Amazing Cambodia: Boat Ride on Largest Lake, Tonle Sap

If you have missed Part 1 and Part 2 of my “Amazing Cambodian” series, click on the respective links to read.

In Siem Reap, we visited Les Artisan D’angko, where you get to purchase locally-made traditional arts and crafts items and witness the amazing craftsmanship of fellow young Cambodians!

At the semi-public company that was started in 1992, there are talents as young as maybe 10 years of age who are already learning the art of stone carving, wood ornamental sculpture, lacquer, and polychromy. WASEH!

And our brats here? Probably don’t even have a quarter their talents and yet dare to complain a damn lot! They really deserve some slaps.

At Les Artisan D’angko, the lady in blue shirt and painting away in the photo below is actually their art teacher. Rainbow and I chatted with her a bit and realised she was very down-to-earth, on top of her being so talented.

Les Artisan D’angko is a prominent producer of many beautiful Buddha statues made of various materials. As we were not too much into stuffs like these, we left the center empty handed.

After that we headed for the Tonle Sap lake – the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia!

I think we paid USD30 per pax for this trip since it wasn’t included in our tour package. Price was a little rip-off and the overall experience was definitely not worth what we had paid.

At the jetty before going onto the boat (it was about to rain never did rain after all) we were greeted by its not-so-satisfactory scene:

Our boat was navigated by two brothers, and the passengers were just Rainbow, our tour guide, and I. No one else. Maybe that explains the expensive price we paid for the trip.

Since we went there during the middle of the year, which is usually characterised by dry weather with minimal raindrop, the lake had shrunk by five times.

The river (Tonle Sap lake is a combined lake and river system) at the beginning of our ride was rather shallow, thereby resulting in our boat getting stuck halfway. The brothers had to work hard to get the boat through the shallow area.

On the Tonle Sap lake, we got to witness a lot of floating dwellings, comprised of schools, churches, temples, restaurants, private houses, and others. They were such an eye-opener for city folks like Rainbow and I!

We were actually heading to the Chong Kneas floating village, situated at the northern end of the Tonle Sap lake. If I didn’t remember wrongly, a lot of the inhabitants there were Vietnamese.

Halfway through our boat journey, I asked the brothers if I could sit on the bow of the boat and one of them said “yes!” To feel the wind breeze through myself at the front of the boat was one of the most relaxing experiences ever!

Chong Kneas was a disappointment. It was actually a huge, two-storey dwelling unit featuring some kids playing with huge water snakes and a so-called crocodiles farm which is in actual fact a small pond with a few crocodiles.

Well, my final verdict is that the Tongle Sap lake definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.

For one it was rather expensive. Secondly, there was nothing much it could offer. We spent an hour getting to Chong Kneas just to be disappointed by what it had there, and then spent another hour heading back to the jetty.

Part 4 coming up next.