The Tonle Sap, a unique lake and river in the world.
To sail on the Tonle Sap, it is to join Siem Reap in Phnom Penh by living an extraordinary adventure in contact with the populations of the river and their very amazing floating villages.
The journey between Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
(Angkor temples) is made on Tonle Sap
river and the same name lake. The area of the lake during the dry season (February to June), is approximately 2700 km2 to a depth of about 1 meter, making it impossible to navigation. It is multiplied by more than five during the rainy season. It is estimated that the lake surface can then reach 16 000 km2 and a depth of 9 meters, drowning rice fields and forests. In volume, this represents an increase by a factor of 70. The Tonle Sap is the only river in the world whose course is reversed six months a year by completing the largest lake in addition to Asia. It is an immense reserve of fresh water and an matchless habitat for all wildlife and an exuberant and wild flora. It is a site of major ecological importance and has been recognized “Biosphere Reserve” by Unesco in 1997. The Tonle Sap is one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world, and provided 75% of the volume fishing in Cambodia. It is also a place of life for a people whose water is the unique and sacred wealth. The main communities are made up of peaceful minorities called “Chams”, and Vietnamese minorities.
Permeate this unique and fragile ecosystem can be conceived only through a responsible and respectful tourism. That is the reason why the Sat Toung, traditional boat decorated in an “ethnic chic” style, only takes 4 cabins and 8 passengers maximum, and propels you in this exceptional, exciting and very exclusive adventure, far from mass tourism while enjoying comfortable cabins. The on-board power supply is of solar origin, thus avoiding exhaust emissions and noise pollution caused by the operation of a generator 24 hours a day, especially during the night. It will allow you to let you carry by the rhythm of its nonchalant navigation to the discovery of a fully preserved nature. This kind of cruise nevertheless knows constraints, please fully understand the “Rates and practical information“.
You will board the Sat Toung (the pelican in Khmer) for an unforgettable adventure of 3 days and 2 nights, where you will discover the ancient and charming city of Udong, ancient and mysterious capital of Cambodia. At night, the Sat Toung anchor on a small arm of the river in front of a typical farm of the banks of the river.
Then you will arrive at Kampong Chhnang after having sailed through a labyrinth of small arms of the river, which will plunge you into the peaceful life of Cambodian provincial cities, where time seems to have slowed down.
You will visit there in tuk-tuk a village consisting of traditional pottery workshops sold throughout Cambodia. Then, after a hearty lunch on board, visit the floating village of Chnok Tru in a small boat of the community will discover a way of life very far from ours. After having sought our passage to enter the Tonle Sap Lake, we will go to a shelter located at the entrance of a completely isolated floating village since it is only accessible by small boats or with the Sat Toung. Lost in the middle of this flooded forest ecosystem that characterizes Tonle Sap Lake, you will visit this lake with the boat of a fisherman from the village. Then the dinner will be served with for traveling companions the cries of birds nesting all around the boat.
During the low water season – beginning of February to end of June +/- 2 weeks – there is not enough water on the Tonle Sap Lake to navigate. Sat Toung wets in front of the floating village of Chhnok Tru. You will then go on a tour of the surrounding floating villages passing by the lake with a fishing boat.
These fishing boats (called long-tailed boats, the propeller being fixed at the end of a long transmission to navigate in a few centimeters of water) are characteristic of Tonle Sap Lake.
After a breakfast (meals will be the opportunity to appreciate the specialties of Khmer organic agriculture), the third day will be spent crossing the lake to the village of Kampong Khleang. There, we will embark aboard a small boat of the community to visit the village located on immense piles in the middle of the flooded forest. Then we will drive to the village of Chong Khneas, through crocodile farms, houses, schools, all the aquatic life of this village that marks our arrival to the city of Siem Reap, gateway to the fabulous temples of Angkor.
During the low water season – beginning of February to end of June +/- 2 weeks – after the breakfast, departure to Kompong Khleang by speed community boat. You will lunch in Kompong Khleang. Then, departure to Chong Khneas and arrival in Chong Khneas at 4:00pm and transfer by minivan to the hotel
We do not hesitate to assert that a one week stay in Cambodia compound of this cruise preceded or followed by the visit of the Angkor temples will fail one of your most fantastic travel souvenir
Departures possible from 2 rented cabins. Phocea Mekong cruises will inform the passengers 1 month before the date of departure if the cruise has to be canceled.
Given the time required for our boat to make a round trip Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – Phnom Penh (6 days) and random telephone calls during the trip, we are forced to ask you to confirm your boarding 1 week before departure of your cruise and paying a deposit of 30%.
You will receive a message for this purpose reminding you to confirm your arrival.
