A couple of weeks ago I wrote about magical Angkor Wat and why I find it so fascinating. The temple region itself is totally amazing but what I really find fascinating is the great diversity of the area around Siem Reap.
Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and of great importance to Cambodia. It’s a bit more unusual than “normal” lakes: Its flow changes direction twice a year and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. This is why entire villages are dismantled due to the season and the waterline of the lake. Therefore most villages around the Great Lake have adjusted by living in so called “floating villages” on boats. They are home to a large Vietnamese & Cham community and they managed to adapt very well to the lake’s seasonal changes.
So, whether it’s the school or rubbish dump, living room or local store – the boat it not only the main transport system but also the grounding for every resident.
Chong Khneas is the name of famous floating village at the edge of the lake. It takes a 30-minute-car-ride from Siem Reap to the boat dock where boats wait for visitors any given time of the day. The boat trip through the floating village takes approximately two hours. Be aware though, it’s total rip off! I’d never ever do it again, since this really is the worse I have ever experienced! Back when we visited the first time (over 10 years ago), the area wasn’t owned by a private company like today, therefore the floating village was still unique…sad to see what happened to this place!
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