Cambodia, Day 4 – Life as a local in Kompong Khleang

On our third full day in Siem Reap we were really keen to take a break from temples, explore some of the surrounding countryside and try to get a feel for what a regular day in the life of a local Cambodian really felt like.

While there are dozens and dozens of tour operators that can take you on a tour of the ‘floating village’ of Tonle Sap (the massive lake near Siem Reap), most seem to be plagued by touts and other scammers trying to make a quick buck by either isolating you on your boat and then trying to sell you stuff you don’t need, or by trying to put a guilt trip on you for not supporting their local ‘charity’ (ie. Barry and his brood of professional beggars).

We were close to giving up on the idea altogether, until we stumbled across Triple A Adventures. From the various reviews we could find it seemed that these guys took their tour a lot further out of town, to a village called Kompong Khleang. The other bonus was that they also spend half a day with you on bikes, moseying around one of the numerous villages that scatter the Cambodian countryside. Sounded perfect!

The day started out a little dubiously, as our driver for the day reversed into a concrete stub with a nasty crunch! No permanent damage thankfully and it seemed like just another morning in Siem Reap judging by the look on his face!

Things only got better from there, as we travelled the 45 minutes or so out of town to our first destination for the day.

Clambering out of the bus, we were greeted by a couple of locals with bottles of cold water and smiles all round! After selecting our steed of choice for the day’s cycling, we proceeded to slowly amble our way along the red dirt roads of the Cambodian countryside.

Our starting point for the bike ride

So many cute chicks in Cambodia!!

“The Great Eggscape”

Shy girl

These two were very vocal in letting us know that they weren’t impressed by our mad cycling skills and white chicken legs!

Forget laps in an HSV, try a bullock drawn cart!

Despite it being school holidays, those that can afford to will send their kids to additional lessons

All the kids were so cheerful and happy. It couldn’t help but put a smile on your own face!

“I am not a fish monger.” (sorry, private joke…I know Karen will laugh)

Carrots I think??

Like a boss

More fish!

I can’t believe I got the timing perfect on this one!! The look on everyone else’s faces is priceless!

Tupperware anyone?

Local fashions. I forgot to pack my pyjamas for this holiday…

Safe in a mother’s embrace

Catching frogs (to eat)! The bag is full of them.

Gossiping locals

While it’s just another day for these locals, for us it was a little distressing to see this pig struggling against his bonds…

Two cows laughing!

Flowers, ants and a centipede at an old ruined temple that we stopped at while riding through the countryside

It’s worth mentioning something funny that happened at this point. We rode past a group of Cambodian ladies walking on the side of the road and I could see their brains ticking over as they saw the big Dutch bloke (see the photo below) pumping away on his pedals with bowed legs and sweaty back. I imagine the thought process would have been something like…

1. Someone coming on a bike, better move over.

2. Oh, more tourists. Carry on.

3. Hang on…is that what I think it is?

<eyes widening and grins appearing>

4. Check out how fat that guy is!!

<grabbing their bellies and rocking with laughter>

5. How can he even balance on that bike?!!

The poor bugger! He wasn’t even that big, but in their eyes he was bloody huge!!

Taking a detour because the tour guide actually managed to get a little bit lost (due to a road closure earlier on)!

After arriving back at the village we then took off in our minivan to the village of Kompong Khleang. KK is situated up one of the tributaries that feed into the massive Tonle Sap lake. Most people that live there are fisherman, with many not just living on the edge of the river, but actually living on floating houses out on the lake itself.

We spent some time at the house of an English teacher, meeting some of his students and eating lunch in his house/school room up on stilts.

How cute is this little fella?! He looks like an old man in the body of a 3 year old!

Beans drying in the sun. If you look closely you can see the green beans in amongst the husks.

Walking to the school house

English lessons for the day

I imagine a lot of day dreaming would happen at this window!

The village

So simple, but one of the best lunches I had in the whole holiday!



There’s something about this image that really grabs me. (I need to spend a bit more time extracting the detail and removing the highlights because I think it’s got potential)

Bitumen, I think?

While he looked fierce, this cat was the smoochiest feline we’ve ever come across!

The local school

Not our boat (thankfully!)

Kids playing in the river

This was our first time seeing these awesome massive sun visors that the locals wear!!

The hound!

Abstract lake horizon

The guys looked like they were about to rob a bank!!

They even kept pigs out on the river!!

Bath time!

Boat ride back to town


I couldn’t work out if the guy I was speaking with said that they but footballs or dead peoples ashes in these little rooms under the building!! (slight difference, I know)

Kralan seller

Driving back to town we stopped at a road side stall to try a local snack called Kralan (steamed rice with black beans and coconut milk). I thought it was ok, but Karen loved it!