Battambang to Siem Reap via River Boat
Wednesday, February 17th, was mostly spent in transit via boat from Battambang to Siem Reap. At 7am we boarded a little boat with 2 rows of seats, a roof, and a tiny 4 foot tall squat bathroom so precarious I was the only one that dared to use it, which I did twice. I have good balance. We floated down the Battambang River for 5 hours; it was much more fun than I was expecting! We’re probably the last Intrepid group to go to Siem Reap by boat rather than by bus this season because the river is getting very low and we got stuck a few times. From our boat we saw a side of Cambodian life that few tourists get to see. The people that live on the river live in either little huts on stilts, floating huts, or their boats with rickety walls and a roof. They bathe in the river (which is filthy), wash their clothes and dishes in the river, and fish in the river to get their food.
There were lots of ridiculously cute kids along the river that would run up to the edge of the water to wave at us and yell “bye bye!!!” I got quite the arm workout from all the waving. I’d post pics of them but I think I would get in trouble with the law since most of the kids were half or fully naked.
After 5 hours on the river we got to the Tonle Sap Lake. Tonle Sap lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, and it is the reason the ancient Khmer civilization was centered at Angkor (and why the temples were built there). But from my vantage point on the boat, Tonle Sap Lake was large, brown, and boring. I took a picture for posterity.
We crossed the lake in about an hour and were soon at the docks near Siem Reap.
We got off the boat and onto a bus that took us to Siem Reap proper. I was tired so I spent the rest of the evening sleeping. Tomorrow is temple time!