Tonle Sap by microlite.

by Dominic Stafford

The Tonle Sap is a large lake in the center of Cambodia. Known as the ‘great lake’, this body of water is depended on by an estimated 3 million Cambodians for food and income. During monsoon season, the lake’s level rises by several metres as the Mekong River swells up. Due to this phenomenon, the 170 villages on or around the lake either float or are on stilts. In 1997 the Tonle Sap was designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve. There is grave concern over the future of the lake, due to decreasing fish stocks and plans of building dams upstream on the Mekong River. Time will tell.

For now, I had the privilege of flying over Kompong Khleang, the largest fishing village on the Tonle Sap. At the time, the level of the lake was peaking, with some interesting viewing.

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