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Prek Toal is easily accessible from Angkor Wat, Siem Reap province and features attractions such as impressive water bird nesting, flooded forest, traditional fishing and floating villages. It possesses a huge potential for Community Based Eco-Tourism with its amazing scenery of the Tonle Sap Lake.
In 2004 in Prek Toal Floating Village, OSMOSE implemented Community-Based Eco-Tourism.
This program aims to provide poor families with sustainable livelihood improvement that does not impact on natural resources. We initiated and facilitated a participatory process of action/ reflection with the villagers to create the community based services which is now entirely managed and organized by the villagers themselves.

Now Community Based Eco-Tourism services generates alternative income for more than 100 families. This includes the various community based activities such as the Water hyacinth Handicraft Workshop, Community Floating Restaurant, Traditional Paddle boat Tour and Community Based Home-stay.

The Water hyacinth Handicraft Workshop

Water hyacinth, the Echhornia crassipes, an invasive aquatic plant introduced from South America has become a serious environmental issue on the Tonle Sap Lake. The plant has a phenomenal growth rate and quickly forms dense floating mats paralyzing navigation. Prek Toal floating village - means "dead end river" - is particularly affected by water hyacinth as the river where its lies makes two hairpin bends blocking the plant mats drifting from upland areas towards the lake. After the onset of the monsoon, the village is often completely invaded by the plant for weeks.

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During discussion with families in the villages in 2003, OSMOSE discovered that older women used to weave hammocks from the dry stem of this invasive plant. This traditional practice had however fallen into disuse when it was cheaper and artificial imports were introduced on to the market.

From this observation, OSMOSE decided to support the revival of this craft while orienting the production towards the market of international tourists. This local development intervention perfectly fits in OSMOSE's integrated approach linking environmental preservation and poverty alleviation on the Tonle Sap Lake.

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In 2004, funding from the Belgian Technical Cooperation was allowed OSMOSE to buy a floating platform which was transformed it into a small handicraft workshop. The custodians who had an existing knowledge of making traditional handicraft trained a group of women who started to produce and sell products to visitors in their village. After a professional training given by an Indonesian team in 2006, the women gained a better skill on producing different kind of products which became more popular for either national or international visitors. A year after, his majesty Norodom Sihamoni received a delegation of water hyacinth handicraft women, and a prestigious recognition of the project. In 2008, the Asia Development Bank financed a new bigger workshop adapted to the weaving of large mats and displaying products for sale to visitors. During this process, the artisans mastered new weaving techniques and diversified their production. The soft, supple and luminous water hyacinth material is presently declined in over thirty different items going from fans and hats to floor mats, baskets, sandals and cushions etc...

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As of today, about thirty women mainly head of households from poor families generate significant household revenue from the project. For the most active handcrafters, water hyacinth (an abundant, free resource) have now replaced fish (an overexploited resource) as their main livelihood. In this way, the water hyacinth handicraft is an ideal model of
Sustainable Development: it contributes to economic resources while addressing an ecological problem.

Outside of the Water hyacinth Handicraft Workshop platform in Prek Toal Floating Village and the OSMOSE office in Siem Reap, Water hyacinth products are for sale in several boutiques in Siem Reap province and Phnom Penh city. Water hyacinth Handicraft Workshop can also fill orders notably custom-made mats for hotels (such as the prestigious Amansara, Angkor Village Resort & Spa and Sala Lodge etc...), restaurants and private owners in Cambodia or for export. For more information about the water hyacinth handicraft products, please kindly see our catalog!

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The Community Floating Restaurant

The cooking groups were trained by Sala Bai, a famous cooking school in Siem Reap. They all cook with care of hygiene, love and clean water. The community floating restaurant has a capacity of over 60 seats and offers a range of delicious Khmer dishes.

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The Traditional Paddle boat Tour

Entering the heart of the village in a traditional paddle boat through this tour organized by the villagers.

The villagers will take you on their traditional paddle boat through the water ways of their village and give you a unique perspective on a way of life that is unimaginable to many of us. Each stop to a specific spot in which it will be an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the special work performed in the floating villages such as fish farming, crocodile farming, floating gardens etc...

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The Community Based Home-stay

More than 10 selected families also provide community-based lodging. They welcome visitors in their floating homes that OSMOSE has provided them with mattresses, pillows and mosquito nets etc...

It is also a great way to immerge yourself into the everyday life of a floating village. Spending a night in a traditional floating Khmer house, marvel at the sunset and sunrise over the water.

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Location

Saray Tonle, Community Based Eco-Tourism is located on Tonle Sap Lake, Prek Toal Floating Village, Koh Chiveang Commune, Ek Phnom District, Battambang Province- Kingdom of Cambodia.

How to access?

To travel to Prek Toal Floating Village, the visitors will need to:
  • Travel around 2 hours by road (taxi or tuk tuk) and by boat from Siem Reap
  • Travel around 5/6 hours (by road and by boat) from Battambang
To reach the Saray Tonle, Community Based Eco-Tourism you can:
  1. Rent a boat in Mei Chrey or Chong Kneas port (30 to 40 minutes by tuk tuk or taxi from Siem Reap to the port and the boat trip will take around 1hr to 1hr 30mn to the floating village)
  2. Stop at Prek Toal on your boat journey from Siem Reap to Battambang or from Batambang to Siem Reap
  3. Join one of eco-tours organized by OSMOSE Ecotourism Project
What do you need to take along with?

Hat, long sleeved shirts and trousers, sunscreen, rain coat (for the raining season) etc...

For more information or make a booking, please contact us via email: saraytonlecbet@gmail.com or mobile phone: +855 (0)12 213 646