2-Day Temples & Tonle Sap Floating Village
- Small group
- Pickup available
- Duration: 2 days
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My wife and I had a great time on this adventure that was full of info, some tips and 'secrets' as well as generally had a great time with the host/guide Pol (aka Mr Friday!). It was made especially special because we were the only guests on the tour, picked up by private 'limousine' at our hotel Templation, driving off towards Tonle Sap lake, stopping at a restaurant famous for the Lotus Flowers it also cultivates - learning why the Lotus is such an important flower, how versatile it is. We also heard the tales of the bloody civil war and at times tense situation between the Khmer and Vietnamese families of the lake. Living as they have been for decades, the 900 or so families living on the lake are Vietnamese, yet have no passports and are granted to stay on the lake by the Cambodian government. Had a thrilling time seeing the Crocodiles of the Croc farm before getting to the Queen Tara where we enjoyed our dinner and free flow beverages/alcohol watching the sunset.
The tour was very well organized and our guide Mr. Friday was very nice and very knowledgeable. It was a small tour with only 3 people, in an air conditioned van. Our first stop was a local market outside of Siem Reap. It was fascinating to see how locals shop for food. Our driver then transported us to the river. Since it was the dry season and the water was low, we transferred to a small boat to travel past the houses on stilts. We went to a floating restaurant for refreshments and then a tour of a town and temple. Our driver then returned us to our hotel. which was fascinating to see how locals shop. As it is the dry season with not too much water in the river we transferred to a small boat to go by the houses on stilts. we then entered the lake and stopped at a floating restaurant for some refreshments. Next was a tour of a local village and temple. Again, this was fascinating to see. The van picked us up in the village for the trip back to our hotel.
I have been once before - 18 years ago. Back then it was during the wet season and the houses were much closer together. Regardless, it was still good to see the village again. Unlike my first visit where one boarded the boat very close to the village, this time the boat took about 20 minutes to reach the village. The only negative about that is that the motor in the boat was very loud and unless you were sitting right next to the guide, you couldn’t hear a word he was saying. This meant that once the motor stopped, the guide had to repeat everything again (which he happily did). I enjoyed going to the lotus/fish farm. I was concerned though, that the fish, when they needed to be fed dry food, became ill and this was remedied by giving them antibiotics. There’s a big problem with people becoming immune to antibiotics and I would have thought eating fish that have been given antibiotics would exacerbate the situation.
A great alternative way to see the temple complex close to Siem Reap. PROS: you get a bit of exercise, get to see bits of the complex most other tourists on tours don’t see, cycle through the jungle. CONS: you miss a few of the the more minor standard tourist sites such as the Elephant Terrace. But I had a 3 day pass so can go there with a tuk tuk like the rest of the world another day. my guide Li Lyhin Was excellent, well informed and very hospitable. He paced the ride perfectly to meet my pace. We also had a tasty breakfast and lunch and plenty of snacks, water and cold towels.
Wonderful tour with very experienced and friendly guide. I would fully recommend to anyone who wants to see the life of people living outside the Siem Reap city.