Chong Kneas, The Floating Village of Tonlé Sap Lake

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In Tonlé Sap Lake lies an interesting picture of life. While on the boat I couldn’t help but feel like I was peering through a diorama – as if there were an invisible divide between two groups – us ignorant tourists and the people of the floating village. Here people were going about their day seemingly oblivious to the tens of tourist boats going around the lake. They were eating amongst members of their households, playing on the floor, swinging on hammocks. There were kids that used metal basins as boats ( I didn’t know basins could hold up children). There was a floating basketball court, a school, a store, a repair shop, a church. There was even a fight that broke out as a boatman crashed into parked boats.

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We stopped by the mouth of the lake, southeast Asia’s largest. This was the only time any of the villagers did interact with us. There was a young girl on the boat who had a snake around her neck. She posed for a photo and we obliged and then she asked for a dollar (we obliged). I can only imagine what if would be like to live in Tonlé Sap. Life here is different, that’s for sure.

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