Pak Lay – 17th April 1867


A little above Keng Sao, the bed of Cambodia narrows and cleans itself a little. The hills are once again approaching the banks and enclosing between two rock walls all the waters of the river. The houses of Pak Lay appear among the tall trees that line the right bank. At the foot of the bank, extends in front of the village a long sandbank on which had been built some large bamboo huts. This was a ready-made facility which we hastened to take advantage of when, on April 17, at ten o’clock in the morning, we disembarked at Pak Lay. The village, built in the middle of the forest, presents a different physiognomy from the ones we were accustomed to encounter. No palm trees around the huts, and the rice fields, which everywhere else touch the last houses, are here very far in the interior; the country, more rugged, offers few plains for this culture. The forest itself takes on a harsher appearance and darker hues. The dzao, this magnificent oil tree, which is used in the south to build canoes, has disappeared; many new species are appearing. The inhabitants seemed of a more reserved nature, and were far from showing us the indiscreet curiosity which we had had to endure until then. It is true that they were already familiar with European figures. It was six years since Mouhol had been Pak Lay.

Garnier, Vol 1: 307