Tonlé Sap Lake
Tonlé Sap Lake © La Xtina
Boeung Tonlé Sap (Tonlé Sap Lake) is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, and boasts a rich and diverse eco-system. Inhabitants include multiple bird and fish species, crocodiles, turtles, macaques and otters, as well as villagers living in stilted or floating houses. The Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary in the Tonlé Sap Biosphere Reserve is home to ibis, stork, pelicans and fish eagles; the best time to view these birds is in the dry season. There is also a Tonlé Sap Exhibition in Siem Reap, showcasing Khmer heritage through a display of the local people's culture and environment. Boat tours on the lake are popular and an enthralling way to see the riverside villages and interact with the locals. Be aware, however, that while the majority of guides are friendly and competent there have been reports of some trying to scam tourists and charge ridiculous rates for boat trips. It usually costs about $16 to hire a boat and you can share it between a few people. Tips for the guides are also expected.
Address: The lake is about nine miles (15km) south of Siem Reap
Transport: The ferry between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap crosses the lake and docks at the village of Chong Khneas. The Tonlé Sap Exhibition is on the road to Angkor Wat, just past the Jayavarman VII Hospital.
Opening times: All attractions are open daily, though the exhibition is closed between 12pm and 2pm