Every year more than 1 million travelers visit Siem Reap, Cambodia and its famous temples including Angkor Wat. The area is truly awe inspiring with such a high concentration of temples and UNESCO sites. If you’ve been there you know of what I speak. If you have not yet been – put it at the top of your “To Do” list.
But there is more to Cambodia and the Siem Reap area than than Angkor Wat and it’s temples. If you would like to visit some lesser known and less frequently toured temples they can be found nearby. A simple day trip from Siem Reap will take you to some lovely temples which are more calm and more in their unrestored state as reported in the article Cambodian Temples Beyond Siem Reap.
For travelers who might be just a bit “templed out,” there are a variety of other interesting travel destinations not far from Siem Reap. Tonle Sap,15 km south of Siem Reap, is the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia . A visit to the lake offers an interesting change after spending days visiting temples. Tonle Sap is surrounded by small villages and makes a great day trip from Siem Reap.
Tonle Sap – Siem Reap Day Trip
There are several lake side communities not far from Siem Reap. Kampong Phluk is a nice 33km drive and is less frequently visited by tourists than others closer to Siem Reap. Want to take a Day Trip to Tonle Sap? Here’s how.
Step #1 – Hire a Tuk Tuk
You will need transportation for a day trip to Tonle Sap. You could hire a car but that is really overkill. Depending on your specific destination, Tonle Sap is only 15 km to 30 km from Siem Reap. Hire a tuk tuk – cost should be around $18 depending on your negotiating skills.
Step # 2 – Enjoy The Tuk Ride
The tuk ride is delightful, wandering though farm land and small villages. It really gives you a sense of the countryside.
There is quite a mixture of traffic on the paved as well as the unpaved roadways.
Step #3 – Hire A Boat
What is a day trip to the lake without a boat ride? Your tuk driver will drop you off at the boat hire booth and then wait for you. A boat ride through the canals and communities is really the best way to see the area. Cambodia has standardized the boat hire business here. Pay the fee at the boat hire booth where it is one size fits all. $30 per boat. Traveling on your own? $30 for your boat. Traveling with four friends? It’s $30 for the boat. And all the boats are the same. No negotiating here I’m afraid. Try to negotiate directly with a boat owner and they will just direct you back to the boat hire booth.
Step #4 – Enjoy The Boat Ride
Tonle Sap gathers and fills with run off waters from the surrounding area. As a result the water level of varies greatly depending on the season. Boats visiting the area pasts communities of buildings and houses perched atop stilts . The images included were taken during the dry season when water levels were low. During the wet season lake waters rise to the levels just below the floors of the homes.
Tonle Sap is surrounded by a belt of freshwater mangroves known as the “flooded forest.” Your boat will likely stop at a pier along your route where locals will “offer” you a nice leisurely ride through the shady mangrove forests. The cost is @$5 but as near as I can tell this money goes directly to the people in the community.
Step #5 – Have A Nice Lunch On Your Return Trip
Before your return to Siem Reap, why not stop for a nice lunch? Stoeng Trorcheak is a nice open air place for a meal or a snack.
The food is good. I went for the Spring Rolls and French Fries with a nice cold Tiger Beer.
The Stoeng Trorcheak is a fine restaurant with a nice “extra.” After your meal you can catch a quick rest or nap in one of their hammocks in a shady thatched roof shelter adjacent to the restaurant. After your nap it’s just a short tuk ride back to Siem Reap.
Take A Tonle Sap Day Trip ……………….. Enjoy The Adventure!
Travel & Destination Photographs
© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.