Siem Reap, Cambodia – Kompong Pluk

[ 0 ] July 21, 2012 |

It’s hard to imagine anything coming close to the high we experienced at Beng Mealea. Kompong Phluk comes close. If you are looking to experience the floating villages of Cambodia, you basically have two options in Siem Reap – Chong Khneas or Kompong Phluk. The closest to Siem Reap, Chong Kheas is the obvious and most popular choice for most temple focused tourists short on time. About and hour further out of town however, is Kompong Phluk. The advantage to Kompong Phluk is two fold. One, during the high-water rainy season, you can kayak the mangrove that sits between this riverside village and Tonle Sap Lake. Second, during the low-water dry season, the village becomes a city of bamboo skyscrapers. Because the water level at Kompong Phluk fluctuates quite a bit more than it does at Chong Kheas, the houses at Kompong Phluk are perched on bamboo stilts 20 to 30 feet above the ground.

The Floating Village of Kompong Pluk

Navigating the Narrow Waterways of Kompong Pluk During Dry Season

Lucky for us, it was low-water season and the bamboo skyscrapers of Kompong Phluck were in full glory. A good hour drive from Beng Mealea, after stopping for a quick lunch we finally arrived at the entrance to Kompong Phluk around three in the afternoon. Like the visibility of the bamboo skyscrapers, the entrance to the village too fluctuates with the water level. During high-water season the boats are able to come all the way up river meeting passengers near Roluos village.  During low-water season however, the meeting point is a bit different.

We drove down the dirt path toward the village entrance. Bottoming out a few times we finally decided to park it and take the rest of the journey on foot. We walked another 500 meters down the path until we finally came upon a hungry pack of boats all vying to take us down river. Sokhom quicly handled the situation, chose a driver, and we were off rumbling down river. Similar to the “space race” I described in my Boat to Siem Reap post, the driver of our boat would squeeze his way between boats sometimes pushing them ashore to provide enough room for us to get through.

Getting on the Boat

Boats Filling the Narrow Channel

After 10 minutes or so of meandering down river, we finally found ourselves staring up at the bamboo houses encircling us. “How did they stay up”, we asked ourselves. Its not like they have heavy equipment to pound the bamboo “pylons” deep into the ground. Stumped we turned our questions to Sokhom. Unable to communicate our line of questioning we decided to let it be a mystery, oh well.

House Atop Bamboo Pylons

The next hour of motoring down river toward Tonle Sap Lake was mesmerizing. From a dog roasting on a spit to a fisherman welding his boat while partially submerged in water, it was an endless array of sights, sounds, and smells that would make anyone’s photo finger sore from extended use. To that end, our memories along the shores of Kompong Phluk can only really be described in pictures. So I’ll do my best to do them justice. Here goes:

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Man Welding in Middle of River

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Closeup of the Bow of our Boat

Riverside Patio of House Being Constructed

Villagers Coming Back to Town

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Fishing Traps Attached Underneath Bamboo Stilt House

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Closeup of Fishing Nets

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Young Boy Playing in the River

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

House Being Built

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Boat Bottoming Out as it Continues Down River

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Bamboo Skyscrapers of Kompong Pluk

Needless to say, after Beng Mealea and Angkor Wat, Kompong Phluk was a very close runner up in the favorite attractions of Siem Reap competition. If you ever find yourself in Siem Reap, make sure you squeeze enough time into your agenda to allow for a trip to Kompong Phluk. It’s a visual collage of presenting a representation of both an old and new Cambodia that you will never forget.



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Category: Blog, Cambodia, Destinations, Featured Posts, Pat's Blog

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