Prek Toal Biosphere Reserve in Siem Reap ( $ 165 per person)
Enter a world that time has forgotten, the single most important breeding ground in Southeast Asia for globally threatened large water birds. Visit the floating villages and cruise across Tonle Sap, the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia. The trip will also include a visit to 2 different fishing villages. Then dock with the Queen Tara for meal and drinks, enjoy the stunning scenery from the biggest boat on the lake.
Meet your expert bird guide at your hotel, and proceed via air-conditioned car or minivan to the boat dock area. Transfer onto a mini tara boat, a special flat bottomed boat driven by experienced local boat drivers. On the way to the Prek Toal Sanctuary, you will pass through the floating village where everything floats, including police stations, shops, schools, and markets. Next, proceed across the great lake, Tonle Sap, and enter into the Prek Toal floating community. You will meet up with the local rangers and transfer onto their boats for the trip inside the Biosphere reserve. These boats are much smaller and can get in closer to the viewing platforms. For the keen bird watches, smaller row boats that will allow the local guide to row you up close to where the birds are nesting are used.
Of the three core areas of the biosphere on the Tonle Sap Lake, Prek Toal is the most popular with birdwatchers. The best time to explore is the dry season between December to May when flocks of migratory birds congregate at Prek Toal. While the dry season progresses and the water recedes, the number of birds increase, but the tour to some of the more important viewing areas becomes more difficult. This is an incredible sight, as thousands of huge water birds call this sanctuary home.
Afterwards, head back to meet up with the mini Taras, then cross the lake to meet up with the Queen Tara, in the heart of the floating village. There, you can enjoy a full lunch and drinks. Take sometime to relax on our plentiful hammocks or enjoy the stunning scenery from the biggest boat on the lake. Then meet up with your air conditioned minivan for the journey back to your Siem Reap accommodation.
Asian open bill
Black headed Ibis
Masked Fin foot
Collection of eggs and chicks at the nest remain the single most threat to the continued survival of these water birds on the Tonle Sap lake. Cutting of the forest areas for firewood is also a big problem specially the cutting down of large tree’s is adversely affecting availability of nesting sites for large water birds. Damming of the Mekong up stream may also affect the fishing and water birds.