Friday, 27 September 2013

Siem Reap and The Floating City

For our last day in Siem Reap we decided to head off for a sunset meal on the local floating village. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Now as you can imagine being a tropical country surrounded by rainforest jungle Cambodia is a little wet from time to time. Therefore, the local people have adapted there living quarters and standards to match the elements. This is most obvious when you head down to the town of Chong Khneas on the Tonle Sap Lake just south of Siem Reap.

All of the houses and buildings here, are built out of the extremely strong and buoyant bamboo rides, and either sit on top of high stilts or float on top of the water completely. Even the local primary school is a floating school.

Although the kids still have to make there way to the school via the various different boats the parents own, but you see the kids getting around themselves in boxes and even polystyrene tubs, almost anything thats got some buoyancy will do.

The people in Chong Khenas are obviously so at home on the water, they are born out on the water, they make a living fishing off the lake and the even manage to socialise out there. We even saw a floating bar with a pool table on it, and a group of teenagers were happily playing on it!

The meal itself was on a beautiful boat, and we saw a stunning sunset across the lake whilst we reflected on Cambodia. When we first arrived in Phnom Penh we felt like we were going to miss Vietnam a lot, but after the past few days of zipping around jungles, floating to restaurants, and exploring jungle temples we have grown to love Cambodia. 

Siem Reap itself is a fantastic town with loads of places to eat and drink, and its one that is growing almost daily. Fortunately though the locals haven't let is distort their happy attitude one bit. They were just so smily and helpful at all times, even if you didn't want to buy something from them.

Tomorrow we head to Thailand and Bangkok, a place that has had a tourist industry for quite a while now, and for all the fun and craziness that goes on there, we have been told that the happy helpful attitude might be lacking!