If 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.
Tonle 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.
It 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:)
On 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.
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.
Remember 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.
• 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.