We are planning to visit Cambodia and Southern Vietnam in the first half of February. I read in Lonely Planet guidebooks and the Internet that there are various floating villages and markets on Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia and in the Mekong delta in Vietnam. What is the difference between these communities? Is visiting all (most) of them worthwhile?

Also, we will be travelling with small kids (6, 4 and 1 years). Are the tours of these floating villages/markets reasonably child friendly?

Is it possible to combine visiting floating villages/markets with a boat transfer from Siem Reap to either Phnom Penh or Battambang? And does this trip make sense in February?


I can only offer information (from 2014) about the floating village of Prek Toal, at the mouth of the Sangkae river (into the Tonle Sap). I found it absolutely fascinating to see how these people live in floating houses and even raise animals and small gardens floating on the water. Tourism doesn't seem to be a big factor there yet. I am certain kids would love it.

There is a connection by boat between Siem Reap and Battambang, which passes through Prek Toal and is altogether a stunning experience. But it is also very long, hot and crowded, and will be worse so in February when the water level is lowest. I cannot recommend it at that time or with small kids. Otherwise you could have yourself be picked up in Prek Toal after getting a guided tour there and maybe staying overnight (depends on how the times line up).

From what I've heard, the boat transfer between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh is optimized for speed, not for sightseeing, but I'm not sure. Maybe there is one that stops at a floating village where you could do the same combination described above.

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