The Floating Village of Siem Reap (And The Friends We Make)

by Brenna Holeman


Near Siem Reap, Cambodia

It was almost two years ago that I was in Cambodia, almost two years ago that I was on this boat touring the floating village near Siem Reap; despite that, I can remember so much of that journey (including the itchy mosquito bite on my cheek). It reminded me of infrastructure in other countries I’d been to, most notably Brunei and Thailand. These people spend every day this way, working and learning and living and loving never more than a few feet away from the water.

There was a constant barrage of people asking for money, including these kids and their snakes, but also people selling snacks and drinks or people simply asking for cash. Boats would come up right alongside ours; once a young girl even leapt from boat to boat as she sold cans of soft drinks. I enjoyed that day, however, as I learnt more about Cambodia and got to hang out with good people (and a bunch of crocodiles). The man sitting beside me during this video, the one you get a glimpse of, is still a friend, and I’ll be seeing him in London very soon.

I’ve talked so often of how and why I love travelling; one of my favourite things, if not my very favourite thing, is that you meet people from all around the world. Sometimes you meet again, sometimes not, but you always have that bond from the experiences you’ve shared abroad. When I head to London in a few weeks, there will be no shortage of people I’ll run into again – Nick, from Australia, whom I met in Cambodia; Lisa, from England, whom I met in Peru; Ali, from England, whom I met in Japan and visited in Australia; Harriet, from Canada, whom I visit when I go to Paris; Claire, living in Scotland, whom I met in the Philippines; Mark, from Australia, whom I travelled through Argentina and Uruguay with. The list goes on and on. Sometimes we spend months or even years with schoolmates or coworkers, never to see them again once we part ways. Other times, you spend one afternoon with someone on a boat in Cambodia and become friends for life.  It’s a crazy world, but one I love living in, and one I love exploring.

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Jennifer March 13, 2013 - 6:16 am

Visiting Cambodia is on my list, it looks awesome! I just came back from India for the first time and had this same feeling through out my entire trip of people asking for money. It’s sad, but part of traveling the world.

PS I LOVE the necklace you are wearing in this video!! LOVE it!! 🙂

This Battered Suitcase March 13, 2013 - 4:35 pm

Cambodia is really great; I’d like to spend more time there. I only had two weeks!

By the way, the necklace is from Pushkar! I was in India a few months before heading to Cambodia and I wore it all the time around Southeast Asia. Weren’t the markets in India amazing??

Jennifer March 15, 2013 - 4:05 am

SO AMAZING!! I can’t wait to go back!! I could shop for days there! I visited Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, but next time I want to explore Rajasthan and I will need A LOT more time! 🙂

SiemReaper March 13, 2013 - 5:23 pm

Floating villages are one of the most unique and enriching sites you can visit around Siem Reap once you’ve visited Angkor. Unfortunately, Chong Kneas (the one you went to) has become a huge tourist trap, and the constant asking-for-money thing ruins the experience for many tourists. I’d really recommend going to Kompong Phluk, or (even better but a bit further) Kompong Khleang: they’re much more authentic and are almost scam-free.
I recently wrote an article comparing the three main floating villages around Siem Reap, you can find it here:

As for the part about meeting people, I totally agree. it is one of the most beautiful things about traveling, and one of the main reason I travel for. 🙂

This Battered Suitcase March 14, 2013 - 1:10 am

I definitely felt that it was a tourist trap, and I would really like to visit Kompong Phluk the next time I’m in Cambodia. Thank you for the tip!

Antastesia. March 13, 2013 - 7:11 pm

Oh snakes I would have been quite scared!
But the village looks beautiful ! It’s such an unusual thing for us to see buildings on water. I remember that even in Venice it was very surprising!

If you have time and want to when you’re in Paris, we could have a drink or something! 🙂

This Battered Suitcase March 14, 2013 - 1:10 am

I will definitely let you know when I visit Paris in the future!

Steph Lloyd March 14, 2013 - 5:39 am

I’ve been there – such a crazy experience! I’m definitely going to start doing videos when I travel. You and Kerri have inspired me!

This Battered Suitcase March 15, 2013 - 3:57 am

Though I only recently started posting the videos I’ve taken on my travels, I find I watch them all the time! You are instantly transported back to the time and place, more so than photos in my opinion…

Travel Makes Me Tick December 8, 2013 - 5:33 pm

I agree, part of the allure of travelling is the people you meet on the way 🙂


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