Top Wildlife Experiences in Cambodia You Can’t Miss

Cambodia’s diverse ecosystems range from the dense rainforests of the Cardamom Mountains to the expansive wetlands of Tonle Sap Lake. This rich habitat supports some of Southeast Asia’s rarest wildlife, including the critically endangered Siamese crocodile. Here’s a guide to the best wildlife encounters in Cambodia that you shouldn’t miss.

1. Angkor Archaeological Park

Angkor isn’t just about ancient temples; it’s also home to diverse wildlife. The surrounding forests provide a habitat for many species.

  • Wildlife Highlights: Gibbons, macaques, and various bird species.
  • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon.
  • Tips: Bring binoculars for birdwatching and stay silent to increase your chances of spotting primates.
Gibbons swinging through the trees at Angkor Archaeological Park.

2. Cardamom Mountains

The Cardamom Mountains are one of Southeast Asia’s largest remaining rainforests, offering some of Cambodia’s best wildlife experiences.

  • Wildlife Highlights: Asian elephants, clouded leopards, and macaques.
  • Best Time to Visit: November to April.
  • Tips: Hire a local guide for the best chances to see elusive wildlife and learn about conservation efforts.
Asian elephants spotted in the dense forest of Cardamom Mountains.

3. Tonle Sap Lake

Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, known for its incredible biodiversity, especially in bird species.

  • Wildlife Highlights: Spot-billed pelicans, painted storks, and Siamese crocodiles.
  • Best Time to Visit: December to April.
  • Tips: Visit the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary for the best birdwatching experience.
Flock of spot-billed pelicans flying over Tonle Sap Lake.

4. Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center

Phnom Tamao is Cambodia’s largest zoo and wildlife rescue center, providing a safe haven for rescued animals.

  • Wildlife Highlights: Gibbons, tigers, and various bird species.
  • Best Time to Visit: Year-round.
  • Tips: Opt for a guided tour to learn about the animals and the center’s conservation efforts.
Rescued gibbons playing at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center.

5. Virachey National Park

Virachey is one of Cambodia’s most remote and least explored national parks, offering a true wilderness experience.

  • Wildlife Highlights: Irrawaddy dolphins, giant ibis, and douc langurs.
  • Best Time to Visit: November to March.
  • Tips: Prepare for a rugged adventure and consider multi-day treks for the best wildlife encounters.
A giant ibis in the wild at Virachey National Park.

6. Mondulkiri Protected Forest

Mondulkiri is famous for its rolling hills and lush forests, which are home to a variety of wildlife.

  • Wildlife Highlights: Asian elephants, green peafowl, and gaur.
  • Best Time to Visit: November to February.
  • Tips: Visit the Elephant Valley Project to learn about ethical elephant conservation.
Green peafowl in Mondulkiri Protected Forest.

7. Ream National Park

Ream National Park, located near the coast, offers diverse ecosystems including mangroves, forests, and coral reefs.

  • Wildlife Highlights: Dugongs, dolphins, and a variety of bird species.
  • Best Time to Visit: November to April.
  • Tips: Take a boat tour to explore the mangroves and spot marine wildlife.
Dugongs swimming near the coast of Ream National Park.

Important Note for Visitors:

When visiting wildlife areas in Cambodia, it’s crucial to follow ethical practices. Many species are endangered, and conservation efforts are essential to their survival. Always respect local regulations, keep a safe distance from animals, and support eco-friendly tours and parks that prioritize wildlife protection. Cambodia has implemented various conservation projects to protect elephants and other wildlife from poaching and habitat loss, ensuring a safe environment for these magnificent creatures.

More Adventures Await

Cambodia offers some of the most unique and unforgettable wildlife encounters in Southeast Asia. From the majestic elephants of the Cardamom Mountains to the diverse birdlife of Tonle Sap, there’s something for every nature lover. Plan your visit to these incredible locations and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and biodiversity of Cambodia.

For a more immersive wildlife experience, join our Countryside Life Tour Siem Reap. Start at APOPO, a landmine clearing organization that uses Hero Rats to sniff out deadly explosives. Escape the tourist hub of Siem Reap and explore the beautiful countryside, colorful villages, and rural life. Secure your spot today and discover the unique wildlife and landscapes of Cambodia!

Leave a Reply