A tour of Kom­pong Kh­leang with Be­yond Unique Es­capes

Cambodia Insight - - CONTENTS -

Tonle Sap Lake Vil­lages and com­mu­ni­ties are an amaz­ing site at any time of the year and there are a num­ber of these vil­lages that can be vis­ited from Siem Reap in Cam­bo­dia. Sit­u­ated on the flood plains of the Tonle Sap lake the world around these homes un­der­goes dra­matic trans­for­ma­tion from dry to wet sea­son. In the dry sea­son homes tower on their tall spindly stilts. Fish­er­men re­pair boats and nets, chil­dren make clay balls to use with their sling shots and en­joy the free­dom of be­ing able to run around.

In the wet sea­son the wa­ter laps at the floor boards of the houses, travel is lim­ited to wooden ca­noes, boats and other makeshift wa­ter­craft; even large steel cook­ing bowls and buck­ets! Chil­dren pad­dle to and from school and life gen­er­ally re­volves around fish­ing. In Kom­pong Kh­leang, many fam­i­lies also have very sim­ple house­boats that they use to ven­ture out fur­ther onto the lake when the wa­ter is high. Kom­pong Kh­leang float­ing com­mu­nity is lo­cated an hour drive from Siem Reap and is gen­er­ally ac­ces­si­ble all year round, though it de­pends on the lake lev­els which vary from year to year. Just be­fore turn­ing off Na­tional Road No. 6, we stop at a small lo­cal mar­ket, Ph­saa Th­nal Jaek where you can see piles of fresh veg­eta­bles, lo­cal break­fast restau­rants, tasty snacks and of course, fish fish fish!... still alive and freshly caught. Oth­ers are salted and sun-dried, all from the huge nearby great lake.

We drive another 20 min­utes be­fore reach­ing the boat sta­tion. Be­fore we do though, we take a short walk in the vil­lage to see some of the stilted houses and lo­cal shops up close and to say ‘bye bye’ to the very friendly chil­dren and vil­lagers. There are very few tourists in the vil­lage now, so it’s a great time to take pho­tos and wan­der around.

We board the boat and mo­tor through the vil­lage to see some of the houses from wa­ter level, and to see some of the fish­ing meth­ods up close...such as ‘fish bad­minton’! The first part of the vil­lage is stilted houses but as you progress fur­ther to­wards the lake, the houses dis­ap­pear and are re­placed by man­grove for­est and open wa­ter. As the wa­ter re­cedes and the land starts to dry out, some fish­ing fam­i­lies be­come farm­ers, grow­ing snake beans and wa­ter­mel­ons know as some of the best in the coun­try.

Even­tu­ally you will reach the float­ing houses made up of Kh­mer and Vietnamese fish­ing fam­i­lies. You can eas­ily tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween their na­tion­al­i­ties by the dec­o­ra­tion of their houses. When the wa­ter is low, they re­lo­cate their float­ing abodes fur­ther out onto the lake.

Fi­nally we ar­rive on the main body of the Great Tonle Sap lake; the guide will ex­plain about what makes the lake so spe­cial and why it is so im­por­tant to Cam­bo­dian and the whole re­gion. The Kom­pong Kh­leang Ex­pe­ri­ence in­cludes: • English speak­ing guide • Trans­port by A/C car or van • A visit to a lo­cal mar­ket • A vil­lage walk to learn about daily life

up close and meet the peo­ple • A 1 hour boat trip to ex­plore the vil­lage

and visit the lake • Bot­tled Wa­ter and Tow­els • Lo­cal snacks from the mar­ket • Visit to a sticky rice vil­lage

Dur­ing the wet sea­son

The vil­lage in the dry sea­son

$32 usd per per­son http://www.be­yon­duniqueescapes.com

Dry­ing the nets in the wet sea­son

A float­ing cook­ing plat­form

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cambodia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.