After exploring the temples in Angkor Park and the touristic city of Siam Reap, we planned to see more of Cambodia on a day trip with Smiling Albino – a destination management company specializing in customizable and unique experiences throughout Southeast Asia. Smiling Albino’s sample adventures from Siem Reap include cycling, hiking, and kayaking. We love the water and booked a day of kayaking on Tonle Sap Lake with Smiling Albino.
Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia
Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest lake, is in the centre of Cambodia and approximately 30 minutes by car from Siam Reap. The size of Tonle Sap Lake changes with the season – during the rainy season (June to October), the lake fills with water from the Mekong River and expands to a size of about 10,000 square kilometres (km). During the dry season (November to May), Tonle Sap shrinks to around 3,000 square km because water flows back into the Mekong River. This water level fluctuation is a natural phenomenon and impacts lifestyle on and around Tonle Sap. Locals construct houses on multi-story stilts to accommodate changing water levels, and floating villages relocate throughout the year as the lake contracts and expands.
Kayaking on Tonle Sap Lake with Smiling Albino
We met our Smiling Albino guide and driver at our hotel, the Park Hyatt Siem Reap, and travelled about 30 minutes to a river bank marina for a boat ride into Tonle Sap. From here we launched inflatable double kayaks and paddled through floating villages, fishing communities, and flooded forests.
We drifted amongst colourful blue-tailed bee-eating birds perched on branches, smiled for curious locals who wanted to take our picture and manoeuvred through tree trunks and branches rising from the water.
Kayaking on Tonle Sap Lake with Smiling Albino was a highlight of our almost month long trip through Southeast Asia. Out on the water, we experienced Cambodia’s natural environment, learnt about rural life where locals raise animals (chickens, pigs, and fish) in floating cages, and children row ancient vessels to their floating school.
Travel Tips – Kayaking on Tonle Sap Lake with Smiling Albino
- You can contact Smiling Albino via email at [email protected] or by telephone in the Bangkok Office (GMT +7) +66-2-107-2542. Visit the Smiling Albino website for more information about ultra luxury adventures and day trips in Southeast Asia.
We were guests of Smiling Albino when we kayaked on Tonle Sap Lake. As always, if I don’t enjoy an experience, I won’t recommend it.