A visit to Siem Reap's floating villages is a love-it-or-hate-it experience. Visit with a good tour company and/or a good guide and you'll come away with memories to treasure. Go on your own or with a disreputable travel agency and you'll be over-charged, hassled like mad, and pressured to buy souvenirs to the point that you'll loathe Cambodia. It's these kind of experiences that have earned the country the title 'Scambodia' amongst backpackers.
They are easily avoided, however, if you use a good tour company, such as Triple A Cambodia, which offers a Countryside Day Tour that begins with a bike ride through the palm-shaded villages near the Roluos temples, with stops to stroll a local market, visit small farms, and scramble ruins hidden in a forest. The second half of the tour consists of a very pleasant cruise through the fascinating floating villages of stilted timber houses (on water during monsoon season and on land during the dry season) to Kompong Kleang and the Vietnamese floating village, a visit to a pagoda, lunch at a local home, and a cruise out to the edge of the Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. On the day we did the tour we weren't hassled or asked to buy anything once, our guide was a real charmer, and the woman at the home we visited delighted in our company as much as we did in hers. I'd do the tour again in a heartbeat.