If you're in Siem Reap and tired of the Angkor temples, you might check out the day trip to Kampong Phluk in Tonle Sap lake. Tonle Sap is the largest fresh-water lake in Southeast Asia.
So, why choose the floating village?
I booked a $25-trip through Villa Siem Reap Guest House. That includes transfer to/from the boat and guesthouse, the boat trip itself, tour guide and lunch.
Others have paid $15-20 per person, which includes the boat trip. For another $5 you can rent a boat to the mangrove forest.
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We left the Villa Siem Reap, and it was a long drive at first (40 min). When we sat in the long-tail boat, there were some problems getting through parts of the water because it was the dry season. During the wet season, the lake floods the area and the inhabitants have to adjust the height of their houses.
It was unusual to see that their everyday life is dependent on boats.
A nice lady paddled to us, and wanted to sell notebooks, pens,
fruit, clothing, tobacco etc.
I saw another lady washing while kneeling in her boat,
and a nude family taking a bath by jumping into the water from their stilted house. And don't be surprised if you see caged pigs floating on the water...! (the pigs are on a boat of course ;-))
And then we went on land and strolled around. It was a hot day, but the breeze from the lake made it more comfortable. Kids were playing and jumping around, and I met these two fellas.
Me and my guide stopped by the village Buddhist temple, and went to the backside to see the Wall of Sins (as I call it). There was a huge wall with paintings on it - I couldn't decide if I liked what I saw.
The guide explained the paintings:
Depending on what sins you have committed (murder, theft, jealousy etc.), you'll get punished for that specific evil act in the after-life. Like, one painting showed that three people was doomed to climb spiky trees in their after-lives.
After I was told this horrifying, but interesting story, we went for lunch at a stilted house (lunch included).
While eating and relaxing, I was listening to the exciting stories and facts my guide told me about Kampong Phluk.
After the tour, we took the boat back and stopped for lunch/snacks again, this time among the amazing mangrove trees. But the boat didn't float still, so it was hard to eat the fruit the guide brought ;-)
I really enjoyed this day and learned a lot as well. I recommend this tour if you want to do something different besides the Angkor Temples.
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