Village of Kompong Pluk, CambodiaIf you’re visiting Cambodia’s Angkor temples and crave for a change of scene, we discovered a village in Tonle  Sap Lake that may sooth your “templed out” soul.  No,  it’s not the heavily touristed and more accessible floating village of Chong Kneas but a more fascinating village about 25 kms further east.

Located within the floodplains of Tonle Sap, Kompong Phluk is a village of tall stilted houses surrounded by serene flooded mangrove forest. A visit to the village provides a good insight into the way of life of the people whose livelihood depends on the ebb and flow of Tonle Sap Lake. Kompong Phluk will appear different depending on the season you visit.

Boat ride to Kompong Phluk, tonle Sap, CambodiaFrom Siem Reap, we took about an hour tuk-tuk ride through the beautiful countryside to the port in the village of Roulus where we boarded a boat that would take us to Kompong Phluk.

Tonle Sap Lake, CambodiaTonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Asia and the source of 50% of Cambodia’s fish consumption. It has a unique ecology. When the season changes so does the direction of its flow. It also shrink and expands according to season.

Village School and Hall, Kompong Phluk, CambodiaAfter 45 minutes of relaxing boat ride, we caught sight of the first structures in the village – a regal pagoda-like hall and a secondary school on high stilts.

Girl rowing a boat, Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaFew minutes later, the rest of the village was within our sight.

Stilted House, Kompong Pluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaWe were amazed by the sight of houses that were built over stilts and tower six to eight meters high.

Stilted Houses in  Floating Village of Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Stilted Houses in Floating Village of Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Stilted House, Kompong Pluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaIt was fascinating to note that the row of houses on one side are much larger and more colorful compared to the row of houses on the other side. We called this side the Beverly Hills of Kompong Phluk:)

Stilted House, Kompong Pluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaThis is the side of cheaper real estate. Houses are much smaller and cramped.

Stilted House, Kompong Pluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaRegardless of the size of the houses, each household owns a boat or two in this village where the economy is centered on fishing and shrimp harvesting.

_09-Kompong Pluk, CambodiaBehind this fisherman is a floating pig pen!  Apparently, they don’t limit their protein intake to seafood.

_10a-Kompong Pluk, CambodiaVillagers perform most of their daily chores right on the lake – laundry, dishwashing, bathing, etc…..

Kompong Pluk, CambodiaWe transferred into a small canoe that afforded us an upclose observation of the village scenes and allowed us to navigate the narrow waterways of the flooded forest.

Women in Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaWomen cleaning fish.

Kompong Pluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaUpclose view of the stilts. They look so thin and delicate that its amazing how they can support the weight of a house.

Grocery Store in Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaThe village supermarket.

Children in Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaLike typical kids, the children of Kompong Phluk enjoy playing in their backyard, only theirs is wet.

Children in  Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, Cambodia

_15a-Kompong Pluk, Cambodia

Kompong Pluk, Cambodia

Flooded Forest, Kompong Pluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaPaddling our way to the flooded forest.

Flooded Forest, Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaWe meandered through the tranquil labyrinth of waterways where there were no other souls in sight.

Flooded Forest, Kompong Pluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaIt was so peaceful and the only sound we heard was the calming splash of water from the oar.

Flooded Forest, Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaIt was very meditative to stare at the reflection of the trees on the clear water.

Kompong Pluk, CambodiaOn our way back to the port, we stopped by a sub-village of Kompong Phluk that is located on a higher ground and is never immersed in water. It has a temple and a school.  We met some school children who Keith entertained with his usual magic trick.

Classsroom in Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap.  CambodiaThe magic trick was a big hit that Keith was invited to a classroom to perform and to teach his trick to the kids.


We visited Kompong Phluk in November which is close to the tail end of the wet season.  If we visited more than a month later, we would be exploring the village on foot instead of boat.  Here are some photos of the village from sources who visited Kompong Phluk during dry season.


