SOUTH EAST ASIA 2013
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KOMPONG PHLUK FLOATING VILLAGE

All photos © Ruud Leeuw

 

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Out on an excursion to Kampong Phluk (meaning 'Harbor of the Tusks'), a commune and village outside Siem Reap.
It takes about one hour (22 km!) in a tuk-tuk to reach it, which would be about the maximum I'd recommend
in this form of transport. Kampong Phluk is 'advertised' as a floating village on the Tonlé Sap, this isn't strictly
true, but more about that later. First some impressions from the road leading to the water.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Travelling through a few small communities, I failed to find names for them on the map, except 'Relouse'
which is the turn off from the N6 main road towards Tonlé Sap Lake.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Piggies going to market.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
A suspicious glance to the man with the camera; what does she carry on the bike?

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Perhaps they blasted this sandy road with a high-pressure water hose: all around was covered in brown dust.

The sign refers to www.waterforcambodia.org, bringing to our attention that over 50% of the rural Cambodian population do not have access to safe drinking water and 20% of the deaths of children under 5 are due to waterborne diseases; and how to help by donation.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
From a taxi or van I couldn't have take photos like these, so a tuk-tuk was the best option here for me.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Our destination came in sight. We reached a gate, just visible there, where we had to pay a considerable fee: 25 US dollars. All for the good cause of ecotourism and contribution to future growth of the region. A hefty fee, considering the wages here; wonder where that money goes too: foreign investors I suspect, cynic that I am!
The fee does keep many tourists away, of that I am sure.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
This is how it should look somewhere in the future. The point where we embarked was further upstream, the
village of Kompong Phluk is seen on the left; I doubt that road and infrastructure exists: I certainly saw no bridge.
And there were no boardwalks or structures so far into the water, in fact I saw none.

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
The office to charter a boat; the tuk-tuk had brought us here, over a very bumpy, badly maintained road.
We got a voucher at the gate, if I remember correctly, and handed it over here at 'the desk'. A boat driver
was pointed out, we got back into the tuk-tuk to get us to the boat. In the wet season one embarks at a much earlier point, perhaps at that gate (which was a brick building so probably didn't get flooded).
There may also to be the option of visiting it over water from Chong Khneas, the floating village nearer to Seam Riep

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
During the wet season the water level rises more than six meters.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Our boat and driver get their picture taken; we were (again) the only guests (not the last time either).

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
The driving seat, not exactly hi-tec is it?!

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Nice to see evidence of a school: Kampong Phluk Secondary School.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
The boatride was an interesting part and I forgot all about the bitter taste of a usd 25,- entrance fee.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Fishing is all done with netting and I guess he is patiently awaiting our moving on before he throws the net.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Kampong Pluk a.k.a Kompong Phluk, Kampong Phloek and Kompong Phlok; about 1 hour tuk-tuk ride away from Siem Reap and is often described as a floating village. And it sort of does float in metaphorical sense, but not in a way one would presumably think.
The houses of this kampong (kampong means ‘village’) are built on stilts 2-stories high. During the rainy season, when the water level is high, the stilts are covered in water giving the impression that the houses are floating.
People seem to abandon these house to take residence on the lake, do their fishing, and when the water level rises move back to the village.
The difference between now, as pictured, and in a few months time, is amazing.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
So this is Kampong Phluk, quite a sight.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
That kid throws a nicely coloured net. I guess Dad promised to keep an eye out but Mum knew he wouldn't so she keeps an eye out too, from up on that ridge.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Some festival in preparation; anyone who has moe details? [email - include reference to link of webpage]

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
It does get crowded on this wee river; and it is so shallow that the prop sits almost above the water level.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
A lot of attention to the transport of that ornament; it looks like a boat but with an open front it isn't supposed to float. Meanwhile we just sat there and watched the melee of boats untangle.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
I never saw something like this and was pleased I had undertaken this trip.
What would these people do with a baby crawling around or exploring on his baby walk?

