Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Siem Reap Flooding - Trip Report

As most know by now, there has been flooding across the Cambodia and the region for almost two weeks, including in Siem Reap town. I drove from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap day before yesterday (Sunday) - the usual route up 6A to Skun, then National Route 6 through Kampong Thom and on to Siem Reap. The road was mostly clear of flooding save a couple of short stretches with a few inches of water across the road that were easily passable. The countryside to either side of the road was flooded to the horizon in many places, especially along 6A south of Skun and also near Kampong Thom City. The water was right up to the road's edge for much of the trip and just a little bit of rain would likely put it over the top. All of the rivers and streams (that could be distinguished from the flooded countryside) were full to the brim and moving fast and hard. Animals - cows and water buffaloes mostly - lined the sides of the road in several areas, driven out of the fields and to the high ground by the flooding.

Siem Reap town has experienced varying levels of flooding for better than a week, the worst of it toward the south end of town. When we arrived on Sunday it hadn't rained in Siem Reap for more than 24 hours and the flooding had reportedly stabilized and even retreated a bit. I'm staying at the north end of town where the flooding is minimal at the moment. Tuk-tuks and motodups were reluctant to try to cross from this side of town to the Old Market area, claiming that there was a 50-50 chance of the engine flooding out in the deeper sections along the way, so I decided to walk over to the Old Market in the early afternoon, about 8 hours ago. The following are some of the photos I took along the way. (Turns out that wading 2-3 kilometers through ankle to knee-deep water is surprisingly good exercise. Suffering some sore leg muscles tonight as a result.)

As mentioned above, the weather has been mostly dry in Siem Reap for at least 48 hours. Yesterday (it is now just after midnight) was sunny and pleasant in the morning with only a brief rain in the afternoon. The waters are receding from town at the moment, quite visibly so in the later evening.

All of the following were taken with a 17mm-55mm lens (Nikon D5100.) If it looks like I was standing in thigh deep water to get the shot, I was.

2 Thnou Street (Old Market Street)

Old Market

2 Thnou Street (Old Market Street) near Sivutha Blvd.

Pub Street

Water play at the intersection of Sivutha Blvd and Phnom Krom Road just south of the Old Market

Siem Reap Provincial Hospital

Tep Vong Street

Intersection of Sivutha Blvd. and Tep Vong Street


Bow wave on Sivutha Blvd.

Snack vendors next to the river near the Old Market

Makeshift boat

Sivutha Blvd.

Many businesses have lined sandbags against the flooding.


  1. It just looks horrendous.

    Kampot seems have been spared this year.

  2. It's not too bad if you don't mind swimming to a pub for a beer!
    We are there now having a great time, sure it's a little wet but as we like to say everytime something goes wrong........ It's an adventure!