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Tonlé Sap

Tonlé Sap: Our most recommended tours and activities

Siem Reap: Kompong Phluk Floating Village Half-Day Tour

1. Siem Reap: Kompong Phluk Floating Village Half-Day Tour

Start with hotel pick-up or go to the meeting point to board your vehicle, a shared air-conditioned mini-bus with a tour guide, or private vehicle (with optional guide), according to the option chosen. Kompong Phluk is 30 kilometers south-east of Siem Reap. Visit the pagoda or local market first, then go by motorized boat on a tour of the stilted buildings. See where the people have courageously adapted to some of the most unimaginable conditions, all with a big smile on their faces. Enjoy the beautiful atmosphere in this one-of-a-kind village from the comfort of the boats. The guide, if present, explains the history, culture, and lifestyle of the villagers. The villages are surrounded by mangrove forest. Take an optional side-trip of the flooded forest on a rowing boat, available October to January. The motorboat stops at a small floating cafe, a good place to see the sun go down. After this awe-inspiring experience, you will return to the hotel around 1:30 pm for your own leisure time.

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.

Kompong Phluk Floating Village Tour from Siem Reap

3. 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.

Siem Reap: Temples & Tonle Sap Private 3-Day Tour

4. Siem Reap: Temples & Tonle Sap Private 3-Day Tour

Day 1:  Start your journey morning at 7.30 AM when you'll set off through the countryside to the world’s second-largest freshwater, Tonle Sap Lake. Take a boat trip to ‘Kampong Phluk’ a collection of 3 small fishing villages in an atmospheric flooded forest setting. Cruise through the village and see unique houses on stilts, and locals at work in the floating forest. In the afternoon, visit the first temple, the Roulous temple group. The ruins of Roulous are among the oldest Khmer monuments in the area, dating back to the 9th-century. Day 2:  Begin with a pre-dawn departure from your hotel to see the sunrise outside Angkor Wat. Enter the great temple in darkness and with the light from your torch, walk through the rarely visited eastern side. Creep along cloistered corridors past the longest stretch of bas-relief carvings in the world. Your expert local guide will decipher the myriad of stories behind the bas-relief carvings, and give you an insight into life during the height of the Khmer Empire. The morning tour ends at Angkor with breakfast outside the temple and a short rest. Continue the morning visit the southern Gate of Angkor Thom, flanked by a row of 54 stone figures of Gods and demons, and the fortified city of Angkor Thom. At The Bayon temple admire the beautifully crafted central towers, covered in more than 200 enormous faces. After lunch and a rest break, set out for the jungle-enveloped Ta Prohm, one of the most atmospheric of all temples in Angkor. Day 3:  Visit the most interesting temples outside Angkor Thom city. Your first stop is at Pre Rup Hindu temple. Built as the state temple it is a mountain temple made of combined brick, laterite, and sandstone. Continue on a drive to the intricately carved and well-preserved Banteay Srei. The detailed reliefs on this smaller sandstone structure are regarded as the finest, most skillfully crafted in Cambodia. Banteay Srei has only been accessible since the late 1990s when the Khmer Rouge left the area. On your return journey see the Neak Pean temples, an artificial island with a Buddhist temple on a circular island. Finish the final day by going to Preah Khan temple, a ruined but highly atmospheric mélange of tree roots and crumbling stone structures.

Siem Reap: Prek Toal Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Tour

5. Siem Reap: Prek Toal Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Tour

The Bird Sanctuary at the Prek Toal Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important breeding grounds in the whole of Southeast Asia for endangered waterbirds. Many different species of rare birds can be found there, including but not limited to the Black-headed Ibis, Painted Stork, Greater and Lesser Adjuncts, Spot-billed Pelican, Milky Stork and the Grey-Headed Fish Eagle. Prek Toal is a must-see location for any avid birdwatchers visiting Siem Reap or Cambodia. The tour of Prek Toal will begin at 6:00am with your hotel or guesthouse pick-up in an air-conditioned vehicle. Friendly, knowledgeable and English-speaking tour guides (and Khmer of course) will ensure that you enjoy your tour, pointing out areas of local interest along the way and answering any questions you may have. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the port of Chong Khneas, and upon arrival, you will exit the vehicle and jump onto one of the Mini Tara’s – smaller boats with life jackets and driven by experienced and safe local drivers. On route to Prek Toal, you will make three stops. Firstly, as you pass the rice paddy and lotus field, you will have an opportunity to stop and take some photos of the lotus flowers which are a deeply important flower in Buddhism. You will then stop at the stilted houses just before the lake to see how the water levels effect the way people live as well as seeing a floating school. The third stop will be the Crocodile & Fish Farms at Chong Khneas to learn about how some of the tradespeople on the lake work. If catfish, crocodiles and large snakes don’t interest you, there is a souvenir shop and a viewing deck on board for you to purchase some presents for loved ones or take a few photos. The boat ride through Chong Khneas will allow you to see ordinary Cambodians going about their daily life in the floating village. Fishermen, boat-makers, markets, schools, spirit houses and waving children are always in plentiful supply on this mesmerizing scenic route, and it is not uncommon for the scenery of Chong Khneas to provoke silence on the Mini Tara, as customers take in the sights and sounds that surround them. Once the trip through Chong Khneas is complete, your boat will begin the journey across the Great Tonle Sap Lake to the Biosphere Reserve at Prek Toal. Your entrance fee and boat hire in the Biosphere is included in your ticket price. Your guide will arrange this for you, and join you as you travel through the biosphere reserve. Of the three Biosphere core areas on the Tonle Sap Lake, Prek Toal is the most popular with birdwatchers. The best time to explore is the dry season between December and May when flocks of migratory birds congregate at Prek Toal. While the dry season progresses and the water recedes, the number of birds increase, but the tour to some of the more important viewing areas becomes more difficult. You’ll depart from Prek Toal in the early afternoon, and head back to the famous Queen Tara in the heart of the floating restaurant. There, you will enjoy a well-deserved meal and 2 free cold drinks. At about 2:15pm, you’ll leave the restaurant and head back to the port at Chong Khneas where your air-conditioned vehicle will be waiting to transport you directly home to your hotel or guesthouse.

