A lot of stuff happened today. Our tuk-tuk driver Butna took us to see The Floating Village Chong Kneas, one of a few Cambodian Floating Villages around Tonle Sap Lake. The dusty gravel road from Siem Reap to the village was a near-death experience. If you happen to see a loaded truck in front of you, the best thing to do is to drive next to it, hopelessly trying to overtake it. At least, that’s how Butna do it.
Those floating villages are also called Vietnamese villages cause they are home to most of the ethnic Vietnamese living in Cambodia due the thing they cannot buy a house cause they’re considered migrants.
It’s basically a village which moves with the changing water levels, because the water levels differ so drastically in dry and rainy season.
This time the village didn’t float cause we were there in the middle of a dry season (middle of February), but we saw the foundations of each house very clearly. Their construction is quite impressive.
The rest of the stuff is hardly describable cause it’s impressive in a lot of different ways. Despite the huge squalor, poverty and dirt those people still seemed pretty happy and close-knit.
The live pretty much common life just in a bit different environment. Kids are playing in the water, men are providing the food by fishing on the water, and women are gathering near the water while preparing the lunch for the family.
Although I found their way of living fascinating, especially cause of the concept of floating villages, they weren’t so happy to see all those tourists passing around in their boats, which, at the end, I totally understood and I couldn’t agree more.
The problem is that the attraction is made out of somebody’s existential way of life and instead of making an interaction between the tourists and people living there it came down to the point where wealthy tourist, covered in their +50 SPF sunscreen, with their mouth covered because of the dirt, just stare at a mass of people who are just living their everyday life.
Imagine you, eating your lunch, while somebody’s staring at you while doing it, taking multiple photos and videos of you and your family. It sounds almost like the Big brother.
At one point I started to feel uncomfortable being a part of that tourist mass, but my idea of those villages was a way too different when I decided to visit.
After we’ve heard that they mostly don’t get a dime out of a 20 USD ticket, we’ve realized something was wrong, and that somebody is making a big money there.
Also we were pretty lucky not to experience any scams that we heard are common in that particular village.
After all, you kind of realize not everything should become a tourist attraction, at least not the way it’s organized by far.
For the original article visit Anca‘s blog, article: Cambodia | How about a floating village?