Not far from the ancient temples of Angkor, in the heart of Cambodia, lies the huge Tonle Sap lake, the largest in Southeast Asia. The Tonle Sap is connected to the Mekong by a short river also called Tonle Sap. During the rainy season, from May to October, the river reverses its flow into the lake causing it to expand to more than six or seven times its normal size of approximately 2,600 square kilometers. It becomes a vast inland sea.
Each year, millions of fish come to spawn in the seasonally flooded forest surrounding the lake, attracting myriad waterbirds. Villages along the shores live with the rhythm of the season and the floods. Prek Toal is one of the most attractive floating fishing villages on the Tonle Sap lake, with a school, hospital, restaurants, shop and even a pagoda. Just behind the Prek Toal village are flooded forests with bird sanctuaries. Every year, between December and March, thousands of birds come to fish and to breed here.