The great Khmer civilization owes its existence, in many ways, to the ingenious engineering of canals and the stabilization of the land by manipulating water ways and water tables. But without the unique natural hydrology of the Tonle Sap Lake, the people who built the grand temples and structures of a thousand years ago for which Cambodia is rightfully famous, it is doubtful that people would take much notice of our country today.
Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. And it is a lake that, during the monsoon, increases its size twice more, for during that time the volume of the waters of the Mekong river and the tributaries of the Tonle Sap River increase so greatly that the current of the Tonle Sap River changes direction and heads back into the lake. And with that change in current, nutrients, fish and crustaceans are carried back into the lake refreshing its stores, and its flooding submerges our rice fields making Tonle Sap Lake the life blood for food for so much of our Kingdom.
And it is because of this extraordinary “turn of events” that people have made their homes not only along the lakeside, but on the lake itself. Indeed, floating villages are the only answer to constantly living close to the resource that provides thousands of people their livelihoods. Homes, schools, medical facilities, restaurants and shops exist here as they do in a normal town on the land. And a visit to the floating village closest to Siem Reap will introduce you to a place that may seem extraordinary (for it is), and which is but home to its inhabitants.
Also calling Tonle Sap Lake home are great populations of birds and other aquatic life including freshwater crocodile, and so important and unique is the biodiversity of this habitat that the United Nations has deemed it important enough to engage in conservation projects throughout the region. Tonle Sap Lake is only a 30 minute picturesque ride south of Siem Reap along the Siem Reap River, and well worth the trip if your schedule allows.
- Tour Providing
- Cool Towel
- Cool Water
- A Tuk Tuk can ride for 4 people