If the time on your 1-day, 3-day, or 7-day Angkor temple pass runs out, and you find yourself with some extra time in Siem Reap, a trip to Kampong Phluk is a worthwhile choice, in my opinion.
Kampong Phluk is one of three different “floating villages” located near Siem Reap city. The other two are Chong Kneas and Kampong Khleang. Chong Kneas is actually the closest of the three to the city, but the reviews online were pretty negative so I ruled that one out. Kampong Khleang is the farthest from the city, about one hour or an hour and a half away, but many travel sites recommend it since it is the least tourist-ed. I ended up choosing Kampong Phluk because my hostel offered a tour for it, but not for Kampong Khleang.
Kampong Phluk had better reviews online than Chong Kneas but I had also read a lot of stories of foreigners getting charged very high prices to enter the village, so it made sense to me to sign up for the tour that was all-inclusive for $18, which is cheaper than using a tuk-tuk and ensured that I wouldn’t be getting overcharged for a ticket. My hostel was able to book the tour with Siem Reap Shuttle Tours. They have a morning tour and an afternoon tour. The afternoon tour allows a view of the sunset on nearby Tonle Sap Lake.
Another positive aspect about booking the tour is that the floating village is located past dusty roads so it’s much nicer to take the trip in a van rather than a tuk-tuk. There was a small group of people in the tour and the guide was nice and knowledgeable.
The tour van picked up the group at their hotels or hostels and drove to Kampong Phluk, a poor rural stilted village near Tonle Sap lake.
During the wet season (May-October) the village is completely flooded, and looks like this:
The first place the group stopped was the village Buddhist pagoda.
The village is fairly small and a 15 minute walk will lead to the lake. A lot of kids were playing around in the streets and eager to talk to foreigners.
Tonle Sap Lake is a big lake, the largest in South-east Asia. It is fed by the Mekong river during the wet season.
The boat took the group to a floating restaurant, which had a good selection of food and a nice view.
I was happy that I made the trip to Kampong Phluk because it offered a slice of rural Cambodia and village life. I had limited time in the country unfortunately so I had to stay in the Siem Reap area, but the village was quite different than the touristic atmosphere in Siem Reap. I’m sure it is even more interesting to see in the wet season. I thought the share tour was also a great way of getting to the village and learning about the lives of the people who live there.