Cambodia: Tonlé Sap Lake

Way back in September of 2014 my father came to visit while I was living in Shanghai, China. He was going to be with me for two weeks so we decided to take a trip somewhere else in Asia for a few days. We settled on Cambodia, specifically Siem Reap, mostly because I have wanted to see Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples for a very long time. This post and the ensuing series will chronicle that trip and the amazing things we saw and, of course, photographed.

I should start by saying that, unlike most of my adventures, this time I had some help figuring out what to do. The problem with sort of spur of the moment decisions to travel to a country that you've never been to is that you've never been there... and don't really know all the things you need to know vis-à-vis getting around, getting to places, speaking the language, finding food etc. So, I did some research and found Peace of Angkor Tours. We decided to hire these guys to take us around not only Siem Reap but also Tonlé Sap Lake and some of the temples well outside of the city. This was a fantastic decision and I fully recommend it for any photographers traveling to the area. Having someone who is familiar with the area and the conditions and can get you to the right places at the right times can make all the difference. Big shout out to Elliot and Dave for sure!

Our first day we did not actually visit any temples. This day we were going to head to Tonlé Sap Lake. But, before we got to the lake we made a stop at a roadside market to shoot people going about their daily lives. If there is one thing I can say about Cambodians, it is that they love to smile.

These little piggies went to market (see what I did there?).

Finally we were on our way to the lake. This area is famous for the homes on and around the lake. If you were to visit in the dry season, you would see homes near the edges of the lake up on high stilts (20 or 30 feet sometimes). You might look at these homes and think that stilts that high are a bit of overkill until you visit in the rainy season. We happened to visit in the rainy season. We drove on the road as far as it would take us before hopping in a boat and cruising down the river towards the lake.

Eventually we got to the lake proper where we encountered the floating village of Tonlé Sap Lake. These homes literally float on the lake and move along with it as it rises and falls during the rainy and dry seasons. Basically all aspects of life are dominated by life on the water.

A hub of commerce on the lake!

Our last stop before heading back was at a small island on the lake. We were getting there just as school was letting out and had the privilege of watching the kids hop on the "busses" home.

After a long morning out on the lake we headed back to town to rest up for our trip the next day to our first temples. But that, my friends, is a story for another day.

Until the next time, Ian

If you are interested in purchasing any prints from this series you can find many of them HERE. If there is anything that tickles your fancy shoot me an EMAIL and we can see what we can work out.

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I have so many photos that I am going to do this thing. I am going to start a few different multipart series from all over the world and release them all in serials. I usually post on Sundays but sometimes I slack. In order to make sure you don't miss a single minute of the action sign up for email alerts when the new posts come out. Also it makes me feel super rad when someone signs up so you could also just sign up to make my day better!

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