Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is of major importance to Cambodia. The lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia’s dry season, the Tonl? Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year’s heavy rains begin in June, the flow of the Tonl? Sap changes directions and an enormous lake forms. Tonl? Sap is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham communities, living in floating villages around the lake.
National Museum of Cambodia
The National Museum is home to the world’s greatest collection of Khmer artifacts and is well worth a visit ahead of a trip to the temples of Angkor Wat. A stroll through the attraction takes in a range of sculptures, ceramics, and other ancient objects dating back to the prehistoric, pre-Angkorian, and post-Angkorian periods, offering an intriguing insight into the country’s rich history.
Bamboo Train, Battambang
Rumors have been circulating for the last few years about the famed bamboo train’s demise. However, it was recently confirmed it will be rebuilt to pave way for a train line. This unique trip sees passengers transported seven kilometers on a bamboo train, or norry, which is a wooden frame connected to an engine. Hitting speeds of 15 kilometers per hour, this is a fun way to watch the scenery whizz by. Looking for Best Airbnb Siem Reap?
This is outback Cambodia and the endless red-dirt roads of the region, leading to ethnic minority villages, are an intrepid traveler’s delight. For those with an adventurous streak, the province is home to some of Cambodia’s best trekking, from spotting gibbons at Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area, where overnight trips involve sleeping in hammocks and early rises to track buff-cheeked gibbons, to hiking in Virachey National Park, home to elephants, tigers, and sun bears. There’s more relaxing options on offer as well. The emerald water of Yeak Lom Crater Lake just outside of Ban Lung town is a tranquil swimming spot, while the waterfalls of Chaa Ong and Ka Tieng are fun diversions that provide more opportunities for getting wet. Ratanakiri is a nature-filled reprieve for travelers suffering from temple-fatigue.
Tonle Sap is Cambodia’s most important waterway and Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. As well as being an important source of food and a vital tool for Cambodian irrigation, the lake itself is home to 170 floating villages that depend on fishing for their livelihood, with homes built directly on the water. The houses, shops, churches, schools, and temples of these villages are built on rustic buoy foundations of lashed together barrels and bamboo, and all transport is by boat. They’re a fascinating place to spend a day exploring. One of the most interesting is the sprawling village of Kompong Luong, near the town of Pursat on Tonle Sap’s western shore, although the most popular village to visit is Chong Kneas near Siem Reap.
If you are looking for a serene place that offers you myriad natural attractions under one roof, Tonle Sap Lake, or the “Great Lake” in Siem Reap, Cambodia is the perfect place. Here you can experience the various ecologically rich elements in their full forms. The place is also famous for its floating villages and migratory birds.
Highlights – With a maximum length of 250km, this is the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. During 1997, this place was designated as an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This is probably the only place in Cambodia where you can witness close to 100 types of water birds and 200 species of fishes.
Location – Lower Mekong Basin.
Timings – All through the year.
Price – There are various lake tours available to take tourists through Tonle Sap. Prices differ as per the routes and time covered. A basic lake tour starts from around USD29 onwards.