A Small Stream That Flows Into A Major River Floating Village in Cambodia – Unique Way of Living on Water!

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Floating Village in Cambodia – Unique Way of Living on Water!

Cambodia is famous for its quaint floating villages that have become a tourist attraction due to its uniqueness. Residents living next to the Tonle Sap lake have built villages and floating is a way to adapt to the seasonal variations of the river.

Why are they floating?

The water level in the Tonle Sap rises to 3000 square kilometers during the rainy season and from a depth of 2 meters to a depth of 14 meters in the dry season to a total of 10,000 square kilometers. During the monsoons, water flows into it from the great trans-boundary river Mekong. The rainy season is from June to October, while the dry season is from November to May.

The villages are made up of small houses and clustered together giving it a unique charm. They undergo a dramatic transformation during the rainy season, where the floating villages rise and fall with any change in the water level. However, during the dry season, people live near the coast, where houses are built on stilts.

Life in a floating village:

Communities practically live on water. Most of the people belong to the ethnic Vietnamese and Cham communities. These people earn their livelihood by fishing on the lake. The lake has nearly 300 different species as well as an abundance of fish including crocodiles, turtles and snakes, making it a major source of life. The lake provides food for more than 3,000,000 people.

The cost of land is very high for Cambodian residents. Many have to live on water because they do not own land. Those who cannot afford it choose to live in these floating villages regardless of the danger.

The amazing floating villages also have floating shops, schools, churches, hospitals and other institutions that allow the people to live above water in complete comfort. Many of these facilities are built on stilts. Most of the basic necessities are built with people’s needs in mind, including a mechanic shop and a crocodile farm! For tourists there are fancy restaurants and sundecks from where we can gaze at the expanse of water, marveling at the beauty of a strange way of life!

Visit the floating villages:

There are three main floating villages around Siem Reap; Kompong Khleang, Chong Kneas and Kompong Phluk. Being the closest to Siem Reap, Chong Knias is the most popular of them all. Kompong Khleang has approximately 6000 people, Chong Kneas 5000 and Kompong Phluk 2800. Floating Houses Spread far and wide, the largest floating village is Kompong Khaleng.

Chong Kneas is only 15 km from Siem Reap and can be easily reached by boat in less than an hour. Boats are available at the ticket booth throughout the day. It takes about 2 hours to walk around the village. These boats pass through small villages on both sides of the river. Little children with snakes wrapped around their necks, they are soft drinks vendors, jump from one moving boat to another without the slightest hesitation! You can’t resist buying a can of soft drink for $1 after seeing such a daring stunt by a mere 7-year-old boy! Boats can also be hired for day trips to visit Kompong Phluk and Kompong Khleang.

Best time to visit:

You can visit Cambodia at any time of the year. The place has a tropical climate that is perfect for all visitors. However, monsoons are best if you want to marvel at the floating villages to their fullest extent. December and January are the most favorable months with relatively low humidity.

Cambodia is full of attractions but if you just want to experience a bold and creative lifestyle; These inspiring villages on the water are worth a visit. Enjoy rich cuisine at some of the floating restaurants.

Tips:

  • If you’re done visiting the other attractions in Siem Reap, take a late afternoon trip to a village and enjoy the sunset in the back drop.

  • On arrival in Siem Reap, a late afternoon village tour can also be arranged, before visiting Angkor Wat the next day.

  • Read more about Cambodia on Ilovetripping

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