Kompong Khleang Floating Village: Full-Day from Siem Reap

6. 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 past many 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 hand 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.

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

7. 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.

Siem Reap: Floating Village Half-Day Tour

8. Siem Reap: Floating Village Half-Day Tour

Explore the floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake on a half-day guided tour from Siem Reap. The tour is the perfect option if you don't have time to visit Prek Toal or Kompong Phluk. Following a pick-up from your hotel or guesthouse, transfer by air-conditioned vehicle to the Port near Phnom Krom. Your English and Khmer-speaking guide will point out areas of local interest along the way and answer any questions you may have. Pass rice paddies and fields of lotus flowers - a deeply important flower in Buddhism. Please note: the views of the lotus and rice fields will vary depending on the time of year. Continue to a crocodile and fish farm on the lake (depending on current water levels). Learn about some of the trades of the people on the lake. If catfish, crocodiles and large snakes don't interest you, there is a souvenir shop and viewing deck on board where you can purchase souvenirs and take some stunning photographs of the views. During the boat ride through the floating village, watch the locals going about their daily life. Briefly enter the edge of the Great Lake before docking at the Queen Tara, the biggest boat on the lake, in the heart of the floating village. Enjoy a well-deserved meal and 2 free drinks. After lunch, take a seat on the viewing deck and watch the world go by. Depart the Queen Tara and journey back to the port. Here, an air-conditioned vehicle will be waiting to transport you back to your hotel or guesthouse in Siem Reap.

From Siem Reap: Tonle Sap Floating Village Tour

9. From Siem Reap: Tonle Sap Floating Village Tour

Get a unique experience while in Siem Reap as you head for the Tonle Sap Lake to explore the famous floating villages. Immerse yourself in an intriguing atmosphere and watch the locals go about their daily life in their extraordinary aquatic environment. On route to the port we will have an opportunity to stop and take some photos of the lotus flowers which are a deeply important flower in Buddhism. Visit one of the largest of the floating villages located on the Tonle Sap Lake, traveling by boat with a private guide. Home to Khmer and ethnic Vietnamese and Cham communities, let your guide explain how life evolved around the lake, how life continues to this day and what threats the communities and their dwellings face. Visit the floating crocodile and fish farm (depending on current water levels) and then onto the famous Queen Tara in the heart of the floating village for lunch and a couple of free drinks. Look out for the local bird life. The reserve is home to a bird sanctuary and attracts a rich array of birds, from painted stork to a large colony of spot billed pelicans. Departure time 10:00. Each tour lasts approximately 4 hours door-to-door, taking you from your Siem Reap accommodation to the heart of the “Great Lake” as it is popularly called.

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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Tonlé Sap

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What people are saying about Tonlé Sap

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 792 reviews

Don’t hesitate & book this tour! My tour guide & Vespa driver’s name is Chen. And what an awesome experience it was! Highly recommend. Since I was traveling during low season, it was just us two so I benefited from a private tour. And we had such a great time! I got to witness and experience some of the rural sights of Cambodian life - cows, mushroom farms, rice paddies and herb plantations, visit local temples and the pièce de résistance: sunset at incredible floating villages which are incredible and located at the Great Lake of Cambodia aka Tonlé Sap. It’s largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world!!! Plenty of photos and videos were taken and it was a gorgeous sunset. Chen provided some fruit snacks and drinks along the way as well. this experience was fabulous and I enjoyed every bit of it!! ❤️ Thank you!

Visit worthwhile! Hastle free service, on time and no hidden costs. Our friendly guide Touch met us at our hotel and after an hour drive we arrived at the boat who took us past the stilt houses. We stopped for a visit to a community and were not hassled as you read in many reviews. After that we had the chance to go in the mangroves with a small canoe for 5$/pp extra. Again worthwhile and we were adviced in advance of this extra option cost so very transparent. Next the lake itself with (lucky us) a nice sunset, often to cloudy so no view on the sunset. So guide “Touch” as well as service and certainly transparency would make me recommend this trip!

Three days is a lot so you need to be committed to getting as much as you can out of your trip to Siem Reap. And we were, and we did! Ruom our guide was very very knowledgeable and filled our heads with all sorts of facts and figures which really brought the sites we visited to life. Transport and driver were excellent. We got to tick off a bucket list adventure in the perfect way!

The tour was very nice and authentic. You got a good insight into the life of the locals. Above all, the guide Dara and the driver Phearom made the tour very informative and answered all questions.

Fascinating look into the life of a community on the water. I can highly recommend Touch, who was an exceptional guide.