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Dear Visitor:

Tonle Sap is Southeast Asia's largest freshwaterlake. Flooding during the rainy season each year reverses the flow of the Tonle Sap River and triples the surface area of the lake. Large areas of grassland and forest are flooded, creating a highly productive area that supports one of the largest freshwater fisheries in the world.

Country  Cambodia
-Latitude  12° 58' 48" (12.9800)
-Longitude  103° 54' 0" (103.9000) 
-River Basin  MekongPhysical Characteristics
The surface area of Lake Tonle Sap varies greatly by season.

Data sources report surface areas of from 2,569.9 km2 to 30,000 km2. Furthermore, as the main Mekong flood level heightens each year during the southwest monsoon every June or July, the direction of flow of the Tonle Sap River reverses, creating the exceptional water regime with huge changes in the lake water level (from about 1m up to 10 meters) and water volume (from about 2,500 km2 to approximate 11,000 km2) between seasons.

 - Volume  40.00 km3

- Surface Area  13,000.00 km2

- Depth  Mean depth: 1.0 m

- Maximum depth: 10.0 m

- Origin  River
- Type  Fresh

- Permanent


- Catchment  Catchment size: 70,000.00 km2

- Catchment/surface area ratio: 5:1


Economic Value: Tonle Sap provides 75% of Cambodia's national inland fish production. Fishing and agricultural activities around the lake support 1.2 million Cambodians. Fish from Tonle Sap are thought to be the single main source of protein for the Cambodian people.

Approximately: 3 million people live around the lake.

Watershed Management


 The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve management is based on identifying three zones (core areas, buffer zone and transition zone) and identifying different management goals for each. The core areas are set aside for long term protection and conservation.

Issues  Fish stocks andcatch are dropping, deforestation is widespread and sewage & other waste are polluting the lake, which provides drinking water for thousands. The largest threats to the flooded forests are the clearing of forests to make way for agricultural land, collection of firewood, and collection of wood for fish traps.

Other Issues  Erosion

- Nutrient pollution

- Fisheries

- Monitoring

Biodiversity Conservation
 Tonle Sap is home to more than 200 fish species, 70 of which are of commercial value. 23 snake species, 13 turtle species, a crocodile species, macaque and leopard cat are among the species identified in Tonle Sap Lake. The variety of biodiversity in Tonle Sap is understudied. 69% of the original forest in the Mekong River basin has been lost. The deforestation rate is 16%.
Designations  Biosphere Reserve
LakeNet Biodiversity Priority

- Ramsar Site
- WWF Global 200
Ramsar Site Name  Boeng Chhmar and Associated River System and Floodplain Species of Concern  There is heavy exploitation of

Tonle Sap's endemic watersnake Enhydris longicauda for use as crocodile food (crocodiles are farmed commercially near the lake) and human food. Harvests of homalopsine watersnakes appears to be highly unsustainable; data gathered durin 1999 and 2000 indicate that more than 8,500 watersnakes per day were being harvested and sold during the peak of the wet season.
Chong Kneas:

This famous floating village is now extremely popular with visitors wanting a break from the temple, and is an easy enough excursion for visitor wanting a break from the temple it's simple to arrange yourself visitors arriving by fast boat get a preview,as the floating village is near Phnom Krom,where the boat docks.It is very scenic in the warm light of the early morning or late afternoon and can be combined with a view of the sun from the hilltop temple of Phnom Krom The downside is that tour groups tend to take over,and boats and up chugging up and down the channels in convoy,Part of the floating village. it has displays on flora and fauna of the area,as well as information on communities living around the lake.The village moves depending on the season and you will need to rent a boat to get around it property.a tourist police association has fixed boat price from $10 to $15 per person depending on how many people you have on one boat?to visit the floating village,

Kompong Phhluk:

More memorable than Chong Kneas,but also much harder to reach,is the flooded forest of Koompong Phhluk, alongside an other_worldly village built on stilts.The flooded forest is inundated every year when the lake rises to take the Mekong's overflow,and as the lake drops the petrified trees are revealed.Exploring this area by wooden dugout is very atmospheric.Further inland from the lake is the village of Kompong Phhluk itself, where most of the houses are built on stilts of about 6m to 7m high,looking like it has come straight out of a film set,

Prek Toal: 

Prek Toal is one of three biospheres on Tonle Sap lake, and the establishment of its bird sanctuary makes Prek Toal the most worthwhile ane straightforward to visit. it is an ornithologist's fantasy,with a significant number of rare breeds gathered in one small area,including the huge lesser and greeter adjutant storks,the milky stork and the spot_billed pelican,
       Visitors during the dry season ( December to May )will fine concentration of birds like something out of a Hitchcock film.As water starts to dry up elsewhere know that the best time to see birds is early morning or late afternoon and this means a very early start or an overnight at Prek Toal's environment office,where there are basic beds for $7,

Kampong Khleang:

Kampong Khleang is located on the northern lake-edge about 35 km east of Siem Reap town, more remote and less touristed than Kampong Phluk. Visitors to Kampong Khleang during the dry season are universally awestruck by the forest of stilted houses rising up to 10 meters in the air. In the wet season the waters rise to within one or two meters of the buildings. Like Kampong Phluk, Kampong Khleang is a permanent community within the floodplain of the Lake, with an economy based in fishing and surrounded by flooded forest. But Kampong Khleang is significantly larger with near 10 times the population of Kampong Phluk, making it the largest community on the Lake. The area can be reached by boat from the Chong Khneas docks or by a combination of road to Domdek on Route #6 and then boat to the village, the best method depending on the time of year. During the dry season, boats cannot get all of the way to the main villages. Consult your guesthouse or tour operator about current conditions. Many tour operators have very little experience in this area so it is best to consult with adventure tour operators and guesthouses that specialize in this area. Small group tours begin at about $35 for a half day and range up through $70 depending on the size of the group and the type of tour. To get there yourself, either charter a boat from Chong Khneas or take car or moto to Domdek village on Route #6 east of Siem Reap, turn south and continue to the water's edge where boats wait to ferry passengers into the village. During the dry season the road is clear and you can take a car or moto all of the way to the village.)