Tonle Sap Lake Photography Tour

Tonle Sap Lake Photography Tour

This was our first tour to the Tonle Sap lake. I have been there before but did not really know what to expect when it comes to visit this place for business. And to be honest, nothing is different. It was just a great trip with a LOT of superb photographic subjects. The first thing that attracted my eyes was a boat lying in a green meadow. Actually, it was a young rice field. So I guess the boat is left from the last flooding and it will most probably wait there till the next flooding.

There is a long channel going all the way from the point of entrance down to the lake. The channel is kind of empty. But every now and than you find a local farmer washing his cattle or kids playing in the water. the closer you get to the lake the more tourist boats you will find. Just before the land ends there is a huge amount of boats, must be around 100 or so, all squeezed into this tiny 5 meter wide channel. If you ever see a number of those boats leaving at the same time you redefine the term “Chaos”!

Actually, the lake as such is nothing special. I mean, its a lake. However, there are some points I want to mention. During dry season the lake is between 3000 and 4000 kmĀ² (square kilometer) large while in rainy season, the size increases “5 TIMES”! The maximum depth of the lake is 2 to 3 meters, in rainy season it is up to “10 – 14 METERS”! Does this give you an idea about whats going on there? Tonle Sap is the largest lake in South East Asia. Having said that, in rainy season the lake covers almost “10% OF CAMBODIA”! and I have one more. Tonle Sap is one of the richest fish grounds on Earth! Very few lakes on our planet have more and a higher variety on fish than Tonle Sap.

At the end of the channel, just before you reach the open lake, the is a small village called Kampong Phluk (I have seen a number of different spellings, so I decided to use this one). And this is something you have never seen before. All the houses in this village are built on stilts elevating the houses 5 and more meters above the water surface. Each house has a number of boats attached. People literally live ON the lake! The number of photographic subjects is never ending. the kids playing in the water, rowing their boats, fisherman with their nets, whole forests that are flooded. It is simply amazing. As much as I like the stone temples of Angkor, a visit at Tonle Sap is at least as worthwhile.

The kids in Kampong Phluk are used to a wet live. They spend most of the day in the water trying to copy the fishing styles of their parents. You see kids rowing a boat everywhere.