Boat trip to Prek Toal takes about two hours from Chong Kneas boat dock, upon arrival meet Prek Toal Environmental Research Station for guiding tour to birds sanctuary. The Research Station has information on the area's flora and fauna. There are also basic overnight accommodations at the Research Station if you want to stay the night to take full advantage of the sunset and early morning viewing hours. The 'bird sanctuary' at the Prek Toal core area of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve has been called "the single most important breeding ground in Southeast Asia for globally threatened large water birds.
The Biosphere covers 31,282 hectares at the northwest tip of the Tonle Sap Lake and plays host to species including Greater and Lesser Adjuncts, Black-headed Ibis, Painted Stork, Milky Stork, Spot-billed Pelican, Grey-Headed Fish Eagle and many more species. Of the three Biosphere core areas 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. That's why requires to rent a small motorboat drives a long the stream for one hour to birds tower.
There is another bird sanctuary, Ang Trapeng Thmor Reserve, just across the border in Banteay Meanchey Province in the Phnom Srok region, about 100km from Siem Reap. It’s one of only two places in the world where it is possible to see the extremely rare sarus crane, as depicted on bas-reliefs at Bayon. These grey-feathered birds have immensely long legs and striking red heads. The reserve is based around a reservoir created by forced labour during the Khmer Rouge regime, and facilities are very basic.
More memorable than Chong Kneas, but also much harder to reach, is the flooded forest of Kampong Phhluk, alongside another-worldly village built on stilts. The flooded forest is inundated every year when the lake rises to take the Mekong’s over flow, and as the lake drops the petrified trees are revealed. Exploring this area by wooden dugout is very atmospheric. Further inland from the lake is the village of Kampong Phhluk itself, where most of the houses are built on stilts of about 6m or 7m high, looking it has come straight out of a film set.
Srok Yeung or Our Ecotourism Site is a community-based recreational area located at the foot of Phnom Krom mountain near the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia and also home to theworld's most productive inland fishery. Situated on the northwest Cambodian floodplain, the 100-hectare rural property is owned by the Empress Angkor Hotel, one of the leading hotels in Siem Reap, and is only 20 minutes from the town's airport and the historic Angkor temples.
Visitors are offered a unique chance to experience nature and traditional rural lifestyles with the charm, elegance and comfort of an international-standard hotel while helping to diversify local livelihoods and reduce poverty. The site has been developed by hotel management in partnership with local residents in Phum Krorsang Roleung village, a small rural settlement near the lake.
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