The Tonle Sap (Khmer: "Tonle" meaning "Large Fresh Water River," but more commonly translated as "Great Lake") is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia. The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.
Cambodia's Great Lake, the Boeung Tonle Sap (Tonle Sap Lake,) is the most prominent feature on the map of Cambodia - a huge dumbbell-shaped body of water stretching across the northwest section of the country. In the wet season, the Tonle Sap Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, swelling to an expansive 12,000 km2.
This ecoregion comprises the seasonally inundated forests that surround southeast Asia's largest lake, the Tonle Sap. Although most of the ecoregion, including the lake, was declared a protected area recently, it was too little too late. The protected area is a paper park with no protection or management, and it was declared protected after most of the habitat had been cleared for agriculture. This is prime rice-growing habitat.
The Great Lake of Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. It is a natural wonder of Cambodia, one of the unique geographical wonders of the world, and an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997. It is located at the central part of Cambodia and surrounded by five provinces: Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom.
The Tonle Sap lake is the Largest lake in South East Asia. It is home to over two million who live on and around the great lake. The Tonle Sap lake has been an important fishing resource for millennia. the wealth created laid the foundations of prosperity that resulted Khmer Empire being one of the Richest in the region.
Cambodia is filled with little gems that hide just beneath the radar of the tourist hypsters. But the range of human interest goes way beyond beaches and archaeology, and if eco systems and river cultures are part of your obsession, here's a gem for you! A combined lake and river system, the Tonle Sap is the largest body of fresh water in Southeast Asia.
The amazing lake and river system of the Tonle Sap is unique. This vast lake; the largest in SE Asia, fills with the waters of the Mekong each year, bringing vast numbers of fish and irrigation during the dry season.The amazing lake and river system of the Tonle Sap is unique. This vast lake; the largest in SE Asia, fills with the waters of the Mekong each year, bringing vast numbers of fish and irrigation during the dry season.
Welcome to the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Web Site, your portal for all information on the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
The environment has once again become the talking point of the world: the potential impacts of climate change that were once questioned are now being accepted. In-line with this the consequences of not managing our environment and not reducing our consumption are becoming more apparent and more critical. For the moment climate change is in the international media and political spotlight. While the media attention is focused on climate change, it is important to maintain attention on other enviro
Covering 2,500 km2 during the dry season, but expanding up to 12,000 km2 at the peak of floods, the Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. A unique hydrological phenomenon resulting from the link with the Mekong (see map) causes seasonal inundation of a vast floodplain around the lake, and of its peculiar vegetation, usually named 'inundated forest'.
Cambodia is a poor Southeast Asian nation wedged between two powerful neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam. But Cambodia is also home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna and one of the world's richest fisheries. For the latest National Geographic Radio Expedition, Michael Sullivan visits a Cambodia few Westerners know about and even fewer actually see — the wildly productive Tonle Sap river and lake.
For those which like an in-depth discovery of a country, the road of the lake, as well as a ballade in boat with the meeting of the villages of sins floating, are visits impossible to circumvent as well as the temples. It is one of the places or one is with the more meadows of the Kampuchean everyday life and their reality.
Cambodia is a country of water and ricefields. The rhythm of life for the Khmers, an agricultural people, follows the alternation between dry and rainy seasons. Abundant water resources (the Mekong river, Tonle Sap lake, coastal waters…) allow fishing and rice-growing, the staples of the Cambodian diet. Water has played a fundamental role in Cambodia's history, both mythical (legend has it that the country is an ancient island) ...
Chong Kneas, as you know, is a floating village at the edge of the Tonle Sap Lake. This is where the boat docks if you're arriving from Battambang or Phnom Penh. It's about 20 – 30 minutes from the center of Siem Reap. On the way to the floating village itself, you'll see large paddy fields and stilted houses on both sides of the road. You'll also pass by Phnom Krom hill which has an ancient temple at the top.
It's late October and Cambodians are eagerly anticipating the coming end of a most difficult rainy season. Here on the Tonle Sap, the water has nearly submerged the trees, only the highest branches appear above the waters of this vast inland sea. In the villages, securely hidden behind the mangrove forests, or ‘flooded' forests as they are locally known, the water level has nearly reached the floorboards of the stilted homes that in the dry season would soar six meters above the ground.
A wondrous water world, Tonle Sap Lake is the lifeline for many of Cambodia's people. Hardworking and ever adapting communities line the shores of the Great Lake, earning a living from the abundant fishing and farming, and shaping their livelihood around its natural splendor. The total area of Tonle Sap is a combination of rivers and lake, and has major significance, as it is the largest freshwater Lake in South East Asia, and largest freshwater floodplain in the world.
I'll have to find the old photos to show how the place has changed. Before, it was a menagerie. When you arrive, boat men will come up to you to tout their services and you hop on a boat. There was no jetty like today.
Foong, my friend and I went for a river cruise on the great Tonle Sap in our last evening in Siem Reap. Tonle Sap literally means “large fresh water river” and guess what, it is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It is in fact a combined lake and river system in which the mighty Mekong River meets the Tonle Sap. Tonle Sap spans across 9 provinces of Cambodia including Siem Reap.
The amazing lake and river system of the Tonle Sap is unique. This vast lake; the largest in SE Asia, fills with the waters of the Mekong each year,
The Tonle Sap remains relatively small for most of the year, measuring about a meter in depth and covering around 2,700 square kilometers. However, the river that connects to the lake starts to swell during the monsoon season as water that flows from the Mekong river reverses, helping to expand the Tonle Sap up to 16,000 square kilometers with a depth up to 9 metres deep.
The Tonle Sap is a very large river, which at one point becomes as wide as a lake. Traveling along this river is an interesting way to reach Siam Reap from Pnomh Penh. While the slow boats take a couple of days to make the journey, it is easy to find fast boats which take only half a day. It is preferable to arm oneself with sunscreen and sit on the top of the boat (which will be overcrowded), to get a better view, more fresh air, and improve your chances of survival should the boat capsize.
The largest lake in Southeast Asia, the Tonle Sap supports huge colonies of waterbirds—storks, ibises, pelicans—and more than a million people who rely on fish from the lake for protein and livelihoods. The Tonle Sap River is unusual because its flow changes direction twice a year. During Cambodia's dry season, from November to May, it drains into the Mekong River at the capital, Phnom Penh.
The remarkable Tonle Sap is a river that becomes a freshwater lake in the centre of Cambodia, the largest in Southeast Asia, and then flows down to join the Mekong River just past Phnom Penh. During the dry season, the river feeds the lake and continues to flow downriver.
We are there during dry season (Early Mar'09) and thus making the trip there even longer as what I was told. We booked our trip (US$14/pax) from Mandalay Inn after hard negotiation. Another way of going there is via tuk-tuk & thereafter buying the boat ticket from the centralised ticketing booth not far after the Pnom Krom Hill temple.
photos on flickr
Among the most interesting features of the river is that monsoon-season rainfall swells the river's volume so greatly that in low-lying Cambodia, one of the Mekong's southernmost tributaries is forced to reverse course against the rushing floodwaters. Beginning in June, the roughly 100-kilometer-long (62 miles) Tonle Sap River will begin to be inundated by the rising waters of the Mekong, and will slowly backtrack and begin filling the Tonle Sap Lake.
WCS has been working alongside the Cambodian government since the late 1990s to conserve the unique ecosystem of the Tonle Sap lake and floodplain, WCS currently supports two conservation projects that are protecting key species in the lake's flooded forest and greater floodplain.