For the next three days we would visit the Tonle Sap floating villages and Angkor Wat (including the famous Angkor sunrise). I was recommended the guide company – Angkor Guide Sam – by my friend Brad. Brad and his wife have lived in China for the past few years and on their recent trip to Siem Reap they went on this tour.
Our tour guide from the Angkor Guide Sam company was fantastic! I’ll be singing his praises in my next few posts – I already have on Trip Advisor. Everything was planned out so well and we walked away from the 2-day tour knowing so much more about Cambodian history and culture. The temples of Angkor Wat blew our minds!
For our 2-day tour, our first stop, Day 1, was the floating villages in the morning.
Tonle Sap is a large fresh water lake attached to Tonle Sap River that connects to the Mekong River. The Mekong river empties out of the Mekong Delta, in southern Vietnam. The lake has many floating villages located along its shores. If you are in Siem Reap you can find a guide to take you on a boat ride on the lake and see the floating village communities. It’s about a 40 minute ride from Siem Reap.
Many people live on houseboats and everyone gets around via motor boats. Don’t be surprised if you see little boys age 6-8 driving to and from in motor boats without parents! This is the way of life here.
During our boat ride to the village our guide explained the fishing industry in Tonle Sap and a general “intro to Cambodian” history. He was kind enough to share very personal stories of his experience surviving under the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s as a young adult. To meet someone who had experienced this genocide first hand was understandably eye-opening.
The floating village has everything most towns do – churches, markets, corner stores, and schools. We were taken to a tourist stop that had souvenirs, a CROCODILE farm, and a caged python. Paul bought a baby cobra preserved in a small whiskey bottle. As one does …
It was cool to see a different way of life. Next, we were off to Angkor to see the first of our temples.