The Tonle Sap Lake has a number of interesting communities. Two of the best Kompong Khleang and Kompong Phluk lie within easy reach of Siem Reap. they are places which date back to pre-Angkorian times; with networks of ancient canals and waterways. the traditional life here has changed little over the centuries. The wooden buildings are on ten metre high stilts to take into account the rise and fall of the Tonle Sap Lake. The inhabitants make a god living from fishing. The Tonle Sap lake water levels drop after November. By January the water.level drops to expose the previously flooded fertile land. This gives work to farm labourers in the dry season, who flock in ther hundreds to temporary shacks along the river.
KOMPONG PHLUK Harbour of the Tusks
Kompong Phluk is an attractive small community with a land village and surrounding mangroves. In the dry season a large number of temporary thatched dwellings are built on the lake. These are removed during the flood season. The name Kompong Phluk Translates to Harbour of the Tusks reflecting its past trade in elephants.
Until the mid 2000s Kompong Phluk was virtually untouched by time or tourism. A small tourism industry has built up with a community boat dock. At one and a half hours from Chong Khneas by boat, or a drive via Roluos; its an interesting diversion from the temples and gives an insight into life out here on the lake.
KOMPONG KHLEANG Harbour of the Store houses
Kompong Khleang fishermen
Kompong Khleang is one of the largest settlements on the lake. Over 20,000 people live in high stilt houses which tower up to 10 meters over the river. It is a spectacular place which only gets a small number of visitors.
There is a small island at the centre of the village which has a bustling market and one of several Pagodas, a School and Health Centre. The Pagoda has a brightly coloured painting outside the entrance; depicting Heaven and a rather gory Hell; depicted very graphically. There are also carved stones from the remains of an Angkorian Temple which was once on this site.
The kids are enthusiastic and cheekily pose anywhere a camera is pointed. They get very exited when the see their images in the preview screens of digital cameras.
I have a large archive of pictures from this area; so to show just 18 pictures was a hard choice to make
Peace of Angkor started running tours to Kompong Khleang in 2004. At that time few people had ever heard of it!. We only knew of the Village because of guide Tá Elit's mother was born there and guide Sorn's family live near there too. It was an incredible experience the first time I visited in 2004 It has never lost its photographic appeal.to me.
We were the only tour operator running regular tours there from 2005 until 2008. We have built up a good relationship with the villagers and use local boats which are operated through a villagers co-operative. This keeps the tourist income within the community. We fully support this and we have been using Kompong Khleang as our lake base since 2005.
For more information on our unique tours to Kompong Khleang and the jungle temple of Beng Mealea
Peace of Angkor Tours is western owned and operating photo and adventure tours in Cambodia since 2003.
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