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Asia - Cambodia
11 June 2010

Cambodian man protecting himself from the sun with his scarf at Ton Lé Sap, Cambodia

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In spite of the low water level, we managed to reach the lake through a muddy canal that we got stuck in several times. Passing other boats was a disaster and ended up in a lot of mud being sprayed around. The floating village of Chong Khneas was divided in a Cambodia and a Vietnamese side, but unfortunately the water was too low to go in between the floating houses. We did see a crocodile farm, a floating church, school, mechanic and many other floating stores.

The Tonlé Sap meaning "Large Fresh Water River", but often translated as "Great Lake" is both a lake and river system of high importance to Cambodia. The Tonlé Sap is the biggest freshwater lake in South-East Asia. The Tonlé Sap is extraordinary for two reasons: twice a year its flow changes direction and the portion that forms the lake changes dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, dry season in Cambodia, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. But when the yearly heavy rains start in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an gigantic lake.

The people living in the floating village of Chong Khneas are mainly Vietnamese. You can find a floating school, church, blacksmith, grocery store and even a floating alligator farm!