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As we watched the sun turn bright pink and smudge across the sky we were brought a sense of tranquility as it set. It was not a sunset full of vibrant colours but it was still just as beautiful.

Only 3 hours earlier we had left for our boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake and the time had flown by. On the way we had asked the bus to stop at the Lotus farms. Immediately we were met with a number of wooden huts surrounded by vivid pink and orange flowers all of which overlook the gorgeous setting of marshes filled with millions of Lotus flowers. The tranquility however was quickly overturned when we had to escape the dog chasing us because we couldn’t resist taking some pictures of it’s extremely cute puppies.

Having recovered from sprinting we boarded our boat and immediately went up to the top deck for a better view and the deck chairs. Although our boat was not a traditional Cambodian fishing boat, we did see many of these as we cruised up the river to the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The expanse was so huge that it looked like the sea. We could not see land in any direction simply little floating villages in the middle of the unending water. We were told that the water levels were much lower than normal not just because it is the dry season but because of the drought that has hit Cambodia this year.

As we drew up to the floating view point it was as if we were in a different world. 5 year old children were paddling themselves around the open water in plastic containers that had been cut in half and others holding enormous snakes. There was no rocking on the floating building. It felt relatively stable although some water did splash through gaps in the floor every now and then. The view point is also a lively place full of stalls and vendors working alongside some enormous crocodiles, as it doubles up as a crocodile farm.

The most special part was definitely the top of the viewing platform where we could see the entire village beyond. It holds schools, doctors and everything you could think of on the water. It is certainly an incredible feat of engineering!

Grace Castle

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