An easy getaway from Phnom Penh, Kampong Chhnang is a beautiful way to experience the

Cambodian rural lifestyle and its diverse cultures and ways of living. Being situated on a river

near the Tonlé Sap lake, its waterfront is composed by different villages made of wooden

houses on stilts and floating villages. Besides that, various different ethnic groups live happily

side by side, a must see if you are looking for an authentic cultural experience in your travels.

Kampong Chhnang floating village

More peaceful is impossible.

So rent a bicycle and come explore the different villages, going around slowly to allow you to

engage with the locals – you will definitely hear a lot of hellos while you are passing, so take

your time to stop and engage in some conversations. Try as well to understand where the

people came from, because in this area you will find different ethnic communities. Besides

Khmer people, like the majority of population in Cambodia, you can meet some Cham families,

Vietnamese and Kampuchea Krom, ethic Cambodians that before lived in the Delta Mekong

(now part of Vietnam but during Angkor era belonging to the Khmer empire).

Floating Villages

Cham girl in front of her cute house.

One of the most interesting communities due to its differences to the other ethnic groups is

the Cham people. They were part of the old Champa empire (that stretched from Cambodia to

south Vietnam many years ago) and are mostly muslim and with different traditions. You can

notice this for instance in the clothes they wear, the bits of Arab language you can find from

time to time, and the presence of a mosque in the village (the only mosque on stilts that we

ever found!)

Kampong Chhnang floating village

Mosque on stilts, definitely a reason to go back during rainy season to see people go praying by boat.


During the monsoons the whole area is flooded and people have to travel to their houses by

boat, but during dry season you can have a great time cycling on the road along the river and

see the different villages and their people.

Kampong Chhnang floating village

Lifestyle by the river.

Explore the various roads near the canals more close to the city as well, for a glance on the

beautiful traditional wooden houses on stilts.

Kampong Chhnang Floating village

We want to live here.

Besides the architecture, this is a great way to meet the locals and their way of life. They are

mainly fishermen due to the proximity to the Tonlé Sap lake, the most important source of

protein in the country’s diet.

Kampong Chhnang floating village

Karate-fisherman move.

The lake is upstream from the river, so if you want is possible to ask any local owner of a boat

to bring you there, passing of course through the fascinating Vietnamese floating villages.

Great opportunity to work on your bargaining skills!

Kampong Chhnang floating village

Floating village populated by Vietnamese families.

Other option is to cross the river by ferry to go to Kampong Leang, where you can hike the

Neang Kong Rei mountains or visit some ancient temples, built before the Angkor era. But if

you are more into relaxing mode, on the water front you can also find Phsar Krom, a series of

small roads filled with shops and street food stalls, and a nice promenade to walk or chill out

with the locals.

Kampong Chhnang floating village

Kitsch sculptures on the river front.

Hope we gave you enough reasons to come explore these communities and floating villages, have a look on Camboticket website for options on how to get here!


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