The Tonle Sap lake is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. Much of the local economy depends on it – from the fishing industry it supports to the water it provides for the rice crops. The lake level rises by 10 metres in the wet season. The mighty River Mekong actually reverses its flow and FILLS the lake, rather than draining it. The result of this is that the villagers who live at the lake either have to live in floating boat-houses or in huts built on giant 10-metre high stilts.
Nita by Vo can organise trips to the lake for you. Around 30 minutes away is Chong Kneas. It’s the closest port to Nita by Vo, but alas is a little ‘for the tourist’. Still, a trip out in a boat can be a different excursion. See the children floating around in bowls. They have no fear of water and can frequently swim before they can walk. Inevitably the boat will take you to a floating restaurant where you can (if you choose) enjoy a meal. There will also be a floating souvenir shop and sometimes a fish or crocodile farm. Yes, there are crocodiles in the lake!
Around 90 minutes away from the hotel is Kompong Khleang. This is a quieter option for visiting. The local village is built on stilts. During the dry season you can get out of the boat and walk around the huts which tower above you. At the peak of the wet season, there’s no sign of dry land and the huts are now level with the boats. At the edge of the land is the flooded forest. Apart from the driest part of the year (April) you can change your hire boat for a small paddle boat, navigated by a local. They will take you among the trees and you can enjoy the peace and quiet while you look at the fish traps.
A trip to the lake shows you a different view of Cambodia and offers a glimpse of life on the edge of the water. The tour desk at Nita by Vo can organise transport by tuk tuk, car or luxury minibus, licensed guide and all tickets to make this trip ‘watertight’ for you!