Tonle Sap Lake

We left the Mekong to head up to Siem Reap, which takes us through Tonle Sap Lake. The lake is the largest in South East Asia and unusually the flow changes direction twice a year, with the lake depth expanding and shrinking dramatically from one metre to nine metres! The area of the lake varies from 2,700 sq kms to 16,000 when flooding!

This is the view I woke up to.

There’s a lot of trees and bushes in the lake. Not all of them grow from the bottom. Many of the bushes just float on the water.

This is all in the lake itself – not off to one side.


One of the launches we go out on. The Cambodian ones are pretty ancient compared to the ones we used in Vietnam.

Also in the lake, is a village of a few hundred people – and literally in the lake. All the houses are on stilts, so they are above the high tide in the wet season. You can’t walk from house to house, so every house has a boat. The kids local school is also on stilts, not on ground, so I guess they play water polo, not soccer.

A couple more elevated houses.

This is another floating market. But unlike the earlier floating market which was selling from boats, this is shops on rafts. Each house floats on the water. They don’t move around much, but can get towed if they have to move.

Many of the boats are worked by school age youth. They learn to swim around the same time as they learn to walk.

One person fishing, while the other tries to hold the boat stable.

This is their housing store. You want housing affordability – come to Cambodia! They sell everything from large logs to bamboo sticks, so you can build your own house.

As we were by the waterside, three of the kids who had been following us about dived into the water.

The Cambodian kids love high fiving people. Even the infants almost do it.

One of our group asked who one of the kids has light brown hair, when almost everyone else is black. The answer is that inevitable he has older sisters who use their younger brothers to experiment on with hair dyes!

This kid also followed us around, with his older brother. Adorably cute and innocent. Of course kids that age are naked all the time, but generally they tend to be at home, not walking about the city!

This was our last expedition on the water. From Monday to Wednesday we are in Siem Reap.