Should we visit Tonie Sap Lake in Cambodia?

I sensed some hesitation when we asked our driver if he could take us to Tonie Sap Lake however he duly obliged and sorted tickets and accompanied us on a boat trip round the lake.

Tonie Sap is home to a floating  village and about a twenty minute run from Siem Reap. It seems a touch voyeuristic watching people on their verandahs as they did their washing or repaired nets e.t.c but some people are making a living from showing us tourists around…… so who is wrong here?

Young children used to this way of life paddled their own boats or played on the steep banks whilst both men and women ferried household supplies up and down the channel that joins the lake. There is no doubt that it is fascinating learning about other’s lives especially when you come from a busy metropolitan western lifestyle.

We were taken to an area which seemed to house a cafe slash shop and a crocodile pit…….ermm that surprised me too, despite a few questions I couldn’t quite work out why these crocodiles were kept there. It made for uncomfortable viewing a pile of crocodiles in a wooden open topped cage with not much room and limited access to water.

Next stop was a storage unit where we were sold a large bag of rice for £35 between four of us….. yes we fell for it. It was suggested we might like to buy it for the school house so that children would eat……. some time after we were told tales of how it would then be sold back to the storage unit…… don’t know what to believe.

We stopped off at the school house and we handed the children pens from our bags and we watched them listen to stories as we handed the rice over. I would love to know more about other people’s experiences and what they know about Tonie Sap ………. because I left with a bitter taste and I wasn’t alone.

2 thoughts on “Should we visit Tonie Sap Lake in Cambodia?

  1. Glad to see that you are conscientious, something your peers often lack. Fortunately today there is plenty online advice about how to be a responsible tourist. For example: http://www.concertcambodia.org/Ecotours.html Yes that £35 – US$50 you wasted could have helped one poor child to go to school for a year. https://plan-international.org I assume that you are from the UK, like me? One of my biggest disappointments has been my failure to persuade media there, especially the Times Education Supplement, to warn people, such as potential gap year students of the perils of orphanage tourism, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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