Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Floating village on the Tonle Sap, 1 hour from Angkor Wat

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After a few days in Siem Reap, it’s time to take a break from the dozens of Angkor-era temples that are available to see.  One of the best alternate trips is to travel to one of the floating villages on the Tonle Sap.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and is the life blood of the Cambodian (Khmer) people.  It is known for the reverse flow of its water from wet to dry season and the rich biodiversity surrounding the lake.

When I last visited Siem Reap seven years ago, I visited another village closer to town.  Since then, that village has become a tourist magnet with dozens of larger tour groups with the result that it sometimes feels like there are more tourists than villagers.

This floating village is about one hour south of Siem Reap with the last 15 kilometers over a dusty and narrow road, passing several small villages before stopping at land’s end at Kampong Kleang.   From Kampong Kleang, you boat down a narrow waterway for open water.  Ten minutes later you arrive at this village.  By June, the village will be gone, as it is rainy season and the lake will rise about 9 meters.  The village will then be moved closer to land.  In fact, the waterway will also disappear as its channel will submerge under the rising water level.

The residents of this floating village are ethnic Vietnamese whose principal livelihood is fishing (as you can probably guess).  Check out the last photo below with the large pig in a floating cage.  Also the small boat in the next to last photo is a local version of a grocery store.

This was not the best morning for photographs due to diffuse hazy light. And when you’re captive to a boat, it’s a bit difficult to plan your photos, both in terms of lighting (the location of the sun)  and the distance between your camera and your subject.  Sometimes you have to improvise.

Photos taken with a Leica M8 and a Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.







Written by leolaksi

May 25, 2009 at 6:51 am

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