Visit the floating villages, home to many thousands of people who spend more time on water than on land
A visit to the floating villages on the Tonle Sap Lake – one of the largest lakes in Asia, gives an insight how these predominantly Vietnamese people make a living from the lake.
The villages are self sustaining even growing their own rice in specially adapted water fields and keep stocks of pigs and chicken.
There are a number of floating villages close to Siem Reap
The floating villages are mainly a permanent settlement and some inhabitants seldom visit the main land.
Not only are the houses and homes of the floating village designed to move with the ebb and flow of the lake but the catfish has evolved and has feet which allows it to walk on land to find a water pool during the dry season.
The closest village Chong Kneas is very busy with large number of tourists visiting daily.
Among the lake side villages – boat building is a very skilled crafted. The craftsmen use the dry season to built boats and make repairs before the rains come and the water rises 20 to 30 feet.
It is thought that over 3.5 million people depend on the lake for their lively hood and subsistence.
The Prek Toal bird sanctuary is accessible from Siem Reap, though it involves an early morning start in order to catch the boat from Chlong Kneas. During the dry season the bird reserve plays host to a huge range of large water birds such as Storks, Pelican, Fish Eagle and many more
A less frequented village is Kompung Phluk about 30km further south – which is larger having a population of approx. 30,000 and has both a stilted village and floating village on the lake.
In the dry season some of the people from the stilted village will move out to the floating village to fish- thus the population size varies with the water level.
The lake is one of the riches largest inland fisheries in the world. Over 70% of the fish consumed in Cambodia are caught on the lake.