Thursday, October 11, 2012

Floating village of Chong Kneas

The floating village of Chong Kneas is in the Siem Reap province of Cambodia and approximately 20 miles from Angkor Wat city. We rented a private van to take us there from our hotel in Angkor Wat. The entire village is on the Tonle Sap river which backs up into the Tonle Sap lake which is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia. The color of the water is a muddy brown and in the sun gives a golden hue. The Chong kneas village is in abject poverty and we were accosted by a flurry of beggars whenever we took a halt at a restaurant or shop. We boarded a private boat from a small harbor at the banks of the river and proceeded to speed along the river. In about 10 mins we arrived at the village proper, which consisted of a 300 or more boat houses. We then went all the way upstream to the lake which appeared abruptly, as an enormous expansion of water of the same color. The sight was breath taking and the lake stretches for many miles, ultimately draining into the Mekong river at Pnom Pen. The flow of water is bidirectional during monsoons when the mekong river gets flooded and backs up into the Tonle Sap lake, so the houses move up and down the river and are not constantly at one spot. The locals are mostly fishermen and fish in the night and sleep during the day. The village has a church and school as well as grocery shops, all on large boats. They also had a basket ball court on the river. A unique experience, a one of a kind but only for the adventurous. The local people are very poor and the river is very dirty. So be warned if anybody decides to go there. Took us about a 3 hour trip in the morning. It was too sunny for taking photographs, but nevertheless, some of them, I will venture to post.

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