Today started off with a tuk tuk ride from our amazing tuk tuk driver, Samart. Samart has been our tour guide and tuk tuk driver since we arrived in Siam Reap and knows the area like the back of his hand. Not only is Samart taking us to the places we have asked to visit, he has also recommended some very interesting things to see and great places to eat, he has gone to every effort to make our holiday as amazing as possible. If you are lucky enough to stay at the Image D’Angkor hotel, you will be introduced to Samart.
Our first stop today was the Tonle Sap lake where we took a boat ride to see the floating forest and village. There are three different destinations you can go to see the floating village but after speaking to the locals and doing some research, the one to choose is Kompong Phluk. Kompong Phluk does not show you crocodile farms and other touristy things, it goes directly to the floating villages and is the only one with the floating forest. It is really interesting to see how these people live their lives on top of the water from houses to schools. The buildings stand about 2m above the waterline and the water is around 4-5m deep so the foundations of the houses run around 7m until they hit the ground. Although the water is quite polluted and looks very dirty, that does not stop the locals from washing their clothes and diving into the water. Whilst we were heading through the village we saw a lady washing her clothes at the bottom of her front steps, someone cooking and throwing the rubbish over the balcony into the water and another lady up to her neck in the water fixing an enclosure. The Kompong Phluk tour also has an option for going through the floating forest which is a smaller boat and takes you in between the trees, this is a very good photo opportunity and a peaceful relaxing boat ride. If you are intending to do these tours save yourself some money and book when you arrive, the ticket price is around $30US cheaper if you book when you arrive.
After Tonle Sap we made our way back into town to visit the Raffles hotel for a coffee. This hotel has everything included from house phones, cafe, shops, amazing pool and even a Buddhist exhibition. The pool is one of the most amazing pools that I have ever seen at a hotel, it is huge with an interesting shape and gardens. On a day like today where it was 33 degrees, it was very inviting. The cafe was a little more expensive than the standard Cambodia pricing however is still about half the price of Australia. The face produces some very good coffee’s and a very cool cream brûlée in a coconut shell.
To end our day we went to dinner and a stage show at Koulen Restaurant. For $12US per person you can access the massive all you can eat buffet which has a huge variety of foods from Curries to roasted vegetables. After dinner you can sit back and relax and watch the Cambodian dancers perform a stage show.
It is amazing how tired you can become from sitting down and travelling around these destinations, there is so much to see in Cambodia and with our last day here tomorrow, we have really only just scratched the surface.