Kompong Phluk Floating Village is a cluster of three floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake that is 16km from Siem Reap. Visiting the villages is one of the remarkable experiences in Siemreap where you can enjoy idyllic floating village scenery from a canoe, learn the unique cultures and history of the villages and its people along Tonle Sap river and see their ways of life to adapt to the changing season.
Kompong Phluk Floating Village History
Tonle Sap, also known as Tonle Sap, is a system of lakes and rivers famous in Cambodia. Tonle Sap Lake is also known as the largest freshwater fish in the Mekong region and is recognized as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and contains unique plant species, animals or fish, many of which are endangered.
Before the Khmer Rouge, Kompong Phluk was only a collection of fishermen and their families who lived near the lake. In 1975. The Khmer Rough arrived in Siem Reap and these soldiers burned down the villages and moved families to central work sites. After that, families began going back to the area and continue their lives as fishermen.
Nowadays, the village is home to about 3000 people, not only the Cambodian but also the Vietnamese. The entire community of Kampong Phluk used to rely on fishing as the main source of income.
Best time to visit Kampong Phluk Village
A trip to Kampong Phluk floating village is one of the most remarkable things to do in Cambodia. Tonle Sap Lake was recognized as Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1997 due to a variety of wildlife and now it is home to more than 10,000 inhabitants of the three floating villages. Compare to other villages, Kampong Phluk is considered the least tourist village, therefore you can get a chance to see a local lifestyle, which still remains unspoiled by the tourism industry.
Due to Cambodia’s monsoon that divides the climate into two main seasons: Dry and Rainy seasons alternate around the year and Kampong Phluk Village is affected accordingly.
The best time to visit the floating village is the rainy season from May to October. During this time, the water level of Tonle Sap can reach 14m which leads to flooding into the villages. This is why locals build their houses on tall wooden structures to make the houses accessible by boat during the wet season.
However, during the dry season from November to April, the water level drops only to 2m. so you’ll be exploring the village on foot and this is the only chance you will have to see the incredible structures below the houses, temples and schools.
What to expect to visit Kompong Phluk Village
On the way to visiting Kompon Phluk Village, you will a chance to see another side of Siem Reap besides temples, adventuring off the beaten path where you will pass by the scenic rural landscapes of Cambodia and paddy fields.
You will pass by a stretch of blue buildings, which are a school for children, then discover the big wooden cages containing a bask of crocodiles inside. The cages are quite far away from the village so that the crocodiles do not harm anyone.
You’ll also have a chance to see the locals and their way of life over water – the local residents were busy doing laundry, cooking or fishing on top of their wooden boats. Steep, swaying ladders provided the only entrance where we managed to catch people carrying bags and dishes up like pros. Pigs, cats, and chickens lived inside paddle boats floating around. It will be really a one-of-a-kind experience. You will see the children have used to with the tourists passing by and wave to say hello.
After visiting the villages, you might take a tour to flooded forest. Kompong Phluk has the largest mangrove forest in the region (called the flooded forest) as it is underwater for part of the year. Kompong Phluk and the greater Tonle Sap lake is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and contains unique plant species, fish, and animals, many of which find themselves endangered.
The village has a rowing boat cooperative that offers tours of the flooded forest during the rainy season. Please note the flooded forest visit is only in the rainy season, and it is optional but recommended.
The village river is connected to Tonle Sap lake where much of the fishing takes place. Once the boat halts to stop in the middle, just in time to catch the sun peeking below the clouds as the sky changed from a bright blue to a luminescent orange.
It is truly a remarkable way to end the day.
How to get to Kompong Phluk from Siem reap
Kompong Phluk Village is located 16km southeast from Siem Reap. It is about 31 km from Siem Reap city when traveling by road. The village is easy to reach. It merely involves heading east on Road 6 towards Phnom Penh and taking a right when you reach Bakong. You will find a sign on the right pointing out the turn. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour to reach depending on your mode of transportation, traffic and water levels.
Kompong Phluk vs Kompong Khleang
If you want to venture further, head on over to Kampong Khleang which is around 35km away from Siem Reap. This is also the largest community with 10x more of the local population in the other two villages. While in general, the whole experience for us was worthwhile as it was fascinating to see a new and different way of life.
Chong Khneas is now very very touristy. So touristy that the tour groups that go there are served Korean food (not kidding!). As soon as you enter the village, numerous people are trying to sell, upsell, or guilt you into buying something “for the community”.
Best tour to Kampong Phluk Village
We booked this one and we have really enjoyed it very much. The tour guide and drivers are really friendly and very helpful with good history and info. They show us a lot of cultural life of local people along the way. A small boat ride in a water jungle is very nice! pure air and exciting. at the end with a perfect sunset view.
The tour includes transportation, tickets and a meal (we also saw one including insurance). If you want to save a bit of money, organize the transport yourself. The ticket for the boat up to the village is $14 USD per person. You can book it online here and enjoy the discount up to 20%.
The entire trip through the village is about 45 minutes. Getting there takes another 45 minutes so it is a great option for a “half-day” experience. There is an additional option of stopping at a temple or taking a small paddle boat into the mangrove forest for $8 per person which can be an added bonus.