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Well, this kiddo made it down safe at least; nice little shoes she (rings!) has on.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Watching the boats go by.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Evidence that the iMadness has reached Cambodia too.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Boat repairs.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
The river winds through the village and the prop of our boat kept picking up dirt, which effected the power and ability to make the turns. So regularly our 'captain at the wheel' had to clean the prop and on each turn he used the pole to get the boat in the right direction. This slowed us down a lot and others kept passing us.
Though I did feel some irritation that we seemingly had been assigned the worst possible boat, I resigned myself to the thought that we were in no hurry.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Removing the dirt and waterplants; but throwing it back in the water did not prevent reoccurrence I would think.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
The last bit to the lake is easy going, the river is wider and somewhat deeper.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
A guide is calling in her imminent arrival, I suppose.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Not exactly 'ecotourism' I would say, but then the tourists are always in a hurry.
The floating village is much smaller than Chong Khneas (link bottom page).

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
The area is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham communities, living in floating villages around the lake. Approximately 1.2 million people living in the greater Tonle Sap make their living by fishing on the local waters.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

The Tonlé Sap (‘Large Fresh Water River’, but more commonly translated as ‘Great Lake’) is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia.

The Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.
This lake is unusual for two reasons: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year's heavy rains begin in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonle_Sap ;

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
We were heading to this restaurant where someone had taken a resting pose in a hammock.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
After having enjoyed a refreshment we were offered a tour for usd 5,- each which we accepted.
At this point I have to explain that in the excursion was also mentioned 'The Flooded Forest' of which I had seen nothing yet, so I assumed we'd be taken there. Then we got in a very unstable, little boat, paddled by someone with a hip deformity. I felt a pang of guilt, thinking he would paddle us ashore.
But there was no Flooded Forest, for that is only in the wet season!
That young man paddled us for half an hour to a fish farm ('aqua culture catfish farms'!), but evidently the water is too muddy to see any fish; the boat was too unstable to stand in it and to look over the matting anyway.
Took his word for it that they were really big. Well, there wasn't much talking really.
With the midday sun burning down, and no protection, it was a good thing it didn't last longer than 30 minutes!

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Back for lunch.
The main crop of the lake (as I have read somewhere) is shrimp and it tasted excellent with fried rice.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Heading back.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Fascinating tattoo. And a nice smile.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Exchanging jokes. Or perhaps he is making fun of our boat.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Thank goodness the river is more quiet now, perhaps all of them are on a lunchbreak.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
A good view on the houses on stilts here. Apparently the tour did include the possibility of going ashore and walk around, but our skipper had lost a lot of time on the run in, keeping the boat going, and asked us in the most discouraging way if we wanted to visit the village. Or not.
We'd probably be hunted down by the locals to buy souvenirs.
So we agreed to sail on. Perhaps we should have taken the opportunity?

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Pigs.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Doing the chores.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
A friendly smile, hope he made a good catch.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Untangle the nets.

 

 

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Back in the tuk-tuk, on the bumpy dusty roads.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
More piggies going to market.

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
You don't see stiletto heels out here very much!

Kompong Phluk excursion, Cambodia 2013
Finishing this report with a friendly wave!

 

External LINKS:
www.holiday-in-angkor-wat.com/tonle-sap-chong-kneas.html
www.travelfish.org/blogs/cambodia/2012/07/25/chong-kneas/
www.waterforcambodia.org/
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kampong_Phluk

 

 

 

BANGKOK 3-2013, a start
PHNOM PENH, CAPITAL OF CAMBODIA
ROYAL PALACE & SILVER PAGODA
STREETS of PHNOM PENH
CAMBODIA'S KILLING FIELDS
COACH TRANSFER PHNOM PENH TO SIEM REAP
SIEM REAP
DAY 1 AT THE ANGKOR TEMPLES
DAY 2 AT THE ANGKOR TEMPLES
DAY 3 AT THE ANGKOR TEMPLES
CHONG KHNEAS FLOATING VILLAGE


 


 

 

 

Page compiled/updated: 03-Jun-2013 / 04-Jun-2013