There are a few floating villages around Siem Reap, but we were told that this was the most authentic, and it was on the way back from Beng Mealea so Melissa and I put this on our itinerary.
It wasn’t at all what I expected. I partly expected it to look much like the floating market in Bangkok, only houses instead of storefronts. By that I mean, I expected the houses to be on land, but near the river’s edge and that we could walk around it and interact with the locals. I was in for a surprise. Bob took us as far as he could down the dusty road to the drop off point. At that point Melissa and I paid for a boat ride (thinking it would just drop us off once we reached the village). It turns out, the boat is the only way to get around at all in the floating village. As you can see, the houses are built on incredibly high stilts, because during the rainy season the water can rise several meters, flooding the surrounding area, and rising closer to the houses themselves.
Very interesting to see the way of life of this community, which consists primarily of fishing and rice farming (the road on the way to the village was surrounded by rice fields. But also a little sad that these people have lost their privacy to the outside world. To buy a ticket, we paid the government authorities, so the money actually doesn’t go to the people of this poor community. On top of that, their little village of 1698 families has become a tourist attraction, with boats like the one we hired constantly floating by for tourists to point and take pictures.