Located only 15 km to the south of Siem Reap, a boat tour on Tonle Sap lake and some of the small rivers feeding into it, is a popular excursion and a chance to get away from the busy town and archaeological sites.
About Tonle Sap Boat Tours
Tonle Sap is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia, 120 km long. The top corner of the lake is near Siem Reap and it stretches nearly all the way down to Phnom Penh, with a river extending the final stretch into Phnom Pehh city centre. In wet season there are plenty of boat tours operating between a village near to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, which take around 6 hours and cost in the region of $100 USD per person, or cheaper if you use a less comfortable commuter boat service. For the 3 million people who live around the lake its much more than a transport route. The lake contains around 150 different species of fish, many in great abundance, including a species of Mekong Giant Catfish which can grow to a massive 300 kilogrammes. Fishing is a major industry and one which is dominated by communities of ethnic Vietnamese people. As well as fish the lake has crocodiles, turtles, otters and around 100 varieties of water birds including pelicans and storks. The area is also famous for its villages of houses on stilts in the river, the most famous of which is Kampong Phluk Floating Village.
There are many operators providing boat tours of Tonle Sap lake, most however follow pretty much the same itinery which involves a half day trip with customers picked up from their hotel in Siem Reap town and taken by road to a pier near the village of Chong Khneas, and a short distance by river from the start of the lake. A typical boat tour involves travelling down the Siem Reap River to Chong Khneas floating village and then along the edge of Tonle Sap lake to the other and more interesting floating village of Kampong Phluk, withsome other stops on route at attractions such as fish and crocodile farms and small local workshops. Whichever tour you do you will get to experience the lake and see the distinctive villages of the people who live and work around the lake. Expect to pay around $30 to $40 USD per person for a half day boat trip on Tonle Sap including pick up and drop off in Siem Reap, and some drink and fruit.
Location of Chong Khneas Boat Pier
The boat tour pier near Chong Khneas is 12.6 km by road from Siem Reap town.