Travel southeast to one of the largest and least-visited villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang, about 55km from Siem Reap. It has a population of about 10,000 people, all of whom make a living from the fishing industry. You will explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town.
In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers. We visit one of the pagodas here, built on the site of an ancient temple, and see the wall paintings. You may also stop off to visit a house in the village to learn a little more about local life.
You will also cruise into the open water of the great lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier. Later you return to Siem Reap by road.
The water level of the Tonle Sap fluctuates greatly throughout the year and the lake will be at its most picturesque and scenic during the months of October to January when it is full from the heavy summer rains. By February and March the water level can be quite low, resulting in the muddy banks and bottom of the lake becoming visible, and by April most of the outer areas of the lake are dry, meaning that the villages are no longer "floating" as such, but towering high above the dry ground. May to September is the rainy season when the lake will again fill up.