We did not plan to visit the floating village, but after a few days of temples were interested in a change. Our guide book briefly mentioned this and we decided to go.
DO NOT GO. IT IS DANGEROUS.
From the moment we walked down the docks, I felt fear about this.
The boats were floating shanties. They used car engines to run the boats, and our boat had something like 10 kitchen chairs just sitting in it with about 3 life vests.
The water was so disgusting looking -- a combination of milky white and brown -- that I was horrified to even get splashed with it. We saw people fishing in the water and saw someone pull out a small crocodile. I honestly did feel that I would rather die than get in this water, it was that disgusting.
However, all these thoughts were going through my head as we chugged out into the lake. I tried to distract myself by waving to the other travelers in boats that were going the opposite direction. I felt solace in the fact that their boats had made the trip and were going back to the dock. However, no one looked happy on these boats and very few waved back. I soon figured out why…
As we got out into the middle of the lake, our two young water taxi drivers began talking about how poor the area is (duh) and how many people die fishing, so there is a floating orphanage. He says we are going to stop there, but first we will go to a supply store on the lake so we can buy water and rice for the kids. He says many travelers do not want to do this, and said he knew we would surely buy some food for the kids.
There were no options given about what we were to do. The floating supply store had ridiculous prices -- double what anything would cost even in the US. However, it honestly didn't feel safe to say no. We couldn't walk away! We were little prisoners on their boat.
We then stopped at a floating museum, if you wanted to call it that. It felt as it if might fall apart under our feet. There were crocodiles much too close to us.
As we got back on our boat, children in buckets (as boats) and adults in small boats began congregating around our water taxi. They grabbed our arms and begged for money. The children in buckets had pet snakes in their hand that they held out to you. As if the fear of the water was not enough!
At this point I was honestly in survival mode. I just have to not drown, not get bit by some damn snake, and not catch some disease from these kids at the orphanage who are climbing all over us at the next stop.
This probably sounds horrible as you read this: but honestly, it was terrifying.
The rickety water taxi boat was dangerous enough. Basically being told to buy things for an orphanage felt like a racket. Then being grabbed and yelled at by people coming up to your boat (the taxi drivers didn't do anything to try to stop it) and being within inches of crocodiles and snakes…
It was the only part of Cambodia that was bad. Just don't go.
We made donations before and after our trip to charity:water, UNICEF, and 2 local relief agencies. I feel certain that what happened on the water was not truly to help the children, but to pad the pocket of those involved in this little racket operation.
In retrospect, climbing into a boat to visit one of the poorest areas in Cambodia seems like a terrible idea. I wish our travel guide had mentioned some of the dangers. Maybe this review can help you avoid it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.