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Tonle Sap Lake’s Ecotourism Attractions Draw Steady Tourist Numbers

PHNOM PENH, April 24, 2024 — Nestled on the banks near Siem Reap and Battambang’s Ek Phnom district, Prek Toal village within the Tonle Sap Lake area continues to attract both domestic and international tourists, eager to experience its unique ecotourism offerings. Despite geographical challenges, the destination remains a vibrant hub for those interested in bird watching, floating village tours, and local handicraft shopping.

Residents of Prek Toal village report that the area’s primary attractions include bird flock viewing, visits to floating houses, and an array of souvenir shops offering goods crafted by local artisans. However, according to Hourn Sok, a motorboat operator who ferries tourists from Siem Reap to Prek Toal, visitor numbers have not peaked as expected during the recent Khmer New Year. He noted that most tourists prefer the shorter, one-hour boat ride from Phnom Krom port in Siem Reap over the more arduous five to six-hour journey from Battambang.

Prices for boat services vary, with larger boats accommodating over ten people charged at $50, while smaller boats carrying 8-9 passengers cost $30. Despite the scenic offerings, Sok observed a decline in souvenir purchases this year, affecting local artisans who rely on tourism for their livelihoods. Popular items include baskets, bags, and other products made from squash, known for their beauty but facing low sales.

During the four-day New Year period, Ton Nay, Director of Ecotourism, reported a total of 572 visitors, with day-by-day counts showing gradual increases, except for a dip on the final day. The numbers suggest a consistent interest in the area's natural and cultural offerings, albeit with slight variations year over year.

Ham Arun, Deputy Director of the Department of Tourism in Battambang Province, echoed similar sentiments, noting that while visitor numbers from Battambang were lower due to the extended travel time and new local festivities, the overall visitor trend to Tonle Sap Lake remains steady, with a slight increase compared to last year.



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