The Tonle Sap is a giant lake in Cambodia that increases and decreases in size based on the rains. During certain times of the year it even connects with the Mekong River. Our guide suggested I visit a small floating village on the lake called Kompong Phluk. This floating village is actually much less touristy and authentic, so I really got a feel for what life is like on the lake.
The houses are built on stills above the lake and small boats are used just like a car would be used. Kids are going to and from school, younger ones are swimming and playing in the water, and people are just generally going about their lives as I sailed quietly through their small town. Every now than I would get a wave and almost always a smile if they happened to look my way.
The fee for the boat ride is $20 and it takes about 30 minutes to get to the city. Once there we floated around and took in the sites, had a nice lunch (I had “lake fish”) and then went on a small tour of the flooded forest for $15.
The flooded forest is a densely packed forest that only a small canoe can get through. My guide, a woman old enough to be my mother, paddled me around in the forest for about 20 minutes. The trees are twisted and bent all over the place, with tree ferns, orchids and other plants on them (and even a few frogs). I was told that the trees are over 100 years old and many over 300 years old.
I really enjoyed the relaxing boat rides through Kompong Phluk and the Flooded Forest. I am not sure I could live perched above the water like they do, but it was really cool to see how people go about their lives and how happy they all seemed. They have schools, doctors, and even a temple.