CAMBODIA OVER THE WATER
Reasons to visit
From the floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake to a cruise on the Mekong, passing by the waterfalls in the heart of the nature reserves, Cambodia is a country which is visited a part of the year as much on the water as on the ground. From June to November, during the rainy season, or “green season”, the territory is watering to offer visitors a lush countryside and beautiful landscapes. The Mekong and Tonle Sap, two important water points of Cambodia, then swell and come to touch the foot of the houses.
A unique natural phenomenon
Tonle Sap Lake is connected to the Mekong in Phnom Penh by a channel 100 kilometers long. During the rainy season, the level of the Mekong rises rapidly thanks to heavy rains in the countries it passes through. The force of its current then represses the Tonle Sap water, which has the effect of reversing its course towards the north-west of the country. The lake grows, its surface is multiplied by 4 or 5 and its depth goes from 2 meters to more than 10. In October, when the decline of the Mekong begins, the current of the big lake resumes its normal course and this one empties then from these waters.
This unique phenomenon makes the Tonle Sap an ideal habitat for many animals and one of the richest reserves of freshwater fish in the world, thus feeding thousands of fishermen. This ecosystem has therefore enabled the lake to be classified as a “biosphere reserve” by UNESCO in 2001.
Best periods to visit
The rainy season is an ideal time for boat trips on the Tonle Sap or to enjoy a swim in one of the country’s waterfalls. The volume of water in Cambodia being indeed more important this part of the year, you are sure to find accessible water points.
The rest of the year, all streams are depleted, which does not always lend itself to the practice of certain aquatic activities. Cruises on the Tonle Sap or Mekong are available all year round though.
What to do in these regions
Along the Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong river are lakeside floating villages moving along the water. This world on the water is a must-see in Cambodia.
In the heart of natural parks and reserves
As you stroll through the many nature reserves and national parks of Cambodia, you will discover waterfalls often hidden in the heart of the jungle, and full of water in the rainy season, as well as hiking trails still deserted by hordes of tourists.
The Great Tonle Sap
From Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Southeast Asia’s largest lake with fishy waters is changing to the rhythm of the monsoons and also offers opportunities for cruises or strolls along the water, throughout the year.
Follow the Mekong River
Snaking from Laos to Vietnam through Cambodia, the majestic Mekong allows for superb cruises on its waters. You will be able to meet freshwater dolphins, a rare species in danger of extinction.
Travel with children
Your children will be delighted to discover Cambodia aboard a kayak on the many rivers crossing the cities and countryside and offering breathtaking views. Or aboard a small motorboat on the Mekong, to meet the freshwater dolphins, and on the Tonle Sap, to discover the houses built on buoys in floating villages. It seems that it is also possible to bathe with elephants but shhh … we did not tell you anything!