Most people who have heard of Cambodia think of temples and Tomb Raider. But, what is there to explore after exploring all the temples. It is always stimulating to adventure off the beaten path. The floating village, Kampong Phluk, does not float all year around. The hand-made houses are suspended by 16-foot stilts like some wild act in a circus. Between June to November, which is the rainy season of the region, the water level rises just about the height of the buildings. However, the best time to visit the village is in December or January when the water level falls and gets to see temples and schools balancing on thick, wooden trunks. Take a boat up the river and cruise along the crocodile cages, lotus fields, and mangrove forests. Here, you will see the locals preparing buckets of rice right over a campfire, children paddling their way to school, and even a solar-powered bar. The river passing the village ends at Tonle Sap lake. You can get a mesmerizing sunset view from here to end the day.
This joint tour targeted to travelers with limited time helps them to explore Kampong Phluk and experience the rural life on Tonle Sap Lake in just a day. Located in the Siem Reap province of north-central Cambodia, Kampong Phluk is a village that sits on stilts on the lake. Kampong Phluk means "Harbor of the Tusks" in Khmer. Kampong Phluk is quite famous for its beautiful mangroves where you can enjoy rowing boat and get closer to the lines of stilt houses that arises from the water. Then, continue the canoe through the mangroves where you can capture lovely photos and enjoy the tranquillity. It will be best to visit this village in the morning with ideal months being from September to January.
Aside from Kampong Phluk, there are a couple of other floating villages; Chong Khneas and Kampong Khleang. Nowadays, Chong Khneas is getting very popular among tourists. As soon as you enter the village, several people approach you to sell, upsell, or guilt you into buying something "for the community." Even though other villages are tourist-driven, they are not as bad as Chong Khneas. Also, pay a visit to Kampong Khleang, which is about thirty-five kilometers far from Siem Reap. Kampong Khleang is also the largest community that around x more of the people inhabits in contrast to the other two villages. In the very dry season that falls from February to May, the surrounding of stilt houses is accessible on foot. You can explore more ground activities explored, including vegetable farming, smoked fish making, fixing fishing-net/traps, visiting the school, local market trading, and so on.
The village tour first passes a stretch of blue buildings, which are a school for the local children. Then, you will notice some big wooden cages that contain a bask of crocodiles captured around the area. However, they do not kill these crocodiles; they capture and release them far away so that they do not harm anyone in the village — experience life over water. You will see locals busy doing laundry, cooking, or fishing on top of their wooden boats. The entrance to their home is only the steep, swaying ladders to carry bags and dishes. It is a once in a lifetime experience to visit these villages.
The village river connects with the Tonle Sap lake, where most of the fishing takes place. We head towards the Tonle Sap lake and stop around the middle of the lake in the evening to catch the sun peaks below the clouds as the sky changes from a bright blue to a radiant orange. It is a remarkable way to end your day. You can also enjoy some sunset dinner cruise that allows you to enjoy the full experience.
We leave Siem Reap in the morning and head towards south/east through small gorgeous villages and rice fields towards the great lake. Depending on the time of year and the water levels, we go as far as we can by road and then take the boats.
The rest of the way, we travel via a boat into the main village. More than 3000 people reside in the village, and most of their occupation is fishing. Depending on the time of year, we will either sail through the main street of the village (when the water is high, the road becomes a river) or walk along with it in the low water season. We will get to see the way the rural fishing villagers work, live, and go about their daily lives from any way we take to reach the village. The village contains few schools and many stilted homes that heights up to 9 meters, made to adapt to the changing water levels. Whatever the water level may be, the place is beautiful all around the year and is a delightful place to visit. Here, you will get to see the daily lives of the Cambodians fisherman and farmers.
From here, we transfer to small boats and row through the flooded forest of Kampong Phluk. Then, we proceed towards the great lake and reach the small floating village. As the level of the lake varies throughout the year, the people of the region live and work according to the seasonal variance of the great lake.
Best Time to Visit
When the water caps from September to Mid of October, it is pretty much easy for local motor-boats to get around from the piers directly to its floating villages. Things look greener, and you can see more interesting river activities when the boat cruises past from one to another. However, the ideal time continues until the end of December when the water stays calm, and there is no rain from November.
Tour the floating village of Kampong Phluk and Tonle Sap lake
Learn about how the locals live their life in these rural villages
See how the community adapts to the seasonal variance of Tonle Sap
- Tour guide
- Car transfers
- Boat fees