Kampong Phluk is a clustered area composed of three villages. These villages are mostly made up of 10-meter high stilted houses located along the river banks of the Tonle Sap River. The villages are mostly Khmer and have about 3,000 inhabitants in them. A bushy mangrove forest surrounds the area and is home to a handful of wildlife including the popular crab-eating macaques.
The floating village provides a good insight on the lifestyle of the inhabitants along the Tonle Sap River. Most of the villagers entirely rely on fishing and water-related activities for their incomes. This then makes a unique community which many people are curious about.
The Tara Boat Tour of the Kampong Phluk Village usually begins at 8 in the morning where visitors are picked up at their accommodations in air-conditioned vehicles. Most of the tour guides speak perfect English while some Thai, Japanese or Khmer speaking guides can be requested for an extra charge. Guides will point out areas of local interest all throughout the tour as they favorably answer any questions visitors may have.
Upon arrival at the port of Chong Khneas, visitors will be asked to transfer to smaller boats to be driven by local drivers. On the way to Kampong Phluk, tourists will make two stops. The first is the GECKO Environmental Education Center which provides useful information about human society and the ecology of the Tonle Sap River. The GECKO center itself is a floating structure and is a favorite stop of tourists who would like to learn more about life on the lake. The second stop is the Crocodile and Fish Farm where catfish, crocodiles and large snakes will be waiting to greet tourists.
The boat ride lets its visitors see the ordinary life of the Cambodian villagers in the floating village. See fishermen, boat-makers, children and old ladies go about their daily life, all making for a mesmerizing scenic route. It is also a pleasant experience to hear the river produce a comforting silencing as tourists digest the sights and sounds around them.
The final stop is the Kampong Phluk Floating Village where visitors will be asked to transfer into an even smaller rowing boat. Locals will then run through the swamped forest and through the stilted houses of the floating village. During the wet season, this area may be completely submerged in water. During the dry season, however, stilted houses are seen a few meters above water. After touring the school of the village and the pagoda found at the center of the village, tourists will journey back across the Tonle Sap to the original Tara Boat.
The tour includes a well-deserved 3-course meal and 2 cold drinks. Visitors will be able to relax on the viewing deck of the Tara boats as they take dozens of pictures at the steering wheel. The entire tour takes about half a day, which is a perfect break to the overwhelming number of temples to be seen in Siem Reap. Although a bit pricier compared to other floating village tours, the Tara Boat Tour to Kampong Phluk Floating Village is definitely well worth the difference in price.