CAMBODIA – Water Buffalo Cart Ride, Floating Village, National Museum

Wednesday, March 24th – Morning in Siem Reap, and late afternoon flight to Ho Chi Minh

Dressed to the nines while paddling her canoe

Colorfully and neatly dressed while paddling her boat

Driving a short way outside of Siem Reap, we passed by rolling hills and farm land. The soil is parched and everything appears dusty, which is to be expected at the end of the dry season. But this is even more extreme than normal as they have been experiencing a drought for several years.

Once again we are surprised by just how much can be loaded onto a motorbike. 

Take a look at that load!

Take a look at that load!

Rarely do you see only one person on a motorbike. Often it is three or more.

Rarely do you see only one person on a motorbike. Often it is three or more.

We are off to experience an ox-cart ride. This time is a little different from the one we went on a couple of weeks back, because instead of being pulled by oxen, we will be propelled by water buffalo.

Water buffalo

Water buffalo

The ox-carts are still being used today by the local farmers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A bit of a bumpy ride, but still enjoyable. It was a little awkward getting in and out of the cart 🙂

The local children poked their heads into the door of our bus, hoping to sell us a flower or two.

Hopeful that we might buy some flowers from them

Hopeful that we might buy some flowers from them

There was much to see along the drive this morning.

No refrigeration, so ice is sold and delivered to the home via truck

No refrigeration, so ice is sold and delivered to the homes via truck

Inexpensive haircuts are offered on the side of the road

Inexpensive haircuts are offered on the side of the road

And colorful trucks haul whatever...

And colorful trucks haul whatever…

Tonle Sap Lake is in the heart of Cambodia, with a rich and diverse ecosystem. To get to our scheduled boat excursion to observe the local life around the lake and the floating fishing villages, we travel over dirt roads that are little more than rough tracks.

Dirt roads to get to the canal for the start of our boat excursion

Dirt roads to get to the canal for the start of our boat excursion

Unfortunately with the local drought, the water level is WAY below normal and the river entrance to get to the lake and the floating villages is down to a very narrow dredged out canal.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I absolutely loved seeing how the families live in their floating villages.

Their life was right out in the open for us to observe

Their life was right out in the open for us to observe

Many of the homes are little more than thatched huts on stilts, yet they have their basics – church, school, store and community.

Floating church

Floating church

Floating school

School on stilts

I hope you will enjoy this slide show of just some of my favorite shots as we slowly motored past in our long-tail boats. It felt like we were being invasive staring into their homes, but according to our guide, we are a welcome intrusion as our tourist dollars are a very important part of their survival.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We saw several unsupervised small children either in the water, in boats, or on their front deck. I know that they are raised on the water’s edge, and probably all learn how to swim at a very early age, but the mother in me was nervous none-the-less.

They look so young to me

They look so young to me

Another frustration was that the motor on our boat kept getting tangled up with various trash, fishing lines, rope, plastic bags, etc. in the water. I’m guessing that when the water levels are normal, this is not a problem, but on our couple hours here, our poor driver had to untangle the propeller 8-10 times.

And just in case you think you are experiencing Déjà vu, you are right. We did visit some different floating villages on our Intrepid trip a couple of weeks earlier. Here is a link to that post in case you missed it and are a glutton for punishment (or just really have a thing for floating villages like me). It also shows our first ox-cart ride.

Later, we visited the Angkor National Museum  with its multi-media exhibits depicting the Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom. No photography was allowed in the main display rooms, so I had to settle for one shot in the stairway.

Inside the National Museum

Inside Angkor National Museum

A late lunch back in Siem Reap where we explored Pub Street. There are many bars, shops, and restaurants to choose from.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had a little free time and I indulged in a very short foot massage with Jan and Frank. But first we had to find a shop where the employees were awake and wanted to work 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Afterwards, we took our flight to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the largest city in Vietnam.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we got a repeat performance visiting the floating villages. The villages we visited this day were in a different location, but the essence of the communities was very similar. I found myself fascinated by how they lived, raised their children, fished and grew a few vegetables to survive. I’m also grateful for clean water. It must be so difficult to live on what has essentially turned into an ever shrinking mud puddle. I fear that the very survival of this culture is on the brink unless their rain levels return to normal.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
This entry was posted in Asia, Cambodia and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to CAMBODIA – Water Buffalo Cart Ride, Floating Village, National Museum

  1. Valerie Vogel says:

    I’m wondering if you are traveling with a professional travel guide or group…looks like fun!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    • Valerie, we were traveling with a tour group. In fact, two different groups. We first did two weeks just in Cambodia with Intrepid Tours and then did another two weeks with Gate 1 that was a few more days in Cambodia and then on to Vietnam.

      Like

  2. John Love says:

    I have a friend who works for State, husband is a Deputy Consul posted at Kuala Lumpur right now. Michelle is TDY for a couple of weeks to Ho Chi Minh City and I am reading her blogs about the area. (In Search of the End of the Sidewalk) She writes a very nice blog. She and her husband were in the Peace Corps before he became a diplomat, she was a teacher. They did time in China both in the Corps and as members of the consulate in Chengdu. I have been following her for years, her mother and I grew up in the same household for a couple of years, her mothers parents took me in when I was a junior in high school. Anyway back on point, I cannot help but compare you stories. Michelle is very entertaining, but you will not catch her living with the locals or getting off the beaten path. She will visit and describe with comic flair her adventures, but they mostly occur at whatever are the most popular tourist attractions in the area she is visiting. So I enjoy both, but I get a peak at the underbelly, not just the smiling face, when I read your stuff and view your photographs! I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your blog, it is the highlight of my day!

    Like

    • Hello John and thank you. Your endearing comment will be the highlight of my day! Seeing and experiencing a country, warts and all, is what traveling is all about and I think seperates tourists from travelers. I would like to think I am a bit of both. And BTW, I just read your comment to Tim and he lit up like a Christmas tree. It made his day too 😊

      Like

  3. I spent a summer in Cambodia and took very similar photos. Such a beautiful place with wonderful people. It’s one of my favorite countries.

    Like

    • Rachel, I was caught off guard by how much I enjoyed Cambodia. I had really only been looking forward to seeing Angkor Wat as that had been on my “must see” list for years. The two weeks traveling around the country was a last minute add-on and we ended up thoroughly loving it. JJ

      Like

  4. Such amazing pictures. The one with the little ones selling flowers is precious.

    Like

  5. That water buffalo-pulled cart is the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Bet you enjoyed the ride!

    Like

  6. dinkytravels says:

    I have a thing for floating villages too, and have seen Tonie Sap when the water was much higher, but I wasn’t sure about the visit and I appreciate your thoughts on this – here is my post https://dinkytravels.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/should-we-visit-tonie-sap-lake-in-cambodia/

    Like

  7. pagels_badit says:

    i love the fried noodle of cambodia, and the spring rolls they are so yummy!

    Like

  8. pagels_badit says:

    what kind of camera are you using they are prof

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s