This great lake in the heart of Cambodia is not only the largest body of fresh water in Southeast Asia, it’s also a UNESCO-designated biosphere, due to its truly remarkable natural features. The flow of water in Tonlé Sap changes direction twice during the course of the year, and the lake expands and contracts with the seasons. From November to May—the country’s dry season, the lake empties into the Mekong River. Once the rains begin, however, the waters reverse to form an enormous lake popular among both locals and travelers. 

Visitors can embark on boat trips across some of the lake’s 4,000 square miles in both rainy and dry seasons, but travelers agree that the floating houses that make a trip to Tonlé Sap so unique are less spectacular when water levels are at their lowest.

Practical Info

Those looking to experience the lake at its peak should visit Tonlé Sap between August and September, when water levels are at their highest. Water levels are at their lowest between April and June.

Tours & Tickets

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3-Day Siem Reap Tour: Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Bayon and Tonle Sap

4.5 star rating: Recommended 8 Reviews

Discover Cambodia’s mystical temples at the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Angkor Archaeological Park. This three-day Siem Reap adventure brings you face to face ...  Read more

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights

From USD $385.00

Tonle Sap Cruise Small-Group Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 14 Reviews

Discover Siem Reap's secrets by remork (Cambodian tuk tuk) on a half-day, small-group tour. Take a boat trip on the Tonle Sap lake through floating and stilted ...  Read more

Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $35.00

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