Floating Village – Tonle Sap
After four days being overwhelmed by the sites and sounds of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Banteay Srei et. al., we opted for a quieter day: it was mostly spent by the pool and taking a veerry leisurely lunch, but in the morning we motivated ourselves to check out the “floating village” at the edge of Tonle Sap lake. Since the lake level rises and falls so often, those who live closest to it basically have no choice but to live in floating villages; those who live just a bit further way, as you’ve seen, raise their houses on stilts whenever they can in order to avoid the seasonal floods.
In the areas closest to what’s now dry land, we could tell the water was pretty heavily used and that the village seemingly has no sewer system. Our noses told us this. None of us was too happy when we were splashed by water from this part of the river, and reached for our hand disinfectant with images of typhoid and other water-borne nasties racing in our heads.
Overall the trip – though quite touristic and only partly “real” seeming – opened our eyes to the life on the water, and how hard it must be for some people. There are lots of Vietnamese in the village – witness the Vietnamese on the restaurant sign above. Interesting to think of these people navigating all the way up the Mekong from the Delta, past Phnom Penh, and up to the northeast corner of Tonle Sap lake – but I guess that’s what they had to do, unless the trekked overland and bought their boats once they arrived.