Where to watch wildlife in Cambodia?
Here you will find a short overview of my recommended places to visit in Cambodia if you are wildlife minded. This page Where to watch wildlife in Cambodia is a combination of personal visits and information I gathered along my trip. I spend 2 months in Cambodia: 1 month I was part of an expedition (Binco expedition to Cambodia – Kdan Mekong 2018) and 1 month I was wandering around Cambodia, experiencing the culture and looking for nature and wildlife. (Cambodia 2018 – Wandering for wildlife).
- Cardamom mountains
- Seam Reap – Betreed Adventures
- Dolphins in Kratie
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre in Phnom Penh
Virachey national park
I’ll start of with the Cardamom mountains, situated in south-west Cambodia. I should be one of the more remote places in Cambodia. I was looking for some cheaper options to get there. I came across 2 ‘community-based centres. Myself, I visited the Osoam Cardamom Community Center. It was a great experience, but it was hard to arrange a trip focussed on wildlife. I would suggest a 2-day/1-night jungle trek. We didn’t really see animals, but we encountered faeces from elephants, heard some monkeys and birds, heard some large mammals running away, …
I haven’t visited it myself, but there is another centre called Chi Phat, which should be more wildlife tour minded.
Mondulkiri is a famous place to go to visit an elephant sanctuary. I did a bit of research about the most ethical way to do some wildlife tourism there, and I figured out there is a place called the Hephalum café. The promote responsible wildlife trips with collaborations with WWF and WCS. It’s definitely worth a visit.
I visited the Elephant Valley project (EVP), which is apparently one of the good ones around. I figured it out myself as I arrived there on a Friday and they are not doing tours during the weekend in order to give their elephants some rest. You can volunteer with them as well, but if you are like me and are just interested in mostly wild animals, just one day trip is enough to see the place. It actually has a decent forest which is now protected by the sanctuary, so in the end it’s a bit of a conservation project. The elephants are not wild.
Besides this Elephant Valley Project, there are some other options. At the time I was there ( May 2018), only WCS was doing some gibbon tours to see 3 endangered monkey species ($185 – 2018). Apparently, this was about to change and other people where going to offer these tours as well, which hopefully means a bit of a lower price.
Siem Reap – Betreed Adventures
Here some information I only got by the end of my trip. I heard about a place near Siem Reap which should offer a nice jungle experience, too had I only got to know about the option at the end of my trip.
Kratie: Irrawaddy Dolphins
Kratie is one of the most well know places for the dolphin watching opportunities. The Irrawaddy dolphin is an endangered freshwater dolphin species. From Kratie, you just take a tuk-tuk to Kampi (or just ask for the dolphins). There is only one place to start the dolphin tours. If you are lucky, you can already spot some dolphins from the riverside, but the tours are definitely worth it. Don’t expect jumping dolphins!
From Kratie, you can get tours to Kampi to see the Irrawaddy dolphins.
Phnom Penh – Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre
I visited the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. It wasn’t a great facility if you compare it to European standards, but it seemed like a nice place to educate people about wildlife. Their main focus is the bears. They rescue quite some bears and most of them have a story. They ‘ve written down the story next to their enclosures, which was a nice addition to the experience.
Check out their website here.
Virachey national park
A place I haven’t visited myself, but I heard great stuff about it. Virachey national park is in the very north of Cambodia, near the border with Laos and Vietnam. Experiences are similar to Cardamom mountains I think, with offers like jungle trekkings and jungle hikes.
Where to watch wildlife in Cambodia
In the end, it wasn’t easy to figure out where to go for specialised wildlife tours or specific areas to visit to increase your chances of seeing wildlife. Also, during my 2-month stay, I realised all the animals and natural resources have their price. Either for personal use (food, resources), for the wildlife trade market, … There is a huge pressure on nature and wildlife, and soon enough, a lot will be gone (and a lot was already gone when I visited it).
Check out my other articles about Cambodia: