Leaving the Angkor complex, travelers will continue discovering other hidden beauties of Siem Reap through Floating villages that one of which is Chong Kneas by the Tonle Sap-the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. It takes about 30 minutes to arrive from the center of Siem Reap.
The road leading to the floating village stretches along the vast paddy fields and stilt houses. The village itself seems to be separated as an entirely different part from the great religious architecture Angkor because of its poorness. It looks similar to a slum floating on the lake, which includes dozens of tumbledown houses and wide spectrum of ethnicities such as Vietnamese, Muslim, and Cambodian. The resident in here can be said as Cambodia's poorest citizens or a number of refugees from the bordering country. They live in the temporary crumbling homes or even on their own boats. Water level fluctuating many times during the year makes the local people often have to move, but it seems that they are still temporarily satisfied with the current life. Chong Kneas has a population of approximately 5000 people with fishing, aquaculture and local tourism as the main source of income. Despite of abundant water resources, people here still lack of pure water severely. The floating village of Chong Kneas has not only houses but also several schools, a basketball court, a pool hall, a small farm with dozens of crocodiles, a church and some local shop where you can buy rice bags, books and school supplies for the local children. Contributions for the schools are always welcomed here.
Sunset on the floating village is really a magnificent picture that it is not easy to admire anywhere. With the closeness and simplicity in both landscape and people, Chong Kneas will surely become a memorable experience in your journey.