Learn more about the floating village of Kompong Khleang, how to get there, updated entrance fees, and other important information before you visit.
Kompong Khleang (which is also spelled Kampong Khleang or Khampong Khleang) is a massive floating community approximately 50km from Siem Reap. While it does not attract the number of tourists as other floating villages – due to its cost, distance and lack of revenue-generating opportunities for tour companies (such as restaurants and souvenir shops) – it has arguably become the go-to destination for travelers looking for a more raw and authentic experience.
What is Kompong Khleang – A Brief Primer
As mentioned, Kompong Khleang is a floating village in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Residents live on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. This lake serves as the dumping point for the Mekong River which floods and recedes annually. As a result, residents have built stilted and floating homes to survive the fluctuations in water levels.
Kompong Khleang is actually made up of a total of 10 connected, stilted villages. As of 2017, there are an estimated 14,000 people living in the greater Kompong Khleang area. In addition, there are two floating, houseboat villages closer to the Tonle Sap. One is an ethnic Vietnamese floating village and the other one is Khmer.
The community has all the features of a normal town. It has a large market serving the village as well as homes which stock essential supplies for nearby neighbors. There are three pagodas serving the religious needs of the community. In addition, there is a community medical center for emergencies. Currently, there is one pre-primary school run by Bridge of Life School as well as two primary schools and one houseboat school serving young learners. There is also a secondary school. As of 2018, Kompong Khleang does not have a high school, although there are plans to build one in the future.
Getting to Kompong Khleang & Cost
Nowadays, with improved roads and the help of Google Maps, getting to Kompong Khleang is very easy. If you are traveling on your own, simply head east on Road 6 from Siem Reap. Continue until you arrive in Damdek, the biggest city next to Siem Reap. After the Damdek market (left side of the road), continue a bit further. You will see another, small market (left side of the road before a tall, white building). When you arrive at this market, continue slowly and take a right on the first, paved road you see.
Continue down the road for some time. In the rainy season, you will arrive at a dock where you will buy tickets and board the boat. In the dry season, you will need to continue all the way to Wat Kompong Khleang where you can park and then purchase tickets. If you get lost do not worry – locals are very friendly and are happy to help. Just say “Kompong Khleang” and they will point you in the right direction.
When you visit Kompong Khleang you will need to pay a floating village entrance fee. This fee includes boat tickets and tourism tax. These community tourism boats will take you through the village and onwards to the Tonle Sap lake. As of 2018, the cost is $21 USD for the first person. If you are traveling with more than one person, the cost is $20 USD per person. You can learn more about all the Siem Reap floating village entrance fees here.
Rainy Season vs. Dry Season
Just like all Tonle Sap communities, the shift in water levels affects life in the village. For example, during the rainy season, everything must be put in your home or removed from the village. In the dry season, however, residents will put their belongings under their home and open up stores on dry land that has appeared between the homes.
Due to these ecological changes, tours change based on the season as well. During the rainy season boat ride, you will leave from the beginning of the village. You will pass through all of Kompong Khleang on a boat. In the dry season, however, you will drive through part of the village and begin your boat journey at Wat Kompong Khleang. During the dry season, you also go out further on the Tonle Sap lake to make up for the further departure point. During both rainy and dry season, you will see the two house boat villages.
Two Things to Keep in Mind Before Visiting
There are two “downsides” to Kompong Khleang that tourists should keep in mind before planning their trip. The first is its distance. At 50+ kilometers, it takes up to an hour to get there by car. Traveling by tuk-tuk or moped can take longer. The other downside is that it lacks a flooded mangrove forest which is a really unique experience found in the floating village of Kompong Phluk.
Before deciding to visit Kompong Khleang, tourists should weigh whether the timing, logistics, and lack of flooded forest make sense for them. Here is an article which can help you make that determination.
The Tonle Sap Experience – Kompong Khleang Tour Options
As we have shared before, it’s always worth visiting a floating village with a registered tour company. This allows you to share the costs of transportation and guides. It also ensures no issues will arise on the way as some of the floating village, in particular Chong Kneas, are having issues with scams.
The Tonle Sap Experience currently offers an afternoon group tour. The cost is $32 USD per person and it includes your entrance fee and boat tickets. In addition to seeing the village, you’ll have the chance to meet residents along the way and in the village itself. This includes a visit to a traditional incense maker, a tour and blessing at the largest Buddhist pagoda in Siem Reap, and a walking tour of Kompong Khleang itself. Learn more about this group tour here.
We also offer several private tours of Kompong Khleang focusing on certain themes like fishing, street food or countryside immersions. You can also combine a visit to the Tonle Sap with other popular tourist destination such as Angkor or Beng Melea temple. You can visit our Private Floating Village Tour page.0