|Floating houses on Tonlé Sap Lake|
Being in the vicinity of SIEM REAP, it sounds obvious to travel as far as Tonlé Sap, the largest body of fresh water in Southeast Asia,
|The lake at sunset|
This vast ecosystem corresponds to a lower depression caused by the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate. It is part of the lower Mekong basin, having a supplementary flow of fresh water brought by the Tonlé Sap River and the Siem Reap River.
The lake has an average depth of one meter with sometimes deeper depth of 10 meters. Its volume varies with the seasons. Its length goes from 160km in the dry season but can reach 250km in the wet/monsoon season.
Many local communities live on its shore. In order to palliate with the water level, the traditional habitat uses unusually high stilt houses. Many simply live on floating houses. The main two activities of the region are
agriculture or fishing. Strangely, many of the floating clustering houses on the lake are Vietnamese, who still claim their rights on the Tonlé Sap lake. As it is a major biosphere in the region, it is now a protected area. There is a large bird population, but also a few Siamese crocodiles, while the water of the lake has a large population of the Mekong giant catfish, which can have a weight of 100kg to more than 200kg. There is also a small population of freshwater dolphins (the Irrawaddy Dolphin) whose population is unfortunately declining.
|On a small boat|
Kampong Khleang is one of these local communities at about 50km away from Siem Reap. As there are closer villages nearer to town, Kompong Khleang if far less touristic than many others. It is fairly large (about 20,000 inhabitants) and not exactly on the shore of Tonlé Sap, at least during the dry season.
Consequently, the village has remained fairly authentic and offers a good example of towering stilt houses, a regional characteristic.
|Road access to Kompong Khleang|
|Stilt houses on the riverbank|
|Young boat driver|
|Floating school community|