Sunset & Dinner on Tonlé Sap

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That is not the sea. It's Tonlé Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia

I have read so much about Tonlé Sap during history classes in high school. I can't really remember the exact details, but there was definitely a line or two in the textbooks about it being insanely massive, and it playing an indispensable role in the Cambodian economy and livelihood.

About a decade later, I have the opportunity to see the splendor of the lake with my own eyes without having to read about it. The experience certainly felt surreal. Covering over 2,700 km², this lake is not only a place where locals carry out fishing to earn a living, but it is also where a few communities call home.


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One of the many "floating villages" on Tonlé Sap, where its people live on floating houses on the lake throughout the year.

Believe it or not, there are communes staying in houses above the water most of their lives. Each of these simple houses comes with a bathroom, kitchen, sleeping area (usually without individual rooms or partitions), and if a little luckier - a fully functional karaoke set. A few of the villagers here even have pet dogs onboard. The seemingly limited space (comparable to the size of a shipping container) can accommodate a family of up to five or more.

 It's about time you count your blessings!


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Can you imagine growing up here?

Just like other villages, the floating village is equipped with hospitals, grocery shops, and restaurants. Villagers travel to and fro between these places using wooden boats and a handy paddle.


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Poverty, or just a different way of life?


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Had the chance to drop by a "floating restaurant" for a light meal as well as to catch the sunset


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Very tiny prawns, to be eaten together with the shells

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top attractions in cambodia

Catching the sunset at Tonlé Sap was truly a unique experience

A trip to Tonlé Sap, in my opinion, is a must when traveling in Cambodia. Being able to witness an entirely different culture and lifestyle is both enjoyable and educational. For me, I've learned to appreciate my life so much more, upon knowing that there are people out here who are contented living off meager meals and earnings.

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