Vacations to Tonlé Sap Lake, Cambodia

Tonlé Sap Lake lies around sixteen kilometers south of Siem Reap, making it ideal for a refreshing day trip out of the city. Often referred to as the beating heart of Cambodia, this massive freshwater lake shrinks and swells with the seasons, ranging from 2,500 km2 to as much as 12,000 km2.

Generations of Tonlé Sap residents have adapted to these changing water levels by building floating villages, comprising clusters of stilt houses and houseboats. A visit to these extraordinary villages is not to be missed, but choose wisely, as some are more commercial than others. Those nearest Siem Reap – particularly Chong Kneas – have more of a theme park feel. For a more authentic experience, head to Kompong Khleang, home to around 6,000 people. It features pagodas, shops, schools and farms, and offers a fascinating insight into life on the lake.

Prek Toal bird sanctuary at the north end of the lake is the place for birdwatchers and nature-lovers in general. Huge flocks of endangered water birds congregate here to breed, attracted by the seasonally flooded forest. You’ll see ibis, storks, egrets and pelicans and cormorants, along with over 100 other bird species. Keep your eyes open for otters and macaques, too. Morning boat tours run from Siem Reap to Prek Toal, while dedicated early birds can stay overnight at the Prek Toal Environmental Research Station to make sure they catch the worm. 

 

Highlights

  • Visit an authentic floating village

  • See endangered water birds in their natural habitat

  • Escape the bustle of Siem Reap and enjoy nature at its best

Tonlé Sap Lake trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas that include Tonlé Sap Lake. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777

Map of Tonlé Sap