Things to do in
Tonlé Sap

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Tonlé Sap: Our most recommended tours and activities

Kompong Phluk Floating Village Tour from Siem Reap

1. Kompong Phluk Floating Village Tour from Siem Reap

Depart Siem Reap and travel south-east through rural villages and rice fields to reach Tonlé Sap Lake. Go as far as you can by road to board a boat, and then sail down the Kompong Phluk River. Arrive at a Khmer village of about 3,000 inhabitants who mainly make a living from fishing and farming. Depending on the weather and tidal conditions, sail along the main street or explore on foot and experience up close what life is like in rural Cambodia. Visit a few schools and see the large pagoda temple, along with many stilted homes, some up to 10 meters tall. Connect with a less hectic lifestyle and soak up the peace and quiet. Relax as you are rowed by small boat through the flooded forest to Tonlé Sap Lake, where the level can vary by up to 10 meters depending on the season. Make your way back down river to the minivan that will take you back to your hotel in Siem Reap.

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Sunset Dinner Tour: Tonle Sap Lake Floating Village

2. Sunset Dinner Tour: Tonle Sap Lake Floating Village

Hear the sounds of water lapping up against the side of the boat and watch in awe as the incredible floating village rises against the backdrop of the great Tonle Sap Lake. In this idyllic village less than 10miles (15km) from Siem Reap, explore the village on this fantastic Sunset Tour. Departing from your hotel or guesthouse around 15.30, take a comfortable air-conditioned car or minibus drive with your knowledgeable guide, who will be able to help point out the culture and life all around you in English (and Khmer, of course!). See this incredible village in a very special way. Pass by rice paddies and lotus fields for the opportunity to stop and take photographs of the lotus flower, highly important in Buddhist culture (please note that depending on the time of year, the views of the lotus and rice fields will vary). Upon arrival at the port, transfer to a mini Tara boat driven by an experienced driver. Once on the water, stop at the Crocodile and Fish Farm (depending on current water levels) and learn about some of the trades practiced by those living on the lake. Visit the souvenir shop to purchase gifts or snap some photos from the viewing deck. After this visit, return to the boat and head through the floating village for a glimpse of the local Cambodians going about their daily life. After a tranquil glide through the town, arrive at the Queen Tara, the biggest boat on the lake, in the heart of the floating village. Here, enjoy a well deserved full buffet meal and all inclusive drinks. Finally, the reason you've come: the sunset. Relax with a drink in your hand and soak in the beauty around you. After the last bit of light fades, head back to your guest house or hotel in an air-conditioned vehicle.

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Siem Reap: Floating Village, Sunset Boat Tour, and More

3. Siem Reap: Floating Village, Sunset Boat Tour, and More

Following a pickup at your hotel by jeep, head south of Siem Reap through the picturesque Cambodian countryside. Stop at a local family house surrounded by rice paddies where you can sip on cold coconut or a local juice, meet the family, and spend time learning about their farming life. The next stops on the itinerary include a local mushroom farm and factory where you’ll learn how mushrooms are grown using technical methods, and a rice wine distillery where you can try local rice wine. Continue the drive to the floating villages at Tonle Sap lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. Here you’ll get a fascinating insight into local life in this region and your guide will describe in more detail the phenomenon of this lake and why it is vital to Cambodia’s survival. You’ll gain a deeper perspective on Cambodia as you cruise along the river. To complete the evening, take a spectacular boat ride with views of Tonle Sap lake at twilight. Taste local delicacies accompanied by soft drinks and other cold beverages while enjoying your surroundings before returning to Siem Reip around 7 PM.

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Siem Reap Private 3-Day Exploration of Temples and Tonle Sap