Our prices include:
• Full board accommodation, including meals mentioned in the program, coffee, tea & drinking water
• One french bottle wine par cabin per day
• English speaking Khmère native on board manager
• Pick-up at hotel in Siem Reap (Only for hotels in city center)
• Pick-up at hotel in Phnom Penh city
• Excursions in our program (entrance fees, tuk-tuk, community boats, etc.) in Udong, Kompong Chhnang, Chok Tru, Kompong Klieng
• Boarding and disembarking – port taxe
• Passenger liability insurance included with “FORTE insurance”
Our prices do not include:
• Personal travel insurance
• Tours and meals other than those mentioned in the program
• Transfer from / to airport
• Personal expenses & Gratuities for the crew/guides
For more informations on the course of our cruises, please read our FAQ.
Please read our terms and conditions.
Our commitment to authentic and safe cruises.
Phnom Penh departure : From 07:00 am. Departure on tuesday. Boarding at Titanic tourism port, Sisowath quay in front of n°104 street, Phnom Penh. Arrival in Siem Reap on thursday around 03:30 pm (06:30 during low water season).
Siem Reap departure : From 06:30 am. Departure on friday at Chong Kneas port. Arrival in Phnom Penh on sunday around 03:30 pm
Sat Tung is a ship launched in December 2012 completely refurbished in may 2017, from a ancestral knowledge of Khmer carpenters, yet has modern and comfortable furnishings.
Owners may be on board. Lovers of Cambodia since 1992, they will be happy to help you discover the country through its rivers and its inhabitants. However, we draw the attention of our passengers on some very specific points of our cruises. Sat Tung is a boat owner of traditional construction, which implies certain constraints.
- No air conditioning. The boat is naturally ventilated and wooden cabins are covered by a white protective order to limit the temperature. These however are softer because we are on the river. The cabins are equipped with fans.
- We can not provide hot water in the bathrooms, water is only lukewarm. Due to the high temperatures almost all year round, the hot water did not seem necessary.
- Water used for the bathroom is clean and has embarked before each cruise. We have 4500 liters, which is enough for grooming, showers and kitchen. It must however be careful not to use it improperly. The water in the toilet is pumped into the river, giving this land of color to toilet bowls.
- Smoking is not permitted in cabins and toilets. We ask smokers to smoke only on the deck, while taking care of the cigarette butts. We are on a wooden boat.
- In order not to damage the bridge, ladies please do not walk with needle heels.
- We determine the menus before departure and we source fresh produce along our cruises. It is possible that our cook changes its menu based on availability on the market met or for an encounter with a fisherman.
- We tried to minimize engine noise by soundproofing of the engine room, but they remain.
- We sail on wild rivers, which makes the charm of these cruises, but they are also accompanied by uncertainties. So we often land on undeveloped shoreline, it is necessary to provide shoes accordingly. The water level varies over 8 meters depending on the season, changing the riverbed, the intensity of the currents forcing us to change course, or sometimes even looking our way. This may have an impact on our schedules.
- Likewise, we must continuously focus on objects floating in the river (tree trunks or driftnets often) and jachintes water (on the Tonle Sap above), which can also change our schedule if we should stop the engine to change a propeller or release stems jachintes water that would wound it.
- Ra, our captain is very experienced. It is part of a minority called ‘Cham’ majority on the rivers of Cambodia. This water people are very peaceful community, where mutual aid is essential. Thus, we may need to ship a few people for a few hours if a request is made to Ya, for example to drive them to a dispensary. Similarly, if difficulties or changes occur on the river, one or two men can board to help our captain.
- If there are few insects in the day in the river, moorings at night can attract many, especially if we are the only lights visible for several kilometers. We are equipped with mosquito nets in the cabins and the main deck level to be able to dine comfortably. However, it is strongly recommended that repulsive and dark clothing (light colored clothes attract insects).
- The Sat Toung is equipped with solar equipment and a high-performance battery system. The cabins are all equipped with electric lights, 220 volt outlets, fans. We are equipped with a refrigerator, a freezer, WIFI, water pumps for running water, extractors in the bathrooms etc … All this equipment is fed by day by the Solar panels, by high performance batteries at night. They can not, however, withstand excessive power like a hair dryer.
- The Sat Tung is equipped with WiFi. This can however not be operational throughout the cruise, certain areas are not covered.
- By conviction, we have not equipped our TV cabins or minibar. The trip on board must be the opportunity to share in contact with the Sat Toung crew and the inhabitants of the river.
- The company PhoceaMekong cruises is intimately involved in the NGO Ptea Clara, which sponsors children along the river. We may need to meet some of these cruise ongoing sponsorships to control their education and provide them with school equipment.