We took a day trip with another couple and guide to a lake village about 45 minutes from Siem Reap. I was so happy because the wife in the other couple loved photography as much as me, so we were swapping ideas and shots all day. After boating around the lake, a local family cooked us lunch in their stilted house.
Tonle Sap Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia spanning 12,000 km in the wet season and shrinking to 2500 km in the dry season when it drains into the Tonle Sap River. During the wet season, a unique phenomenon occurs causing the river to flow in the reserve direction filling the lake instead of draining it. It is caused by the Mekong River which becomes bloated with snow melt from Tibet in the wet season.
Surrounding the lake are houses in the floodplain built on stilts. In the dry season, the stilted houses are 10 meters in the air and in the rainy season the water rises within 2-3 meters of the houses. This community makes its living fishing. During the dry season, many villagers move out onto the lake and build temporary stilted houses then move back during the dry season. The lake also has a large community of Northern Vietnamese refugees. They live permanently on the lake year around in the boat houses (vs the Cambodians in the stilted homes).
We stopped off at a little village on the way to the lake.
Ice being delivered to villagers
Motorbike repair shop (Dad this one is for you.)
School kids pumping water from the well
Arrival to Kampong Khleang
Fisherman out on the river
The engineering of our boat
Houses along the river
It was shallow and muddy
Out on the lake
Notice this house is complete with own livestock of pigs
Fishermen + family cleaning fish and selling it to the middleman
Village monks collecting alms