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“The worst tourist trap I have been” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Meychrey Floating Village

Meychrey Floating Village
Puok district | Siem Reap Province, Siem Reap, Cambodia
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Ranked #90 of 103 attractions in Siem Reap
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas
Attraction Details
2 reviews
“The worst tourist trap I have been”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

I have to say by the end of it felt I have wasted by time and money.

They will charge you a fortune to take you to down a dirt and ugly river where there is nothing to see, then when you arrive at the floating village where they will stop in the middle of nowhere so the 100's people begging for money can approach your boat, and the driver will pressure you to give them money, then they will take you to the "fish farm" and "crocodile farm" what is really a big souvenir shop where you will have more people asking for money, at last you can go to the orphaned (where the tourist can see the kids like if it was a zoo or something)

And at the end of it your driver will expect a tip for all the great work he's done driving you to the souvenir store!!

Visited March 2013
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Rio de Janeiro
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“Reality or fantasy”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

Reality and expectation are always confusing us on a trip. We visit some place expecting to get the better from it: cheap prices, good food, beautiful pics, a wonderful experience etc. It is the fantasy world of tourism. But then we go to an "attraction" like Meychrey Floating Village, and everything changes. For the people who lives there, our fantasy is their reality. It is hard for them, and it is hard for us.

Meychrey is a poor village, 30 min distant (by tuk tuk) from Siem Reap. To get there, you have to pay the ground transportation (tuk tuk, taxi or you can even rent a bike) and the boat journey. If you choose to get a private boat for yourself and your friends, it will be more expensive than if you choose to share a large boat with many tourists - but you will have privacy, maybe this is worthy.

I got impressed by the village: the houses, the church, the school, the stores and the basketball court... everything was on the water, in boats or floating structures. People really go from one place to another by boat, and definitively it is not a scene that we see everywhere.

Ok, but there was a problem, a big one. There is an arrangement in which the pilots take tourists for a market, in order to encourage them to buy food to an orphanage. Later, tourists themselves are taking to the orphanage, by boat of course, to donate the food and also are encouraged to take pictures.

It was extremely embarrassing. When I arrived at the orphanage, the teacher seemed totally upset with the situation, but I was allowed to enter the classroom. Immediately I asked to go away, and didn't take pictures.

My first thought was that children and orphanages are not tourist attractions, and should not be explored like that. But there is another side in this story that we have to consider: maybe, and just maybe, the orphanage arrangement is the best way people from Meychrey discovered to get something from tourism. They are poor, very poor. I dislike what they did, but not feel confortable to condemn them. Again: what is fantasy for us is reality for them.

PS. I visited Meychrey during the dry season. I remember someone explaining that during the rainy seasons the panorama is a little bit different, so it is good to check before going there.

Visited March 2013
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“If I could give this a zero, I would.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013 via mobile

Complete waste of time and money. We went to buy our tickets and we were told 20 dollars a person. Another couple was told a completely different price. We decided to do it since we already there. It was just the two of us and we had our own boat, our guide spoke okay English and went on to explain to us about the orphanage. He asked us if we wanted to visit it and we thought we better not. After he kept trying to talk us into it and failed he lost interest in the tour. He went to the back of the boat and napped. After about 30 minutes we made it to the village and the guy popped up from his nap and pointed out the church that was next to the orphanage. We acknowledged him and changed the subject. Since we didn't want to go to the orphanage he had our driver take us back and we didn't get to see the floating village and wasted and hour of our time and 40 dollars. It's basically a scam for you to buy food and donate money.

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Senior Reviewer
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15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“industrial tourism”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

I wanted to use the one spare day we had to visit the tonle sap lake because of its significance for the region and its historical importance in shaping the region. Our guide advised us to take this trip; it was our first day and we had yet to learn. I wanted to go to kamchung pluk but as it was the dry season we listened to the guide. It is true that the village was probably not worth visiting but I can't imagine we could not have found a better experience than this one!
We were told the cost beforehand so no complaints there. As others say it is 20 to 30 minutes from siem reap. At the moment at least you arrive in a building site. Korean investors are building a new port and access road. It is an earthen port as might be expected with literally hundreds of boats of varying sizes. We were led to a small boat for 10 people but we were alone with the pilot and our driver for the trip. I am not sure how the pricing works but we paid 20usd each ie 40 in total for the boat - no negotiating.
There followed about 30 minutes motoring down the earth banked channel in a single stream of boats one way and another stream coming back. There were several earth movers on the banks dredging the channel in what is probably a continuous exercise given the number of boats. Upon reaching the lake the boats spread out whilst heading for one of several floating structures a few hundred metres off shore. You pass others and not far from two floating villages but we did not get close to either.
On arrival at the large structure we were embarked to see crocodiles, lake fish, a large snake and a few posters about the lake. Of course there are many things one can buy!
On leaving, two small local boats with women and children were arriving seemingly exhausted by the long paddle. We thought they were just heading for our berth in amongst the jostle of other boats but of course as they arrived the children started begging. Depressingly familiar.
Our return was the same as the arrival. I have written elsewhere about tipping. I had no small change at this time so there was no question of giving to the pilot. However I was surprised to see our driver hand over a few small notes.
Should you do it? If you want to see the lake in dry season, maybe. But go prepared for this industrialised tourist experience.

Visited March 2013
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Kuala Lumpur
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“Quite an experience but beware of hidden costs!”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2013

We left siem reap at about 10am and it was a half an hour tuk tuk ride to the boat pier. Our tuk tuk driver ( who we booked for the whole day) charged an extra usd10 for the trip.

We paid USD18pp at the pier, which was a surprise as I had read on line that the cost was usd12pp. The payment basically covers the rental of the boat that takes us to and from the floating village.

The boat ride to the village was I eventful, and we passed schools, buildings and even a basketball court which were floating on water on the side of the river. When we got to the floating village, we passed several of the floating houses, where the inhabitants were getting on with their daily lives. We were then told of orphans who lived on a school. We were then brought to a shop where we were encouraged to buy rice, bottled water or noodles for the school children. Rice -usd65, bottled water - usd5 for 12 330ml bottles. Basically, quite pricy.

The guide and boat driver will carry the items onto the boat and then we were taken to the school, where were were shown where the food is cooked, where the children slept as well as the classroom, where there were about 40 children.

We were then taken to the crocodile farm, which had about a dozen crocs in a small enclosure. This was next to a restaurant and shops where we could buy drinks and souvenirs. After leaving the croc farm, we were then taken back up the river to the boat pier.

Overall cost:
Tuk-tuk - usd10
Boat ticket - usd18pp
Purchase of rice and bottled water - usd80

Overall experience : it is worth a visit if you want to see a floating village as well as enjoy a pleasant boat ride on a river. However, be wary that the guide will take you to the shop to buy food and water for the children at expensive prices.

Visited February 2013
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