The Dogs of Kompong Luong

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December 2012
Location: Kompong Luong, Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

Kompong Luong is one of several predominantly Vietnamese floating villages on Cambodia's Tonle Sap lake. Unlike the more tourist-oriented villages, Kompong Luong sees a tiny number of foreigners, has only a couple English speakers, and offers a cheap, authentic homestay experience. It's a surprisingly self-sufficient place, with temples, hydroponic farms, a post office, mobile clothing shops, baked goods delivered by boat. The guesthouse did quadruple duty as a pool hall, barber shop, and computer/mobile phone repair.

The dogs lead a mysterious life. In a floating village, there is no room to run and play. Even dogs who enjoy swimming would have difficulty climbing back up into the houseboats. There seems to be little reason to guard houses in the small village, so the dogs serve primarily for companionship. It's difficult to tell how much they enjoy the lifestyle, however.