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Photographer's Note

The main event in all of Cambodia is the yearly Bon Om Thouk Festival.
It actually celebrates a strange natural phenomenon: the flow reversal of the Tonle Sap.

Here the explanation:

During the rainy season (June to October) the massive Mekong River collects huge quantities of water. Firstly, at its source in the Himalayas, summer time meltwater feeds the river and its many tributaries. Secondly, as the river snakes through no less than five countries (China, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia) on its 4500 km long journey, it also accumulates the water from the heavy monsoon rainfalls along the way.

When the river finally reaches Cambodia’s capital it has swelled massively. In Phnom Penh, the Mekong River converges with the Tonle Sap River in front of the Royal Palace. Because the water volume of the Mekong is so large, it actually forces the current of the Tonle Sap River to reverse. The backward water flow fills the massive Tonle Sap Lake further upstream. At the end of the monsoon season, in late October, the lake has swelled to an area of 13,000 km² and a depth of 10 metres.

At the start of the dry season, the Mekong River water levels drop while the Tonle Sap Lake water level is at its highest. The large volumes of water of the lake push downstream forcing the Tonle Sap River to flow in its usual seaward direction. This empties the lake again. When the water is at its lowest level in May (just before the rainy season), the giant lake has retreated and only covers an area of 2500 km² at a depth of 2.2 metres.

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L'évènement principal de l'année au Cambodge est le festival Bon Om Thouk, qui célebre un étrange phénomène naturel: l'inversion du courant du Tonle Sap.
Explication:
Pendant la saison des pluies, le Mékong charrie d'énormes quantités d'eau accumulée durant la traversée de cinq pays, et aussi de la fonte des neiges estivale, en Himalaya.
Le confluent avec le Tonle Sap se trouve juste en face du Palais Royal, à Phnom Penh et l'arrivée massive de toute cette eau force sa remontée vers l'amont dans son affluent et remplit le lac Tonle Sap à 200 km de là.
A la fin de la mousson le lac est plein et atteint 13 000 km², et 10 m de profondeur.
Quand le niveau du Mékong redescend, le lac se vide et la rivière Tonle Sap recommence à couler normalement, vers la mer. Il ne couvre alors plus que 2500 km² sur 2 m 20 de profondeur.

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Additional Photos by Laurent LV (siolaw) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4842 W: 647 N: 10301] (38272)
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