Dan and I visited Kampong Plouk, one of Cambodia’s Floating Villages, for a few hours one afternoon after doing some temple exploring in Angkor and the BEST lunch at The Hut! Unknown to us (although we did specifically request to visit the Floating Village), it was dry season and the experience on the Floating Village was certainly different than we imagined, in more ways than one…. In any case, it was quite interesting to visit the village. I can only imagine what it would look like not during the dry season!
By way of a bit of background, Cambodia is home to a number of “floating villages,” or villages built along rivers or lakes, where all the buildings are either on very tall stilts or float (like a house boat). As a sad twist, I later learned that most of the residents are ethnically Vietnamese people who live in Cambodia but cannot legally work in Cambodia. I really wish that I had known more about the Floating Villages prior to visiting, and done something to help out while I was there.
Our tour started by boarding a really old wooden boat; honestly, I thought that it may sink… Spoiler alert, it did not, but it was touch and go getting out of the dock. We ran into several other boats (literally) but the boat was surprisingly fine. After we maneuvered out of the dock, the old motor was started up and we were off!
The Floating Village was quite interesting, although I think that it would have been much cooler to visit when the water was at its full height. For your reference, during wet season, the river comes up nearly to the bottom of the houses, fully covering the stilts! Its crazy to think that these wooden stilts hold these houses up the entire wet season.
After visiting the Floating Village the boat took us out into Tonle Sap lake and we visited a restaurant and alligator farm (odd, I know?) in the middle of the lake. Truly, the alligator “farm” was a bit uncomfortable and our guides recommended against eating anything from the restaurant…who knows? In any case, we headed his suggestion and only spent about 15 minutes here and then made our way back through the Floating Village. Side note, according to our guide, there are no alligators in the lake…
The entire afternoon was very interesting and eyeopening, and it was even more so know after reading about the Floating Villages. I would definitely recommend an afternoon visit to the Floating Villages if you have time, but know that its not going to be a rosy, fun afternoon.
STEAL OUR TRIP
We visited Kampong Plouk with Happy Angkor Tours, who also took us to visit Angkor. The Floating Villages were a bonus trip one afternoon after touring Angkor.
Happy Angkor Tour: The tour company that we used to tour Angkor Wat and the Floating Village over 2 days. Our guide was Samath and our driver was Mr. Srom. We paid $163 total for the 2 days guided tour of Angkor and the Floating Village, pick up and drop off at our hotel, and the tour (including water and cold wash clothes after each temple). Totally worth the money.
ON A BUDGET
Taking a boat ride through the Floating Villages is not expensive; the most expensive cost is getting from Siem Reap to the Floating Villages (about an hour). Many companies and tour guides will combine a trip to the Floating Villages with a morning tour of Angkor.