SIEM REAP – The ‘Tonle Sap’ and Kompong Kleang Village

On our last day in Siem Reap, we drove about an hour to the north end of the ‘Tonle Sap’ lake, hopped on a motor launch (looked a bit like the African Queen), and visited one of the largest fishing communities on this massive body of water.  Like so many other SE Asian cultures, this part of Cambodia relies heavily on fishing.

The village we visited is an island-village in the wet season (for 6 months) and is a dry forest of stilted houses the other half of the year. This area is also one of the least visited by tourists; something we really began to appreciate about these Journeys Within tours.

The wet season, corresponding to the monsoon, had just finished, so the village was only accessible by water.   We took a long boat ride out to the village and saw the variety of homes and water-related activities along the way.  We came upon an impromptu floating market and pulled alongside to witness the exchange of fresh fish from the small boats to small vendors.

Then we stopped at the village Buddhist temple and market area for the community.  The children were just getting out of school and going home by boats.  They go to school only four hours each day, but six days a week.  Some go in the morning and another group in the afternoon.  Our guide, Sann Seila, had an aunt who lived in this village.  We had the opportunity to visit her storefront, which I can only describe as the equivalent of a backwater Ace Hardware store!  Unbelievable the amount of stuff in this place.

After asking if we could take her picture, she wanted us to see the photo album of the recent wedding of her daughter.  What an album!  Must have cost them 6 months wages to produce!  Weddings in Cambodia are quite elaborate and the festivities can last for days.  The groom has to give a significant dowry to the bride’s family, so we found this to be the reason some of our unmarried guides were in fact unmarried: saving up for that dowry…

After asking if we could take her picture, she wanted us to see the photo album of the recent wedding of her daughter.  What an album!  Must have cost them 6 months wages to produce!  Weddings in Cambodia are quite elaborate and the festivities can last for days.  The groom has to give a significant dowry to the bride’s family, so we found this to be the reason some of our unmarried guides were in fact unmarried: saving up for that dowry…

There was one moment when I actually felt embarrassed; our guide felt he had to ask us if we would walk in the market place because it was rather dirty and not something a Westerner should perhaps experience.  I guess he had had previous guests that wouldn’t go in.  We found the place fascinating! To see the daily life of everyone in this fishing village was a highlight for us.

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Our barge for the day.

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Check out the sophisticated steering and drive gear!

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Some shots typical of waterfront and island living along the way – – –

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the monks have their own boats.

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Coming up on fisherman selling their catch.

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a father had his young son with him on this trip.

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wonder what restaurant gets these?

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cleaning and cutting before a sale.

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These are actually floating homes.

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Most were floating on empty 55 gallon drums.

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crab pots.

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Vendor on the street of Kompong Kleang.

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These 2 were pretending they were getting married today!

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Beautiful, eh?

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Our Tour guide, San Selia, with at his aunts store.

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“Main Street”

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Street fish-monger.

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The village’s ‘supermarket’!

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If the mornings rice portion isn’t all eaten, they let it dry until it hardens, and use it for dinner.

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the end of main street, and beginning of water-way.

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School’s just out.

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…and all the kids are headed home – – – by BOAT!

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This girl decided not to take her homework home, so she dumped it in the water!

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Expert boatmen.

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and on our way back to Siem Reap, we saw just how they transport pigs from a large farm to market.  all are alive!  and protected from the hot sum by water hyacinth leaves.

About Smiling Road Warriors!

2 happy retirees, movin' along . . .
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One Response to SIEM REAP – The ‘Tonle Sap’ and Kompong Kleang Village

  1. kimandtracy says:

    Thank you for your incredible stories and photos; the children are SO beautiful! Kim and I both had a good laugh at the ‘pig transport’! 🙂 Stay well, travel safe, and thank you for sharing your fabulous trip with us! xoxo

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