Description on the life in Tonle Sap Lake in Siem Reap, Cambodia...
Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater floodplain lake in South East Asia, or rather in the world, and is an ecological hotspot that was classified as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.
The most amazing thing about this lake is that during the monsoon season in October, Tonle Sap River, which connects the lake to Mekong River, reverses its flow. Water is back flowed from the Mekong into the lake, increasing its size from 3,000 sq km to 12,000 sq km, with the depth increasing from 1m to 14m, flooding nearby fields and forests, which provides a prefect breeding ground for fishes. More than 400 species of fishes have been identified, including many species of mammals and reptiles.
The area is important to the economy of Cambodia as its fisheries provide 80% of the protein consumed with the country.
There are more than 1,000,000 inhabitants (2001) live mainly in the buffer and transition areas with about sixty floating villages located on the lake and lake edges in the buffer zone. Fishing is the main activity but the fertile, flood plain is also used to produce rice and vegetables.
One of the houses in the floating village at the edge of the lake, Chong Khneas, which is the closest and most accessible from Siem Reap.While Chong Khneas is considered to be over-touristed, interestingly it is more scenic and pristine as compared to the floating villages further down the lake.
The girl in pink, clinging onto the boat fetching tourists, hop over from the boat in the photo above while both boats were moving. She is selling can drinks to tourists onboard the boat.
A girl on the bucket begging for money from tourists, with a small cup on her right hand to scoop out excess water in her bucket.
A floating school (Chong Khneas Elementary School) play area.
School children rowing a boat to school.
A typical day in the floating villages.