Visit one of the largest settlements on the Tonle Sap Lake by boat. Learn about the culture of local village life and go to an incredible, ancient jungle temple of Beng Melea temple .
The Tonle Sap Lake villages are an amazing place to visit at any time of the year. Situated on the flood plains of the Tonle Sap Lake, the world around these homes undergoes dramatic transformation from dry to wet season. In the dry season, homes tower on their tall spindly stilts. In the wet season, the water laps at the floor boards of the houses and travel is limited to wooden canoes and boats.
Kompong Khleang floating community is located around 1 hour's drive from Siem Reap and is generally accessible all year round, though it depends on the lake levels which vary from year to year. Just before turning off National Road No. 6, you will stop at a small local market, Phsaa Thnal Jaek, where you can see piles of fresh vegetables and lots of freshly caught fish. Take a short walk in the village to see some of the stilted houses and local shops up-close. Then, drive another 20 minutes before reaching the boat station.
Board the boat and motor through the village to see some of the houses from water level, and to see some of the local fishing methods. The first part of the village is stilted houses but, as you progress further towards the Lake, the houses disappear and are replaced by mangrove forest and open water.
In the afternoon, you will venture out to visit one of the larger, but further afield temples of the Angkor region, deep in the jungle at Beng Mealea.
Beng Mealea Temple (its name means "lotus pond") is nearly 80km from Siem Reap town at the foot of Kulen Mountain. It was built as Hinduist temple, but there are some carvings depicting Buddhist motifs. Its primary material is sandstone and it is largely unrestored, with trees and thick brush thriving amidst its towers and courtyards and many of its stones lying in great heaps. For years it was difficult to reach, but a road recently built to the temple complex of Koh Ker passes Beng Mealea and more visitors are coming to the site.
Built in the 12th Century, many scholars believe it was the model for Angkor Wat. It is just as wonderful of a temple but it is still largely lost in the jungle.
The accommodations made for tourists at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom have not been made here, and visitors enjoy a much quieter and adventurous experience.
Commences in:Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
City:Krong Siem Reap
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