4. Siem Reap Private 3-Day Exploration of Temples and Tonle Sap

Day one: Fishing Village of Tonle Sap Lake and Roulous Temples Group Begin your day with a pickup at your accommodation around 8:00 AM and journey through the countryside to the world’s second largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap Lake, which swells to 12,000 kilometers squared. During the dry half of the year, the lake shrinks to 2,500 kilometers squared, draining into the Tonle Sap River. Take a boat trip to Kampong Phluk, a collection of three small fishing villages in an atmospheric flooded forest setting. Enjoy your lunch at your own expense and have a short rest. Continue your afternoon visit to the Roulos group of temples. This collection of monuments were built in the late 9th-century as a capital city for King Jayavarman II. Take time out here to explore the temples including Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei. Day two: Angkor Thom, Bayon Neak Pean, Bantreay Srei, and Pre Rup Temple This morning head to Angkor Thom. This majestic site once served as the Khmer Empire's glistening capital city. Take a moment to consider its grandiosity before venturing inside the city. Arrive at the temple at Bayon and appreciate its beautifully crafted central towers covered in more than 200 enormous faces. Move to Neak Pean, an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island in Jayatataka Baray. Visit the well-preserved Banteay Srei. The detailed reliefs on this smaller sandstone structure are regarded as the finest, most skillfully crafted in Cambodia. One the way back, make a brief stop at well-preserved Banteay Samre, a laterite structure that once featured internal moats. Finish your discoveries of the temples of Angkor with sunset at the Pre Rub temple.  Day three: Temples of Angkor at Sunrise Depart before dawn to see the sunrise outside Angkor Wat. Soak up the atmosphere from the edge of one of the ancient library pools. Then explore the interior of the great temple. Spend a thorough two hours discovering the corridors, central chambers, and upper terraces of this truly great temple. Continue to Preah Khan temple, a ruined but highly atmospheric mélange of tree roots and crumbling stone structures. At the end of the morning return to your accommodation for lunch then in the afternoon drive to Ta Nei. This is a late 12th-century stone temple in Angkor that was dedicated to the Buddha. Set out for the jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm, which is one of the most atmospheric of all the temples in Angkor. This long but fulfilling day will leave you with lifetime memories of some of the most impressive monuments built by mankind.

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Kompong Phluk: 2 Villages Full-Day Adventure Tour

5. Kompong Phluk: 2 Villages Full-Day Adventure Tour

When 1 village is simply not enough, there are 2 very different villages to explore on the greatest fresh water lake in South East Asia, the Tonle Sap. The first village is a true floating village, whereas the second village is home mainly to stilted homes and the famous flooded forest. The tour also includes the full crossing of the Tonle Sap lake, so you're able to explore more than just the different villages. Depart from your hotel just before 10:00 and head to the first floating village. Sights that are worth a quick stop along the way are the lotus flower farms. This flower is deeply important in Buddhism. Please note: Depending on the time of year, the views of the lotus and rice fields will vary.  Once you are at the port area, one of the boats (Princess Tara or Lady Tara) will be waiting to take you on a pleasant cruise into the floating villages. You will then dock with the mother ship, the Queen Tara, the biggest boat on the lake. Enjoy lunch and drinks on board, and step onto the long tail traditional boats for the lake crossing to enter the second village of Kompong Phluk. Depending on the time of year and current water levels, you will either row through or walk through the flooded forest, take a walk along the village main street, and visit the local pergola and the monks training school. Heading further east along the Kompong Phluk river, you will pass many more villages and fish markets, since Kompong Phluk is mainly a fishing village. Once you exit the river, arrive at the Mini Tara Vans for a comfortable air-conditioned trip back into town and back to your hotel around 16:30.

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Kompong Phluk: 2 Villages and Sunset Tour

6. Kompong Phluk: 2 Villages and Sunset Tour

This tour is only available through Tara tours and is the best way to experience 2 very different  villages, while also enjoying a full buffet dinner and all-inclusive drinks on board the famous Queen Tara, (Queen Tara is the largest riverboat on the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in southeast Asia). You will depart your hotel just before 1:00 PM and head to the docking station of Kompong Phluk, where the long tail traditional boat will be waiting to cruise you through the floating village and onto the township of Kompong Phluk. You will visit the actual town and also the pergola and monks training school. Then you will head onto either "Our Lady Tara" or "Princess Tara" and onto the flooded forest. Depending on the time of year, you will either row in small boats through the flooded forest, or if there is no water, you can walk into the forest. You will then re-board for the lake crossing and re-join Queen Tara for a full buffet dinner, with all drinks included. While you watch the best sunsets on the great lake, you can chill in the hammocks, or watch the sunset from the top deck, observing the best views of the lake.  Cruise through the floating villages before heading back to Siem Reap, and return to your hotel by 19:30.

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From Siem Reap: Private Tonle Sap Floating Village Tour

7. From Siem Reap: Private Tonle Sap Floating Village Tour

Depart your hotel in the morning for a journey through the countryside to the world’s second largest freshwater lake, Tonle Sap.  The Tonle Sap one of the world’s most productive bodies of fresh water. In the wet season, the Tonle Sap Lake swells to 12,000 km². During the dry half of the year, the lake shrinks to as small as 2,500 km², draining into the Tonle Sap River. Each year, millions of fish come to spawn in the seasonally flooded forest surrounding the lake, attracting a myriad of water birds as well as people, who have settled in villages along the shores and who live with the rhythm of the water. This ecosystem was classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1997. Take a boat trip to "Kampong Phluk", a collection of three small fishing villages in an atmospheric flooded forest setting. Cruise through the village and see unique houses on stilts, and Cambodians at work in the floating forest. Your boat will meander slowly through forest canals, allowing you to catch glimpses of flora and fauna, and see a truly beautiful ecosystem. Take the back roads back to town on this half-day tour in Siem Reap and witness seasonal agricultural activities like cricket catching, rice planting and harvesting, smoking fish, fish paste (prohoc making), and duck farming. Stop at a local village to pick up Khmer snacks and explore. Visit a Buddhist monastery before heading home (suggested visit period is between the end of July and early March).

