One can never complete the Cambodian journey without visiting Kampong Phluk and savour the scene of rural Cambodia. This sweet spot, which is about 5-hour ride from Siem Reap, is a village built on stilts on Tonle Sap, a seasonally inundated freshwater lake. Kampong Phluk or “Harbor of the Tusks”, is still untouched by tourism.
HOW TO GET THERE
The best way to go there is travelling by boat from Siem Reap where boats of all sizes and colours are waiting to take passengers to Kampong Phluk. Visitors can enjoy the calm waters of Tonlé Sap lake as the journey takes through mangroves, herds of cattle feeding on the grass, crab- eating macaques and rice plantations along the shore.
WHAT TO DO
Almost all of Kampong Phluk villagers are in fishing, primarily in shrimp harvesting. Visitors can see what life is like over water where locals go about their daily duties like washing clothes, cooking or fishing on top of their wooden boats. Do check with local guide when visiting Kampong Phluk during dry season, which is in December or January as the lake is low and the stilts will be exposed by the lack of water.
WHERE TO STAY
Since the journey to Kampong Phluk take about 5-hours from Siem Reap, it would be wise to spend a night in the city. An authentic Cambodia living experience is at Sala Lodges, a traditional wooden house resort. Inns and motels are also aplenty for budget travellers.
WHAT TO EAT
Kampong Phluk has a few local restaurants floating along the way to Tonle Sap lake. Kampong Phluk Riverside Restaurant is place to look out for. There is also a nice restaurant called Riverside Coffee for visitors to taste some local flavours.
Words by John Gilbert