April 18, 2014

Cambodia : Siem Reap - Kampong Phluk Flooded Forest

Continuation from here...

Angkor Archaeological Park is huge, but we've seen the major sites - Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Angkor Thom, so we thought that's enough for us.

We decided to make a move to Phnom Penh later in the evening so after breakfast we asked our hostel manager to help book the bus ticket for us. To maximize our time, we got an overnight bus which cost USD 9.

Spending the morning, we rented bicycles and just cycled around the town.



Chillaxing at Chatime. Bought my usual Taiwan plum ice tea with coconut jelly for USD 3. More expensive than Malaysia but once in a while kan.. No Starbucks here so Chatime pon ok. haha..



 What 7-Eleven? There's only 6-Eleven here.

At the same time, I was trying to find a tour company from the pamphlet I took at the hostel. I saw their tour to Kampong Phluk Flooded Forest and the price is quite reasonable. I did some research on the Internet and most said the boat charge can be expensive if you go there on your own. So I guessed taking a tour with them would be a good idea.

The address brought us to here.



So we signed up for a tour to visit Kampong Phluk Flooded Forest. The tour itinerary also includes Wat Thmie Killing Field and Artisan D'angkor. For USD 18 per person, it was a good bargain.

We were picked up at 2 pm and headed to Artisan D'angkor and Wat Thmie Killing Field before proceeding to Kampong Phluk.

Kampung Phluk is a village on the Tonle Sap, a home to families who eke out a living on one of the most abundant inland fisheries in the world. When we arrived at the boat dock, I could see that the river was rather low. January is a dry season in Cambodia but we had no choice. I just hoped we could still see the village.

But due to the low water level, the boat could hardly move at the beginning. Our boatman had to jump into the river to push the boat. Pity him.



Once we reached higher water level, the boat moved faster. But the boatman slowed down as the first houses came into view.







I could only stare at all those houses open-mouthed. Amazed by the sight of houses that were built over stilts and tower six to eight meters high.

As we went on dry season, the stilts were exposed. On rainy season when the water level is high, the stilts are covered in water giving the impression that the houses are floating.



















Men fishing. Women selling goods. Kids playing on the boat.

Seeing how these people adapted with the flooding was very interesting.

The boat ride eventually took us to the Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Asia. Seeing the vast amounts of water in front of me, one could mistake it as sea. One thing I learnt about the lake is that when the season changes, so does the direction of its flow. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonle Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when heavy rains begin in June, the Tonle Sap backs up to form the massive lake.



If you hire a private boat perhaps you can wait for the stunning sunset on the lake.


boats waiting for sunset

The flooded mangrove forest around Kampong Phluk is also fascinating. Submerged for half the year, the trees have learnt to adapt and are an invaluable part of the extraordinary ecosystem there.





There are floating restaurants along the forest if you are hungry. You can also rent canoe for a trip through the mangroves but we didn't do it as it cost about USD 5.


 

 The visit definitely gave me an insight into another world and way of life. It's an amazing experience not to be missed.

Back in town, we asked to be dropped off at the Old Market for a last minute souvenir shopping and walked to the hostel.
Our bus to Phnom Penh would be leaving at 11.30 pm.
 

3 comments:

City Mouse said...

Love your post, especially the photos. Hope to visit the place one day.

rara said...

@City Mouse: Thanks :) Go go go!! hehe..

Toni McHenry said...

what is the best bait for carp fishing?
khmer fishing