat you will see the local people living in their floating houses, see their floating school and church, their floating markets and their fish and crocodiles farms.
We can then watch a beautiful sunset over Tonie Sap Lake from the boat.
Kampong Phluk កំពង់ភ្លុក
Kompong Phluk is located around 35km from Siem Reap city and takes about 45 minutes by car to get there. Along the way we can view the countryside, local villages, cows, water buffaloes and other sights.
To get to the flooded village, tourists will enjoy a ride on a boat. The boat tour takes around 2 hours. Tourist can enjoy seeing the flooded village with is flooded school, flooded pagoda, flooded jungle, fish and crocodile farms. What makes this tour unique is that tourists can go by paddle boat on the open lake and also through the flooded jungle like the fishermen do when they are fishing.
Either of these tours (or both) which I would love to take you on are amazing experiences of this natural wonder of Cambodia which you will truly enjoy and always remember.
Kom Pong Klang at around 45km from Siem Reap is a little more expensive, a very nice village full of local village houses and a school. Rating very well on trip advisor, perhaps because it is an unpopular destination with local drivers, who prefer the shorter drive to the more popular but grubby Chong Khneas.
Kom pong Kleang is one of the unique villages where people make a living by fishing. We get there by a nice drive along the way there with many local villages along the road especially you can get to see the real Cambodian village.
Kom pong Kleang is the only village where you can see both floating village and the flooded village at the same village. You need to catch the boat trip to enjoy to see both village by boats especially get to see fishing farm, villages, school, church …etc.
Life there very simple, friendly people, a lot of local kids running around village on the way sometimes of the years we can see local grow different vegetables but some season not but still very nice drive there.
Chong Khneas ចុងឃ្នាស (Chong Kneas)
Chong Khneas is best avoided, the so called port authority monopolies the boats and many many customers have found their employees – the boat drivers & black uniformed guides too pushy; for example trying to push you into buying something dubious for an orphan. Refusing to buy often results in these people turning rude and even a bit scary, perhaps due to substance abuse. In recent years many children can be found begging.
I don’t usually discourage travelers from going to many places alone, but this is one, until Chong Khneas lift’s it’s game, there are many better places to see. If you still want to go let us take you and arrange the boat driver and guide in advance, perhaps combined with a visit to Kampong Phluk.