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Toby Keps

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

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Backpacked across Thailand and Cambodia in 2019

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Asia > Cambodia > Tonlé Sap Lake > Useful Info
Updated on Feb 01, 2020 Useful Info

Best time of the year to visit Tonlé Sap Lake

  • Tonlé Sap is a major attraction in Cambodia, being the biggest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and supporting some very unique Cambodian and Vietnamese communities. While you can do many different things at the lake, most people go there to check out the local life in one of the "floating" water villages like, Kampong Phluk:User submitted photo of Tonlé Sap LakeTo best experience these water communities, you need to time your visit right so that the water level is high
  • Southeast Asia has a distinct wet season and dry season every year, and the water level of the lake is the highest from the middle of wet season to early dry season. To cut to the chase, the best time to visit Tonlé Sap to see the floating villages is August through December, because this is the time of the year when the water level is high enough to experience the water lifeUser submitted photo of Tonlé Sap Lake
  • In this high-water season, you can also boat through flooded mangrove forests which is a pretty neat experience:User submitted photo of Tonlé Sap Lake
  • If you go in the rest of the year, especially at the peak of the dry season and early wet season (February-June), the water level is too low and you don't really get the "floating" feeling at these villages, instead just a lot of houses on stilts and dust everywhere:User submitted photo of Tonlé Sap Lake
  • Aside from the floating villages, Tonlé Sap Lake is also known for bird watching. There are a couple of highly-rated bird watching spots like Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary and Pearaing Biodiversity Conservation Center. In contrast to the floating villages, the best time for bird watching at Tonlé Sap Lake is January through April, deep in the dry season. This is because as the dry season reduces the water level, the birds start to concentrate in a few small areas like Prek Toal:User submitted photo of Tonlé Sap Lake