Parks & Wildlife
Nature is in abundance in the kingdom of Cambodia. The country being located in Southeast Asia enjoys tropical wet and dry climate. With 435 km long coastline, Cambodia is positioned amidst the Indo-China peninsula sharing its north and west borders with Thailand, east with Vietnam, again north with Laos and west with Gulf of Thailand.
The geography comprising of plain lands, mountains, highlands, rivers, and lakes has made Cambodia rich in natural surroundings making it popular habitat for some of the most endangered species on the planet Earth. With increased, popularity of Cambodia as a wildlife destination, the country witness large number of tourists coming every year from all around the world.
The rich natural surroundings and climate of Cambodia has boosted the wildlife and adventure tourism in the country. It has grown to cover all the parameters for becoming a popular tourist destination. Looking back to the wildlife tourism, Cambodia calls for nature lovers as it is home to more than 200 species of mammals, 850 genus of fish, 536 species of birds, 240 types of reptiles and many types of non marine mollusk that reside in fresh water and not in the sea. Some of the most popular sites for nature, wildlife and hiking lovers in Cambodia are as follows.
BOKOR NATIONAL PARK
Bokor located in south western part of Cambodia is known for Preah Monivong National Park commonly called Bokor National park. Bokor was developed as a hill station by French in 1920 on Damrei Mountains. The Bokor province was destroyed twice, first by Vietnamese and second by Khmer rouge. Bokor National Park is spread over an area of 1581 sq km predominantly a tropical forest rich in some of the rare species of flora and fauna.
The landscape of Bokor National park made it a destination of choice for adventurous activities like trekking and cycling. The entrance fee to the Bokor National park is US$5. Trekking is the best way to watch wildlife in its most natural form at the Bokor National Park. Trekkers get to see some of the most unusual animals like the Asiatic black bear, Pileated Gibbon, Malayan sun bear, Indian Elephant, Leopard, pangolin, mongoose and red muntjac deer.
REAM NATIONAL PARK
Ream National Park, officially called Preah Sihanouk National Park, the park has become known as “Ream” because it is located in the Ream commune. The park was established in 1993, inaugurated in March 1995, and encompasses 21,000 hectares of coastal area including sandy beaches, mangrove forests, the Prek Tuk Sap estuary, off-shore coral reefs and two islands (Koh Thmei and Koh Seh). Though rarely seen the Park provides refuge for such species as macaques, sun bear, dolphins, mouse deer, pangolin, over a hundred species of birds and there is even rumored to be a tiger. The Park and tour operator out of Sihanoukville offer a number of different tours of the park including jungle trekking and river boat trips along the Prek Tuk River through the jungle and mangroves to the ocean. The river trip is the most popular tour of the Park and is also more likely to provide wildlife sightings. Most tours are less than a half-day. Tours may be arranged through a tour operator or directly through the Park at the Park Office (located 23 km north of Sihanouk Ville, 500m off Route 4 on Airport Road, opposite the entrance to the airport). The Park office is open 7 days per week 7AM to 5PM and there are usually several guides of varying linguistic skill levels on hand.
LUMPHAT WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 37km. south of Banlung. With a total land area of 250,000 ha. there are special kinds of animals and birds like tigers, elephants, red-headed vultures.Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Ratanakiri is one of the must-see places in the colorful Cambodia. The province of Ratanakiri is located in the northeastern part of the country. The word Ratanakiri is derived from the Sanskrit words Ratna and Giri, which combine to mean a mountain of gems . Countless tourists throng this place every year to experience and enjoy the rich wildlife, ecotourism prospects and remote tribal villages. If you want to tour this province extensively, make it a point to include Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Ratanakiri in your itinerary.
Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ratanakiri. Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary in Ratanakiri is located 37 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital, Banlung. The total land area of this sanctuary is 250,000 hectares. Travelers are fascinated at the various sights and sounds of the exotic place. If you are lucky, you can have a glimpse of the special kinds of animals that are present here, like tigers, elephants and red-headed vultures.
Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Ratanakiri is so large that it overlaps the neighboring provinces of Mondolkiri and Stung Treng. Generally you will find here the same types of animals as are present in Virachey. But there are a few additional attractions like the endangered and rare species. Included among these is the wild ox, Ko Prey. There are also projects on Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Ratanakiri, done by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Based on the reports of these projects, the management is planning to promote ecotourism of this place. Plans are also being undertaken to develop the sanctuary with good access and modern visitor facilities.
Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary is the part of Mondulkiri wildlife sanctuary, is one of Cambodia?s natural wonders. Located in the northwestern provincials of Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri province. It has an area 2,225 kilometer squares, the area has been charming tourists with its picturesque forests and tranquil surroundings. It’s also a haven for a wide range of wildlife, including some endangered speciesLumphat Wildlife Sanctuary contains range of mountains, a mix of forests and lowlands. This is interspersed with prairies, ponds and water channels from Tonle Sre Pok River. It provides ideal shelter for large mammals such as elephants, bantengs, gaurs, tigers, and wildlife buffalos, as well as bears, bovid and other smaller carnivores and primates.
Tourists wishing to visit Lumphat should contact the park’s ranger-guides of Phnom Prik national park. They will guide them around the site if visitors want to see more, they can camp here for up to one week. It gives them the time to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. Visitors can also trekking by riding elephants, a facility offered by the Phnorng minority. Hiring an elephant and handler costs around $15-25 per day.
PHNOM KULEN NATIONAL PARK
Kulen is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia and it is a popular place for domestic visitors during weekends and festivals. The hill is used as the ancient capital city II in AD 802 to declared himself as god king and announced independence from Java, then giving birth to present day Cambodia.
On the hilltop there are 56 Angkorian temples made of bricks and volcanic stones, but most of them are badly in poor condition, today name Hahendrapura, founded in the reign of King Jayavarman temple base only is remain intact.
The visible sites in modern day are Prasat krau Romeas, Rong Chen ( the first mountain temple), Sra Damrei ( Elephant pond), Thousands of phallic symbols carved a long liver bed and divided in three ports for the Hindu trinity gods. These three ports used for baptistery. At the summit of the hill you can see Buddhist pagoda and a large reclining Buddha statue 8 meters length carved into a sandstone bock in 16th century.
The last attractive spot is a waterfall, it splits in two spots the first waterfall is four or five meters heights and 20 to 25 diameters in dry and raining seasons. The second waterfall is 15 to 20 meters heights and 10 to 15 diameters in dry and raining seasons.
VIRACHEY NATIONAL PARK
Virachey National Park, located in Ratanakiri Province, is part of one of the largest protected forest in Asia. Consisting of forests, mountains, grasslands and valleys, Virachey is largely unexplored and undisturbed by human settlement. From Tigers to Elephants, the park is home to numerous species of wildlife. Hill Tribe villages can be found in remote areas around the fringes of the park. The remains of the Ho Chi Minh Trail run through the eastern edge of the park. A number of mountain streams flow out from the park. The trek into the center of the park involves a multi-day journey and reaches Veal Thom, a large natural grassland.