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Sunset Tour of Kompong Phluk from Siem Reap

8. Sunset Tour of Kompong Phluk from Siem Reap

This rewarding day out from Siem Reap will explore colorful village life along the banks of Southeast Asia's largest lake. Best of all, it ends with a wonderful meal on the water as the sun sets. Cruising along the densely forested waterways outside Siem Reap, there is plenty of opportunity to see the area's famous fishing industry at work. You will cruise across the immense Tonle Sap lake and have time to discover the picturesque floating village of Kompong Phluk. The Kompong Phluk Sunset Tour will visit a local school and temple and see the famous stlit homes in this small river community. From here, a small riverboat will whisk you off through the dense flooded forest where there is the opportunity to witness a variety of exotic wildlife. On board the famous Queen Tara, in the heart of the floating village, enjoy a fabulous meal on the lake as you watch a blazing sun setting. you will then be transferred back to your waiting AC vehicle and dropped back at your hotel. A perfect end to a remarkable day.

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Kompong Khleang Floating Village: Full-Day from Siem Reap

9. Kompong Khleang Floating Village: Full-Day from Siem Reap

Your full-day tour to visit the remote fishing village of Kompong Khleang begins with a morning drive in air-conditioned comfort to the great Tonle Sap Lake and continues on with a journey up the Kleang River aboard our private river craft. Our English-speaking guide will meet you at your Siem Reap guest house or hotel. As you travel to Tonle Sap Lake you’ll pass by markets and small villages and along the causeway to the lake’s edge. When we reach the Khleang River, we’ll transfer to a private river craft for the next phase of our trip – a peaceful ride that takes us to the flooded forest, and then on to Kompong Khleang village. On reaching the village, you’ll note that many of the homes are built on stilts, some standing as tall as 10 meters. With your guide, you’ll visit the village’s floating school where you can joing in handing out school supplies to the teachers and students. This is one of the ways that Tara Riverboat helps the local people. At a local restaurant in Kompong Khleang you’ll enjoy a free lunch and drinks and have time to relax and appreciate the peaceful natural environment. As not many tourists make the trip to this remote village, you will enjoy an exclusive chance to see how abundant the native bird life is here! This is relaxing chance to enjoy the scenery and cool breezes and to take a break from touring Cambodia’s many temples. At the end of the tour we will make our way back to Siem Reap and drop you off at your guest house or hotel.

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Kompong Phluk and Tonlé Sap Lake: Half-Day Tour

10. Kompong Phluk and Tonlé Sap Lake: Half-Day Tour

Begin your trip with a 45-minute drive into the beautiful countryside, stopping along the way to visit a local village. Upon arrival at Tonle Sap Lake, board a boat for a 1.5-hour ride, watching for some of the migratory birds that can often be seen at the edge of the water.  Tour the floating village of Kompong Phluk whose name means "Harbor of the Tusks," where everything from police stations to schools float on the water. From February to August, the village is dry, and you'll be treated to the sight of houses on stilts. Following your time at Tonle Sap Lake, begin the return trip to Siem Reap, where this tour concludes with drop off at your hotel.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Tonlé Sap

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What people are saying about Tonlé Sap

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 701 reviews

My wife and I had a great time on this adventure that was full of info, some tips and 'secrets' as well as generally had a great time with the host/guide Pol (aka Mr Friday!). It was made especially special because we were the only guests on the tour, picked up by private 'limousine' at our hotel Templation, driving off towards Tonle Sap lake, stopping at a restaurant famous for the Lotus Flowers it also cultivates - learning why the Lotus is such an important flower, how versatile it is. We also heard the tales of the bloody civil war and at times tense situation between the Khmer and Vietnamese families of the lake. Living as they have been for decades, the 900 or so families living on the lake are Vietnamese, yet have no passports and are granted to stay on the lake by the Cambodian government. Had a thrilling time seeing the Crocodiles of the Croc farm before getting to the Queen Tara where we enjoyed our dinner and free flow beverages/alcohol watching the sunset.

Wonderful tour with very experienced and friendly guide. I would fully recommend to anyone who wants to see the life of people living outside the Siem Reap city.

It was a really nice educational trip. Food was decent and all you can drink was nice. The guide and service was wonderful. Recommended!

Half day experience with the local fishermen villagers way of living. Good guidance.

Good and informative tour. Good food and drinks, included in the price.