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Hero rats, singing puddles and crowd-free ruins: A postcard from Cambodia in rainy season

Avoid the rainy season is one of great truisms of travel. But is it always good advice? I was intrigued by the idea of taking a more counter-intuitive approach by visiting the tourist honeypot of Siem Reap at a time when most visitors stay away. These rainy, crowd-free weeks are when Cambodia comes to life.

The Khmer Empire, responsible for the astonishing temples of Angkor, understood water and built complex systems of channels and reservoirs to manage it. Modern-day Cambodians manage it still. This is a culture built on water: not just the stuff that falls from the sky in sometimes apocalyptic deluges between June and October, but the Himalayan meltwaters that pour down the Mekong river from May onwards, reversing the flow of its tributary, the Tonlé Sap river, and tripling the size of the lake of the same name, where the northern shores come within a few miles of Siem Reap.

By mid-September, when I visit, Tonlé Sap is the biggest freshwater lake in south-east Asia, measuring up to 150 miles (240km) long by 60 miles (96km) wide. More than 170 villages dot its marshy margins, the houses either floating on pontoons as the waters rise or perched on tall stilts with provisions, bicycles and even livestock slung in makeshift cradles beneath.

Continue to the article here https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/cambodia/articles/a-postcard-from-cambodia-in-rainy-season/amp/

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