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Living on Water: Stilted Villages

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After visiting the legendary floating villages on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap, I took a detour to Kompong Phluk, a permanent settlement built upon stilts at the edge of the lake. As I paddled through the brackish water, it was a breathtaking sight to see homes, cooking, fishing, and everyday life soaring above me.

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    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Kompong Phluk is a village of around 100 stilted homes, located on one of the northern-central tributaries of the Tonle Sap lake.  Meandering along the waterway through the village, I watched as men dried fish on mats, women collecting throngs of pink shrimp, and children playing a game of tag while balancing on their boats.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Kompong Phluk is a village of around 100 stilted homes, located on one of the northern-central tributaries of the Tonle Sap lake. Meandering along the waterway through the village, I watched as men dried fish on mats, women collecting throngs of pink shrimp, and children playing a game of tag while balancing on their boats.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The name, Kompong Phluk, means ‘harbor of the tusks’ in Khmer.  It is primarily a fishing village, with most of its residents engaging in shrimp harvesting.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The name, Kompong Phluk, means ‘harbor of the tusks’ in Khmer. It is primarily a fishing village, with most of its residents engaging in shrimp harvesting.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  Flooded mangrove forests surround Kompong Phluk, an integral habitat for the fish that make up the livelihood of the thousands who live on the lake.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    Flooded mangrove forests surround Kompong Phluk, an integral habitat for the fish that make up the livelihood of the thousands who live on the lake.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The entire area is home to around 3,000 people, and Kompong Phluk extends to encompass a stilted commune of three more nearby villages.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The entire area is home to around 3,000 people, and Kompong Phluk extends to encompass a stilted commune of three more nearby villages.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  I was lucky enough to be visiting during the dry season, when water levels in the lake are lower and all of the stilted structures below the living areas are revealed.  Many families use the lower areas for storage during the dry season, putting aside fishing nets and cookingware, or hanging clothes to dry.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    I was lucky enough to be visiting during the dry season, when water levels in the lake are lower and all of the stilted structures below the living areas are revealed. Many families use the lower areas for storage during the dry season, putting aside fishing nets and cookingware, or hanging clothes to dry.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  This is one of the many floating fish farms that you can see scattered throughout the village, tethered to the trees or a fisherman’s home.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    This is one of the many floating fish farms that you can see scattered throughout the village, tethered to the trees or a fisherman’s home.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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  The small tributary eventually broadens to become the sweeping Tonle Sap lake, the largest inland body of water in Southeast Asia.  During the fishing season, one can always see many small fishing boats punctuating the seemingly infinite ocean landscape.  Photo by: Tiffany Chu
    The small tributary eventually broadens to become the sweeping Tonle Sap lake, the largest inland body of water in Southeast Asia. During the fishing season, one can always see many small fishing boats punctuating the seemingly infinite ocean landscape.

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

    Photo by: Tiffany Chu

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