Tonle Sap, The Lake  

I thought it was a sea, apparently I was wrong. Our tour guide Ta quickly corrected me by explaining patiently to us that the 160km wide Tonle Sap is a freshwater lake. That’s not all, the fact is this lake may double its size during the rainy season when water from the Mekong River gradually floods the surrounding rice fields and mangrove forests, making the speed boat cruise from one end to another in no less than 5 hours. Though the lake was mammoth, it was only 2 meters deep at the time of our visit, but Ta told us it could rise up to 8 meters during the monsoon season. It undoubtedly deserves the claim of the largest lake in South East Asia, I could see it for myself and had the pleasure of floating on it. I slowly recalled my geography teacher solemnly drawing a map of Cambodia with a big hole in it, with a cane pointed to the giant hole and shouted to the whole class, "Listen class, the Tonle Sap lake, a popular question!" Obviously I flunked my exam then by answering Tonle Sap the great sea.

After an hour of boat ride, we finally arrived at Kompong Phluk, a small fishing village virtually untouched by visitors. Ta, our experienced guide, brought us here to avoid the main tourist trail, giving us some valuable undisturbed times to stroll around a classical kompong. The quintessential stilt houses and the life of village people granted me endless photographic opportunities, the long boat ride earlier truly worth the wait. We took the opportunities to speak to a local school teacher and donated some money to a funeral ceremony that was taking place then.

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