Dry Seson, Kompong Phluk, Tonle Sap, CambodiaRemember that Kompong Phluk is on the floodplain of Tonle Sap where the water rises and drains according to season. During the dry season, the villagers set up temporary houses on the lakeside where they dry up shrimps to produce shrimp paste, a staple condiment in Cambodia.  As soon as the water rises, they return to their permanent stilted homes on the floodplain.  And the cycle continues.


Travel Notes:
• We paid $20 per person for the private boat ride to Kompong Phluk.
• The ride around the village and flooded forest took about 2.5 hours.

This link is part of Travel Photo Thursday. Check it out for more interesting travel links.

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About Marisol

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48 responses to “Kompong Phluk: The Village of Stilted Houses and Flooded Forest

  1. Leigh

    What an interesting post to read and what an incredible difference between dry and wet seasons. I can’t imagine the actual living conditions — especially when I think of toilets – hmmm. And a floating pig enclosure is something else. What a confined life too for the pig.
    My eyes have been opened .
    Leigh recently posted..A Visit to the Athabasca Falls near Jasper, AlbertaMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Leigh, its interesting and different way of life indeed. But people seem to deal with their living condition with ease; It’s the only lifestyle they came to know and the general before them.

  2. I have bookmarked this because we will be in Cambodia this November. How amazing that the houses are on land in the dry season. I am glad we are going when they will be under water. I thought some of the trees looked like they were not normally under water. :) I think this will be a perfect trip for us.
    budget jan recently posted..The Jewel in Portugal’s Crown is… SintraMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Jan, great! I’m sure you will enjoy this trip. It’s truly fascinating seeing the village in person.

  3. I love seeing different cultures and how the people live. It was also great to compare the houses in the dry and wet seasons. I’m wondering if the rising water level ever reaches the houses…they seem so high. Wonderful photos and story.
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted..Our Summer Hideaway: Rottnest Island on InstagramMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jenny, we were told that if they get a heavy rainfall the water level reaches close to the houses. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  4. This place is absolutely fascinating especially the floating pig pens and the pagoda-like hall. What a contrast between wet and dry season and between the rich and poor. It is amazing to see how they built these houses and for it to have withstood time and weather elements. I love your shots of the flooded forest and how peaceful it looks.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..The Underground Wonders of Carlsbad CavernsMy Profile

    • Hi Mary, it truly is so fascinating in so many ways. Their way of life exemplies the great resilience that the Cambodians are known for. The flooded forest was very peaceful and we enjoyed our time in there very much.

  5. It’s interesting that your post of elevated houses follows Michele’s with the Long Neck people.
    So fascinating to read this, especially for me since I learned to swim (and not very well) when I was much older than these children. The homes are really beautiful. I wonder what type of wood they use for the stilts and how often they do repairs.
    It’s lovely to read about other places. Angkor Wat is on my ever expanding list of places to see and I’ll keep this post in mind for when I do go. Thanks!
    InsideJourneys recently posted..It’s Mango Season in JamaicaMy Profile

    • Hi Marcia, the homes are really fascinating . Not sure of the kind of wood they used but we were told that they reinforce the stilts every turn of the season. Angkor Wat and other Angkor temples are wonderful places to visit. I hope you get there soon.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Eileen, that’s so well said. So true how they learn to adapt to the changes of nature around them. Put us all in the west to shame.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Debbie, thanks. The water gets almost as high as the houses when they get lots of rain, but normally gets it up to half of the stilts. The flooded forest was very memorable; we had a very peaceful time there.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Margaret, the flooded forest was a wonderful experience. I hope you get to visit it sometime soon.

  6. I love that Keith was invited to the school to show off his magic trick. This looks like a great excursion out of Siem Reap and not over-run with tourist. We’re planning to go there in the next year, so I’ll have to keep this lake in mind.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Visiting the Long Neck TribeMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Michelle, it was really great experience and rewarding for Keith to be invited to the classroom. It’s definitely a great excursion from Siem Reap. I’m sure your family will enjoy it.

  7. Our world is full of unique cultures, and this one is something I’ve never heard about before. It was a very interesting read. Love the photos of the flooded forest.
    Salika Jay recently posted..6 Best Family Days Out In BritainMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Salika, isn’t that amazing how diverse the cultures in this world is? And that’s what makes traveling so fascinating – there so much to discover, so much to learn.

