The very large Tonlé Sap Lake is worth a detour. You will discover a whole life organised around fishing there, with mobile villages on rafts that move in accordance with the variations in the water level caused by the Mekong in spate. Connected to the river by a channel 6 miles long, Lake Tonlé Sap is located almost in the centre of the country. It is known for being one of the largest freshwater fish reserves in the world. It owes this richness to an astonishing natural phenomenon. From mid-May to the beginning of October, the level of the Mekong rises, forcing the channel water back. This sees its water course reverse in the direction of the lake, whose surface doubles. During the dry season, the channel resumes its usual course, draining the lake waters towards the Mekong.
'Tonlé Sap' is commonly translated as 'great lake'.© Insung Choi / 123RF
The Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia.© GRAPHICOBSESSION
The area is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham communities, living in floating villages around the lake.© Lukasz Janyst / 123RF
The Tonlé Sap Lake is an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.© Kjersti Jorgensen / 123RF
The floodplain provides a great breeding ground for fish.© Urs FLUEELER / 123RF