Apparently I had to go through a scam at least one time during my trip and fate chose a huge lake and no chance to escape to be the best situation for it to finally happen… and with this being said: welcome to the floating village Kampong Phluk at Lake Tonlé Sap, Cambodia!! A village built on stilts, in which the residents depend on fishing during wet season from May until October and farming during dry season due to receding water from November until April. Spoiler alert: we (Canadian hostel pal and I) didn’t read about it before going so we didn’t know there was a dry season.
A bus picked us up at 2 pm near the hostel to drive us to the village. The one-hour-ride was spectacular. Who would’ve thought that it is possible that when driving over a pothole on full speed all passengers on the bus (including the driver) could hover simultaneously in the air for several seconds… fascinating how physical forces work! Miraculously we arrived there without any further damages (except for the vehicle which hit the ground very hard several times thanks to potholes). Getting off our flying vehicle we realized that there was no water but red-brownish dry mud-streets. The houses are built on very high stilts. During dry season they use the stilts to create little floors where they put their boots on, give their kids more space to play and sometimes they would also sleep there in hammocks.
Walking down the big street there is a little classroom under a house between the stilts where they teach English classes that are financed by donations in order to give the little ones a brighter perspective in future life. With tourists passing by it’s also an opportunity for them to practice. While talking to the teacher and some students I noticed a little girl sitting on a step leading up to a house. She waved and smiled at me and we made funny faces at each other. She was so adorable!
Later we got back on the bus that took us to a lakeside. They only told us that we would do a little boat tour, which sounded nice. So, we got on the boat, sat on its roof and off we went to discover lake Tonlé Sap. The engine of the boat was super loud and the water splashed towards our backs, but we didn’t care – it was so much fun. The landscape was wonderful; wild and seemingly untouched by humans. Some warm breezes stroked our cheeks and the sun sparkled on the surface of the water, on which small fishing boats gently floated.
Unfortunately our heavenly boat experience ended pretty quickly when the boat stopped at a “floating restaurant” where we were kept hostage for over two hours to then watch the sunset. Of course it was a trap, because it was way too early to see it and there was nothing to do, except for buying incredibly overpriced snacks and drinks. We would’ve enjoyed to spend more time in the village instead of being at the floating restaurant waiting… On top of that they had snakes and crocs in small cages for touristic purposes. We got on the roof and talked about life, traveling and what we miss about home. The two hours passed in no time, I even have to admit that the sunset was prettier than the one I saw the day before at Angkor.
After sunset we went back to the bus to get to the hostel. While driving back we shared S.’s earphones to listen to some good Canadian folk. By the way on the drive back the driver was extra careful so it was a calm ride.
Liked the village and the lake, didn’t like the part being stuck on a floating restaurant… if I ever come back, I will try to get there during wet season! That’s it for today. By the way I’m so sorry that I’m far behind with my posts but I’m trying my best to write as often as I can while exploring South East Asia.
As I am so far behind with writing my blog posts, today I sat on a park bench in cold Nara (yes, I’m currently in Japan), when the sun came out. While I closed my eyes facing the sun it suddenly hit me how lucky and blessed I am to see all these wonderful countries and meet all these beautiful souls. Always be grateful for what you experience and learn every day, because it will shape you and stay with you forever. Just wanted to leave this thought here…
For now stay safe wherever you are and keep smiling. Life is good – god is good.
ElinaAria aka. ChickenMonkeyBackpacking