Our adventure in Siem Reap, Cambodia continues with a must-not-to-be-missed visit to the floating village and flooded forest of Kampong Phluk. Besides Kampong Phluk, there is the more famous Chong Kneas floating village. Both villages are located by the edge of Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. We decided to visit Kampong Phluk instead of Chong Kneas because the latter is more touristy and known for its tourist scams.
Time Travel Back in Time
Our journey started as early as 9 am in the morning. My sister and I did not book a tour, instead we hired a tuk tuk to take us to the floating village of Kampong Phluk. It is much cheaper compared to booking a tour as they are known to charge exorbitantly. Fyi, Siem Reap, Cambodia is a hub for various tourist scams too, so do your research before you enter the country. It costs us USD15 for a return tuk tuk ride from Siem Reap town to Kampong Phluk.
Our tuk tuk arrived at the guesthouse on time, picked us up and made our way to the outskirts of Siem Reap. It was pleasant to the eyes to see a change of setting from the busy, hectic city to the laid-back, rustic countryside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. In the city, we were surrounded by hundreds of vehicles on the road, whereas there was more greenery in the countryside.
We know we were near to our destination when we went off-road, onto the dusty red dirt path of the countryside. Along the road, there were numerous makeshift stalls selling fruits, food and drinks. Most buildings were made of wood and had attap/zinc roof. Time stood still as we passed by the villagers going about their daily activities without the intervention of fast-moving modern developments. Children were seen roaming on the streets without a care in the world.
Red, Dusty Dirt Everywhere!
As we got closer to our destination, we noticed something strange – that almost everything we saw was earthy red in colour! From the roads, the roof, the walls of the buildings to even the plants, everything was in the same colour tone. Upon closer inspection, we found out that it was actually a thick layer of red dirt/earth and not paint.
This is one of the unique features found in the villages along the road to Kampong Phluk. Its land consists of layers of loose red earth/dirt, so whenever the wind blows, particles of red earth and dust are sent flying into the air. These red earth/dust particles then stick to anything that it touches, creating a thick layer of colour that looks like paint over the buildings and plants from afar.
Seeing such an interesting sight made our journey more memorable, if not comfortable. The road to the floating village of Kampong Phluk is very dusty and bumpy. The unpaved road was uneven and had potholes everywhere. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the bumpy ride very much. However, the amount of dust was unbearable, therefore it is essential to have a mask on hand and bring several bottles of drinking water too to stay hydrated for it can get rather hot, dry and dusty especially during the dry season.
Private Boat Ride To Tonle Sap Lake & Kampong Phluk
It took approximately an hour’s journey to reach the ticket counter located in the middle of nowhere. At the counter, we paid USD20 each for the entrance fee and a 2-hour boat trip to the floating village and flooded forest of Kampong Phluk, Siem Reap. This is also the place and our last chance to answer nature’s call before we hopped on the boat.
After that, it was another 20 minutes scenic ride on the dusty road through green paddy fields that stretched into the horizon. Several white egrets were seen looking for food in the paddy fields. My sister and I took the opportunity to play and take some photographs in the paddy fields for remembrance.
Up next: Cruising through the fascinating floating village and flooded forest of Kampong Phluk