Floating Villages of the Tonle Sap

Tonle Sap: The Flowing Heart of Cambodia
[Floating Shop on the Tonle Sap at the Phnom Krom village]

I fell in love with the elemental power and beauty of the waterways of Cambodia . An entrancing waterlogged world, a stream so abundant and all-providing, a true river of life for its millions. Crisscrossing its pale-brown waterways on flitting boats and ferries, I was moved by the grace and purpose of people absorbed in its amphibious rhythms: journeying, planting, harvesting and netting.

Tonle Sap: The Flowing Heart of Cambodia
[Typical House in the Phnom Krom village which rise and wall with the tides of Tonle Sap river]

Thursday morning I watched life on , sampans, cone-hatted passengers, boat-dwellers steaming and frying their supper to the sound of tinny music.Numerous floating fish farms hug the river's edge, with cages reaching 18 feet into the water filled with fish destined for the factory 40 miles away. My boat wandered among the waterways lined with timber houses perched on stilts others floating on tires.

Tonle Sap: The Flowing Heart of Cambodia
[Tourist Boat on the Tonle Sap river]

As we slowly move forward past quaint fishing villages, the world floats by in shades of blue and the Tonle Sap seems like a long, wide, lazy, paradise. A pair of brown cheeked Kingfishers perch themselves elegantly on a pole, ignoring us as we slip slowly through endless beds of floating weeds.

Tonle Sap: The Flowing Heart of Cambodia
[Women at Phnom Krom buys her groceries from a floating vendor]

As I travel through Cambodia I realize that much of the nation's psyche is connected to water – the waterways of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong river.


"Thanks to the water, and thanks to the moon," my guide tells me.

"The water provides many things -- water gives us life."




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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

But for the brown waters and cone hats could have been the floating market in Kashmir....

Melody said...

Lovely! Reminds me of the floating markets of Bangkok, water is an integral part of their lifestyle too.

And though I've said this (a million time), amazing pics!

Akshay said...

anonymous - yes exactly like kashmir - they have a floating forest - like the floating garden on the nagin lake as well - but due to time contraints I couldn't visit :(

Melody - It is very much like that - but the Tonle Sap is the biggest living environment in Asia home to 3 million such people living on the lake.

Aks said...

Awesome blog man! Love all your photographs...

Life Unscripted! said...

Loved your blog. Especially aamchi Mumbai and Pune coverage.

India Unlimited said...

I once painted a top view of a cambodian boat , with all that bamboo roofing ..I am pretty sure , i still have that watercolor with me..got to go look for it , now that your pictures reminded me of it.
Do these homes stand the danger of sinking during floods , if any? does this river see floods?
Nice pics.. would have loved to see what that lady had in that grocery boat.

India Unlimited said...

I once painted a top view of a cambodian boat , with all that bamboo roofing ..I am pretty sure , i still have that watercolor with me..got to go look for it , now that your pictures reminded me of it.
Do these homes stand the danger of sinking during floods , if any? does this river see floods?
Nice pics.. would have loved to see what that lady had in that grocery boat.
p.s, I have no idea why this comment won't get posted, tried clicking on it four times already, Please do remove the extra comments just incase multiple comments appear .k?