A self-sufficient town built on the waters of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest body of fresh water in the country. This is Kompong Luong: where the symbiosis between water and humans is palpable.
It can be accessed by rowing or motor boat, long and narrow, as the ones here are. And always with this, one goes around the network of canals that unravel between the houses. Many dwellings have their wooden exterior walls painted either a deep, bright blue or a lighter, almost sea-green. If you don’t look at the foundations, tightly welded onto boats and rafts, the houses look like ordinary local dwellings, with flowers in the windows and sometimes a hammock on the veranda.
Everything floats here: the shops crammed with goods, the school, the petrol station, the church, the restaurants. Every activity – commercial and otherwise – present is on the water. The children meet as if they were in the garden park, but riding small boats. Shopkeepers go door to door selling their products: vegetables, meat, fish, and noodles. People, when they get together for a chat, are always on something that floats. The boats almost seem like an extension of the body, such is the naturalness with which those who were born here carry them.
Inhabited mainly by Vietnamese fishermen, the village is unfortunately progressively shrinking in size and number due to the increasing difficulties of living and working on the water. Not easy waters, capable of expanding and contracting even for several kilometres depending on the season.
The village and area of Kompong Luong are part of the Cambodia 2019 Masterclass programme