I spent some time near the northern part of Tonle Sap, close to Siem Reap. While I did enjoy the temples and I did wish that I spent more time exploring more temples, the change in view was not that bad.
Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. I read about the lake when I was a teenager and it was an awesome feeling to have finally been there.
There are multiple interesting facts about the lake. One is that its size during the dry and wet season differs remarkably. So does its depth. At some places during the wet season, the water level can reach the canopy level of the forest. Two, the lake is connected to the mighty Mekong at Phnom Penh some hundreds of kilometers to the south east and that river flows upstream during the wet season and the Mekong overflows and downstream during the dry season. It is the overflowing of the Mekong that contributes to the size of the lake during the wet season.
Both Cambodians and Vietnamese live on the Tonle Sap lake. The Vietnamese would come to Tonle Sap when the lake swells the size. In the dry season, they would return to Vietnam. I find the transnational nature of the Vietnamese fishermen as amazing. Many other countries including Malaysia guards it frontier in the sea jealously. Cambodia employs a liberal policy instead. Tonle Sap is located in the middle of Cambodia and the Cambodian government allows Vietnamese fishermen to settle here during the peak season. There is a background story to this but I think that is too complicated for me to tell in this entry.
I visited a village or two on the lake. They are villages of fishermen. The reason for that should be obvious: freshwater lake, fishes.
Here, two brothers were busy catching some fishes. This was near the edge of the lake.
When I reached that particular village, most fishermen were done working at the lake and they were collecting their catches caught in their nets.
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