  8. Agness

    We lived in Siem Reap for two months and this place is amazing to explore but unfortunately we didn’t manage to go there. It was a heavy rain at that time and the Kompong Phluk village was absolutely flooded. That was a real pitty. Looking at those photos and reading your posts makes me so jealous!
    Agness recently posted..What the Heck are Chinese Eating for Breakfast? (Food Options and Prices)My Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Agness, that’s too bad. I hope you can visit it when you return to Siem Reap; it truly is an amazing place to explore. Too bad also that we didn’t get to meet you in Sierm Reap; you just for Poland when we got there.

  9. denise

    One of the first few photos – the one with the lady in the boat and the stilt houses blurred behind her – is stunning
    denise recently posted..On why I love being an expatMy Profile

    • Marisol@TravelingSolemates

      Thanks Den. That’s my favorite as well.

  10. Dennis

    This floating village is truly different than the one I saw on Tonle Sap lake on my way to Phnom Penh years ago. Besides your boat ride in the flooded forest, I like so much that you had a chance to interact with locals – just wowing the school kids with magic is one of a kind!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Dennis, I’ve been to other villages in Tonle Sap few years ago and I say this one is truly unique. Yes, meeting the local kids was a very special experience.

  11. Bama

    What an interesting place to visit around Tonle Sap! I went to Siem Reap in summer 2011 but I skipped the lake altogether. I didn’t regret that….until I saw your pictures in this post. One day when I return to Cambodia I’ll make sure to visit this village – and ask you for any suggestion. :)
    Bama recently posted..Taipei: Thriving Amidst UncertaintiesMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Bama, this lake village is really worth a visit. Hope you can check it out next time you’re in Cambodia.

  12. jill

    I remember visiting that village when we were in Cambodia a few years back. Isn’t it fascinating to live in such a place at the mercy of the river?
    jill recently posted..Sola to NicaraguaMy Profile

  13. you capture beautiful photos! this is something we miss when we revisited Siem Reap last year, because we find the $20 per person a bit hefty. LOL but it’s interesting though because another group was charged $20 for one boat. We ended up touring the boat houses near the road though. Now seeing your photos, esp of that flooded forest convinced me that I should take the tour next time. 😀
    Inside Southeast Asia recently posted..5 Child-Friendly Destinations in ThailandMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      I hope you take the tour next time. It really is worth a visit.

  14. This looks incredible and as we’ll be heading to Cambodia in less than a week, I’ve taken plenty of notes! This is something I would love to do (we have yet to see a floating village despite months in Asia) and that mangrove forest was surreal! I’m just wondering whether hitting this area in early June will be too early in the wet season for it to be so beautiful…
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..How To Spend $100 A Day In The PhilippinesMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Steph, you’ll love Cambodia. It’s fascinating and the people are just wonderful. They said the water in Kompong Phluk has a good flow in June so you should be okay. Enjoy it and the rest of your trip in Cambodia.

  15. Robby

    Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m
    definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.
    Robby recently posted..RobbyMy Profile

    • Traveling Solemates

      HI Robby,
      Thanks. You can see our twitter link on the sidebar of each post page.

  16. sujoy das

    hi – I am Sujoy Das – From India, I also Like to travel . and Sir – i really like the pic and all the information u noted as along with Pictures….
    Wish U Good Luck and Hope – we r gona see some more pic ( Good works) from U with all the details .

    • Marisol

      Hi Sujoy Das, thank you for visiting the blog and for you good wishes. We’re glad that you have enjoyed this post and we hope you come back for more.

  17. test

    lookie here

  18. Danielle Craig

    Hello! I am planning a week long trip to Siem Reap in April and want to visit the Kompong Phluk while I am there. You said you got a private boat tour after a tuk tuk took you to Roulus. I’m sure I can arrange a tuk tuk from my hotel in Siem Reap to take me to Roulus and pick me back up, but how did you organize the boat tour?

    Thank you!

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