Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.

The Flooded Village of kampong Phluck

We had a very special day visiting the amazing and surreal village of Kampong Phluck.

Inspirational travel, Marina Elphick on the Batik Route.
Houses on stilts in kampong Phluck, the flooded village on the edge of Ton Le Sap lake, Cambodia

We travelled by boat towards Asia’s largest fresh water lake, Tonle Sap, on the way seeing young men and boys fishing in the muddy canal waters. Two women and their babies came on to our boat, with bags of raw meat to sell direct to the villagers of Kampong Phluck. We were asked first if it was okay, because these young women could not afford to pay for their own boat.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Young Fisherman on the canal.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Our motor boat on the canal to Kampong Phluck.

The canal was long and gradually widened as the flood waters merged the land into a vast lake, tree tops like floating bushes. How the boat driver knew where the canal route was I don’t know, but he steered us safely.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Farmer working his land along side the canal.

Inspirational travel, Marina Elphick on the Batik Route.
Young people fishing on the flooded canal, handbag an all !

Inspirational travel, Marina Elphick on the Batik Route.
Men fishing from a tree in the flooded landscape near the village

Eventually we came out into what looked like an open sea, no sign of any land ahead, only the odd fishing boat in the far distance and a lady selling refreshments from her canoe. I bought chopped mango for us and 25 packets of small biscuits to give out to the village children. We turned back towards the flooded landscape and came to a small cafe on stilts at the edge of the lake, where a picnic lunch was waiting for us.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Taking a break for lunch, Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Canoeing to Kampong Phluck.

A Cambodian lady at the cafe offered us a canoe ride into the village, where motor boats couldn’t go. Carefully we climbed down onto a very shallow canoe and sat crossed legged as we were steered through the flooded forest. Our boat woman knew her way and zig zagged our small vessel through the roots and trees smoothly to the Village of Kampong Phluck.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Canoeing to Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Canoeing to Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Children arriving for their snacks.

As we approached children appeared climbing out of their homes, scrambling down ladders, towards us skipping on to boats or swimming amongst the stilt poles, eagerly awaiting their treats.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Children learn to climb and swim young in Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Children so young sailing canoes.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Boys sail to meet us.

It was heart wrenching to see these tiny children living so perilously yet they seemed agile, confident and happy. They bowed with gratitude as they received their snacks then scattered away.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
A family home in Kampong Phluck.

All houses were high up on 6 metre stilts to avoid the monsoon flooding. In the rainy season it appears like a floating village, in the dry season dwellings are perched precariously on skeletal poles high above dry land.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
The “back streets” Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
A lady selling groceries direct to homes of villagers, Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Mother and baby, Kampong Phluck.

The people are very poor and their daily lives focus on survival. All food other than fish and the few leaves grown in floating ‘nurseries’ had to come from the market on the mainland, one hour up the canal on a motor boat.

Inspirational travel, Marina Elphick on the Batik Route.
Home on water, in the rainy season the water would reach almost floor level.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
The “back streets” Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Home made completely out of bamboo, Palm leaves and wood. Kampong Phluck.

It was astonishing to see how the people lived and coped with family life, existing on so little in such difficult conditions. It was a very humbling insight into the lives of cheerful but vulnerable people.

Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
The flooded forest of Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
The flooded forest of Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Fishing, Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Villager trading, Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Young fisherman on way to Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Homes and small businesses, Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Villagers trading, Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Villagers trading, Kampong Phluck.
Travel for inspiration, Marina Elphick on The Batik Route.
Passing time, little girl in Kampong Phluck.
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