Kampung Phluk is a must-see during your visit to Angkor Wat. The view of stilted houses towering 10 meters is a sight to be seen.
But did you know that going there during the dry season is more difficult than in the wet season? And that is all because Kampung Phluk is located in the edge of Tonle Sap lake?
Cambodia has a tropical monsoon climate. So each year the water level of Tonle Sap rises during the rainy season and lowers during the dry season.
Although it sounds very elementary, the effect of this rising and lowering of water level is vast, and it affects Cambodian people’s lives tremendously. When Tonle Sap Lake fills during the rainy season, it literally floods a large amount of the surrounding area. That includes the stilted houses at Kampung Phluk and the roads leading to it.
When the roads to Kampong Phluk are flooded, those roads become a river. So you can just use a boat to go the village.
However, transportation becomes harder when the roads dry up during the dry season since you now have to use motorcycles or bicycles.
Now that in itself does not sound too bad. Bicycles or motorcycles are okay forms of transportation.
But there’s a reason why only bicycles and motorcycles can use the roads. And there’s a reason why I didn’t mention tuktuks or cars or vans.
And that is because during the dry season, the condition of the roads leading to Kampung Phluk are bad. Bad. Horrible.
There is no way tuktuks or cars would pass this way, unless they wanted to ruin their vehicles!
But even with motorcycles, the journey is by no means comfortable. Not only do you have to get used to the bumpy ride, frequent slow downs, and sudden stops, you also have the hot Cambodian sun beating down upon you.
All in all, the 2 -2.5 hour trip from Siem Reap to Kampung Phluk could leave you tired and possibly cranky.
All of that is worth it. Because while you are grumbling about the bad road conditions, you’ll also be feasting your eyes on the magnificent Cambodian countryside. One that you can only see during the dry season.
Blue clear skies above. Green paddy fields on your left and right. Lone farmers tilling their fields. Fishermen fixing their nets. Run down shacks on the sides. And a long, red, dirt road ahead.
It was like stepping into a different world. It was amazing! I highly, highly recommend this trip if you have great tolerance for traveling on bad roads.
We also encountered villagers and shopkeepers who were trying to load their items to a boat.
Now looking at this spectacle, it will hit you once more how the Tonle Sap water level affects each and every part of the lives of Cambodian people. In the rainy season the boat would take them all the way to the village, they would not have had to deal with this loading and offloading of goods.
But once you reach the part where the water level is sufficient for boats, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your time on the bumpy roads are over and what comes ahead is a nice boat ride all the way to Kampong Phluk.
You’ll see many fish nets along the way, where bamboo cages are constructed and placed in between the branches to trap the fish. There will also be fishermen on the river setting up the fish traps. That will tell you how shallow the river is in that area, because they’re standing on their feet working.
Since the water level is still not very high, some river ways are rather narrow and will only fit one boat at a time. So there comes the need for some traffic logistics, usually in the form of big, loud horns to inform boaters on the other side.
Just think, everything you’re now seeing is submerged under water during the wet season. How amazing it is to navigate your way and see what’s underneath all that water. It’s like diving without getting wet and without all the equipment!
I think going to Kampong Phluk during the dry season is like having two trips is one: the amazing journey to the village and the village itself. Both are unbelievable.
I love Cambodia!
Onwards to Kampung Phluk!
P.S. You can go by tuktuk using National Highway 6 to the Rolous area, but from there you must proceed by motorcycle. So during the dry season, going to Kampung Phluk is a three-legged journey: tuktuk, motorcycle, and then boat. It’s only two-legged during the rainy season: tuktuk and boat.
Kampung Phluk: A Different World
Would you like a real and authentic cultural experience while in Cambodia? Kampung Phluk is your answer. Going to this river village by the Tonle Sap lake is like stepping into another world. Number #1 on our must-do list.
Holiday in Cambodia Must-See and Do list!
What are the must-see and must-do activities while having a holiday in Cambodia? River villages, Tonle Sap lake, more remote temples, an early visit to Ta Prohm, and spending a day in a village!
Cambodian Climate and Weather
The Cambodian climate is a tropical monsoon climate. The whole year basically consists of two seasons, the monsoon or rainy season, and the dry season. Which time is best for visiting? It depends.