We saw a lot during our day around Kampong Chhnang with Channy and Sary but for the first part of the tour they handed us over to a boatman who paddled us between some absolutely stunning villages on Tonle Sap River. The guy was very sweet but didn’t speak much English, so there’s not a lot information I can share with you about the places we saw. From Lonely Planet, there are a couple of villages they list (Phoum Kandal and Chong Kos), but I’m not sure which exactly we visited with him.
What I can say was that I just loved floating down the “lanes” of water, passing slowly by people’s homes with time enough to wave to the kids or sneak a peek at the every day goings on – cooking, gossiping, washing clothes, watching television and lots of napping in hammocks. The houses were amazing, ranging from totally ramshackle huts made primarily from dried vegetation, to creations pieced together from multiple boats, to neat and cozy painted wood structures with glass windows, satellite TV and potted plants on the veranda – all of them floating on the surface of the river. It was amazing to see whole rows of houses start to bob gently up and down when ever a motorized boat sped by.
The couple hours we spent on the water were totally fascinating and atmospheric. If you are thinking of trying it, I’d just advise covering up (a wide-brimmed hat is a good idea!) and bringing enough water along!
I took tons and tons of photos but it was tough to get good shots from a moving vessel! Of course that’s not stopping me from posting a bunch of them. 😉 None of them manage to come close to capturing how charming the villages on the water were though!
View of one of the villages from halfway across the river
Vendors paddling their wares between houses. I’m not sure what they were selling (something cold by the looks of those coolers) but the man (standing) was ringing a bell as he paddled. If you look close you can see it in his left hand. Check the power lines running above/between the houses as well. 🙂
The houses on the water varied greatly. Here is a good-sized house made of palm fronds with laundry drying on one wall.
Something a bit sturdier looking…
Nap time on a houseboat
A lawn that needs no watering?
Working on a boat
Fisherman casting his net
Exterior of one floating house. I love the cleaning gear and the dishes on the “back stoop”
A floating shop, soda on display in the window
Bridge before the village on stilts
Here is a panoramic shot of the village on awesomely tall stilts on the edge of the water. Click for an enlarged view.