Believed to be the world's largest religious building, this temple is the perfect fusion of symbolism and symmetry and a source of pride and strength to all Khmers. Watching the sun set, sat on one of the temples ancient walls is a magical experience.
Kompong Khleang & the Tonle Sap
Kompong Khleang & the Tonle Sap, Cambodia
Travel southeast to one of the largest and least-visited villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang, about 55km from Siem Reap. It has a population of about 10,000 people, all of whom make a living from the fishing industry. You will explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town.
In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers. We visit one of the pagodas here, built on the site of an ancient temple, and see the wall paintings. You may also stop off to visit a house in the village to learn a little more about local life.
You will also cruise into the open water of the great lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier. Later you return to Siem Reap by road.
The water level of the Tonle Sap fluctuates greatly throughout the year and the lake will be at its most picturesque and scenic during the months of October to January when it is full from the heavy summer rains. By February and March the water level can be quite low, resulting in the muddy banks and bottom of the lake becoming visible, and by April most of the outer areas of the lake are dry, meaning that the villages are no longer "floating" as such, but towering high above the dry ground. May to September is the rainy season when the lake will again fill up.
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Photos of Kompong Khleang & the Tonle Sap
Other experiences in Siem Reap
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.
This excursion is not only a great birdwatching opportunity but also offers a fascinating insight into life on the lake. The village of Prek Toal is one of the largest floating villages on the lake.
Join a Cambodian chef and go shopping at the local market for fresh locally-grown ingredients. You explore several classic Khmer dishes and enjoy tasting the end result at a traditional Khmer style luncheon. The class takes three to four hours.
For those with a keen interest in photography and wanting to get the best of their time at the temples in Cambodia, this trip has been designed to help you do just that. All levels of skill are welcome.
Follow your guide into the countryside immediately surrounding Siem Reap for an insight into a different side of Cambodia seeing how local people live and taking in the rural scenery.