The lake lays in the west of the country, which surrounded by Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Kampong Thom provinces. The region breaks the record with a surface an area up to 16 000 km2. Most people here living by catching fish and growing vegetable on the land by the lake. For this reason, when you choose to take a trip to Tonle Sap, you can observe many things that considered to be the plain and rustic sight.
2. BEST TIME TO VISIT TONLE SAP
During the dry season from November to April, it provides the most perfect time to visit Tonle Sap for those who are interested in bird watching.
With no rainy days, warm sunlight and birds gather in some particular places in Prek Toal bird sanctuary (located on Tonle Sap lake) - one of the most important breeding grounds of water birds in Southeast Asia.
From May to late October, monsoon takes place making it easier to access floating villages as the water level rises dramatically. Thus, if you want to experience the authentic local life on the water or enjoy all the features of river tourism, head to Tonle Sap lake during this time of the year.
3. THINGS TO DO IN TONLE SAP
Take a Boat Trip
Standing in front of this magnificent body of water, you might confuse where to start, well, in this case, the region provides boating trip for tourists, which various to many kinds of boats, places to eat, stop station and floating villages to reach. Otherwise, you can catch the local boats and enjoy the view while they are riding. During a few hours on the trip, you will be taken through many villages, several stops and cross through the mangrove forest.
Visiting Floating Villages
Along the trip, there are many floating villages that are still in a rather poor condition. You will have a chance to see kids playing on the water, local people living on those floating stilt houses. Among those jungles of local homes, you will probably pass through the Chong Khneas, which also the easiest village to access when you start from Siem Reap province.
Then, following next is the Kampong Phuluk, the village consists of three smaller villages of stilt houses, which built within the floodplain. After that, you can pay a short time to the Kompong Khleng village, Mechrey village- the entrance to Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary if time permits.
Observe Agriculture and Aquaculture of the Locals
The region supplies 60% of protein source and provides 75% the amount of freshwater fish for the entire country. This leads to the fact that most people here do agriculture and aquaculture for a living. You can see during your trip on a boat, lots of locals and kids are rowing their wooden boats to catch fish and collecting plant on the river surface. In this time, take out your camera and shoot some nice pictures would be cool.
Have Meals at Queen Tara Floating Restaurant
This is the most well-known restaurant in the region, which floats in the center of the lake, it provides cuisine that has tasty flavor and variety to many dishes, especially fish. The journey to the restaurant itself is an exciting adventure.
If you are hesitant to travel so far for a meal, then visit the Vietnamese Tonle Sap Floating Restaurant on the edge of the river instead, though they are Vietnamese they also provide some Cambodian cuisine. Besides, they also score a point by owning a big crocodile raising pond.
Contemplate Sunset on the Lake
Contemplating the glamorous sunset on Tonle Sap lake is a not - to - be - missed activity for its unique feature and stunning view. Make sure to save battery for this fascinating scene. Watch the sundown fully, this would set a fulfill ad satisfying end to your one- day trip to Tonle Sap.
5. THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Since the area is rather poor, so there aren’t many things to buy. There are several small markets on land and some boats of locals selling goods, most of the products they sell are food, vegetable, bottles of drink. Or else, you can have meals on the floating restaurants, remember to try fish dishes out.
- Make sure to choose the right boat and right tour. In particular, you should go on a large boat tour that has proper tour guides and managers.
- Bring along hat, suncream and bottles of water.
- Don’t talk or look at the sellers that keep recommending you to buy their goods, in this way, they will row away.