Tonlé Sap and its Lake

The Tonlé Sap Lake is a great lake situated in the middle of the country. It is one of the most unique ecological wonders of the world due to its extraordinary biodiversity. Moreover, it is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.

The Tonlé Sap is 160 km in length and 36 km in width. During the dry season, it has the size of 3,000 km2 and the depth of 3m. During the wet season, it has the size of 10,000 km2 and the depth of 12m. During this period, the Tonlé Sap floods the lake in the reverse direction, which increases its size almost tenfold, thereby making it a largest freshwater body in Southeast Asia. When the river begins to ebb, the Cambodian people jubilantly celebrate the water festival in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh Capital.

The Tonlé Sap has abundant supplies of freshwater fish. The species of fish inhabiting the lake include carp, catfish (weighing up to 10 kg), mussels, herring, climbing perch and gourami. The people of the mighty lake can catch 5 tons of fish per square kilometer. The freshwater fish are a rich source of sustenance for the Cambodian people.

Due to the flow of the Tonlé Sap carrying silt deposits, the soils of the Cambodian lowland are considered fertile for farming, making Cambodia become an important agricultural country.

For bird-watchers, they can watch an aquatic wetland habitat with thousands of birds flocking down and up and huge numbers of fish-eating waterfowl by the lake before the rains begin in May.

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