Visiting Cambodia’s National Parks

Cambodia has established eight national parks in an effort to protect its native flora and fauna from poaching and illegal logging. While the protected areas have slowed the steady forest loss, illegal land clearing and wildlife poaching continue to threaten Cambodia’s natural resources.

One of the best ways a traveler can support the national parks of Cambodia is by visiting them. Hike the trails, stop at the waterfalls, stay in the park lodges and eat at the restaurants. Spend your tourism dollars at the national parks and support a source of income that relies on maintaining the trees and wildlife for travelers to explore.

What Should You Take With You When You Go to a Cambodia National Park?

Here are just a few essentials that will vastly improve your visit to a national park in Cambodia.

  • Bottled water – Bring plenty fo water as you won’t find places to buy it in the park.
  • Mosquito repellent – An absolute must in this hot and humid tropical climate.
  • Cash – Park admission fees can only be paid in cash, and there are no ATMs. In national parks that do have a cafe, homestay or restaurant, you will probably need to pay in cash.
  • Snacks – Hikes can sometimes take longer than anticipated, and here again, you won’t find places to buy food and drinks.
  • Good walking shoes – You will likely be walking on rocks, sticks and mud in a dense jungle environment and often uphill.

Southern Cardamom National Park & Osoam Community Center

The Southern Cardamom National Park covers 1584 square miles (104 sq km) of dense forest, wetlands, rivers and mangroves. 

Southern Cardamom is 132 miles (213 km) west of Phnom Penh by car or 3 hours north of Sihanoukville. There is currently no entrance fee to the park. However, it’s best to explore the park with the aid of an experienced and knowledgeable local guide. Southern Cardamom National Park guides can be found by asking at the front desk of your hotel or from the local guides with the Osoam Community Center.

Osoam Cardamom Community Center

At the northern edge of Southern Cardamom park, Osoam is a community of 4 small villages that are working together to earn a living and support through tourism. Travelers can visit the Osoam Cardamom Community Center to learn more about the community, the Cardamom Mountains, the forest and life in a remote Cambodian village.

Some of the activities they provide include:

  • Providing opportunities for visitors to do volunteer work
  • Guided trekking in the Cardamom Mountains
  • Offering Khmer cooking classes
  • Guided exploring to see the wildlife and birds.
  • Homestays with meals included
  • Kayak, bicycle, mountain bike and motorbike rentals

Spending time in the Osoam area is a great way to get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in indigenous culture. 

Guided day tours start at just $20 per person, and overnight treks of 2-8 days are also available. Overnight tours include rustic accommodations, transportation in the park, food and water.

Supporting the Osoam Community Center gives the local families a much-needed income and an inspiration to protect the forest from illegal land clearing. To earn tourism dollars, they need to have a thriving and growing forest to share with their visitors.

Homestays start at $6 per night. Meal prices are $2.00 for breakfast, $3.00 for lunch and $4.00 for dinner.

Be sure to bring cash with you as they do not accept credit cards, and there are not ATM machines available

You can find the Osoam Cardamom Community Center website here.

To book a tour or for more information, contact Mr. Lim

 +855 89 899 895 / 16 309 075 

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]  

Ream National Park

You’ll find the Ream National Park at Cambodia’s southern tip, along the coastline of the Gulf of Thailand. The park’s coastal location includes marine habitat with white sand beaches, mangrove tunnels, tropical jungles, wildlife and two islands; Koh Thmei and Koh Ses. 

Ream National park is 3 hours southwest of Phnom Penh by car or 30 minutes hours southeast of Sihanoukville. The entrance to the park is next to the airport for Sihanoukville. Stop at the ranger stations first to get advice on hikes and boat trips through the mangroves.

Ream Park is separated in two by the Prek Teuk Sap river as it meanders through the park on its way to the ocean. Visitors will enjoy beautiful beaches, mangrove trails, tropical jungles and wildlife.

Botum Sakor National Park

Botum Sakor National Park, at just over 700 square miles, is Cambodia’s largest national park. The park sits on a peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand, southwest of the Cardamom Mountains. Botum Sakor is 160 miles (258 km) from Phnom Penh. Park visitors will find grasslands, evergreens, melaleuca trees, mangrove forests and freshwater swamplands. 

Illegal logging in Botum Sakor was rampant before 2002, with the loss of an estimated 89 square miles of evergreen forest. 

In an effort to stop deforestation, the Cambodian government set aside 467 sq miles (180 sq km) of the JW Concessions protected area for tourism. Forest and wildlife protection here is provided by the Wildlife Alliance and the Ministry of Environment’s Forest Rangers.

Travelers can stay within the park at the Cardamom Tented Camp. Guests sleep in nine white canvas tents on wooden platforms. An open-air communal restaurant serves set menu-style meals at the Riverbank Restaurant on the Preak Tachan River. Cocktails, beer and wine, are available at the bar.

Wildlife at Botum Sakor National Park

Wildlife is observed at the park by hidden camera and forest rangers making their rounds. It’s possible to spot the following animals and birds, but visitors’ sightings are uncommon due to the small number of animals and excellent ability to camouflage.

  • Sunda pangolin
  • Northern pig-tailed macaque
  • Bengal slow loris
  • Pileated gibbon
  • Smooth-coated otter
  • Giant squirrels
  • Night heron
  • Wooly necked stork
  • Green peafowl
  • Great hornbill
  • Oriental pied hornbill

Virachey National Park

Established in 1993, Virachey National Park is Cambodia’s first national park. Virachey is one of two in Cambodia that have been granted protected status by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN Heritage Parks are selected for:

  • Ecological completeness
  • Represents a variety of ecosystems or species
  • In a natural condition, able to regenerate with little intervention
  • Conservation of the park has a high global significance

Virachey covers 2,000 square miles (3,325 sq km) in northeast Cambodia bordered by Laos and Vietnam. Visitors must make arrangements through the Virachey National Park Eco-Tourism Information CenterOpens in a new tab. to trek into the park.

Wilderness Treks at Virachey Include:

  • 2 days/1 night price starts at $64.00 for 1 person
  • 3 days/2 nights price starts at $160 for 1 person
  • 7 days/6 nights price starts at $207.50 for 1 person

For more information on Virachey National Park wilderness treks, go to the Tourism of Cambodia site here. You can also visit a tour company in nearby Banlung.

Preah Monivong Bokor National Park 

The Bokor National Park is one of two national parks in Cambodia that have been granted protected status by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The other park is Virachey National Park.

ASEAN Heritage Parks are selected for:

  • Ecological completeness
  • Represents a variety of ecosystems or species
  • In a natural condition, able to regenerate with little intervention
  • Conservation of the park has a high global significance

There are several hikes within the park, including a 3.7-mile loop to the Bokor viewpoint.

You’ll find Bokor 21 miles (35 km) north of Kampot or 118 miles (190 km) southwest of Phnom Penh.

Bokor National Park is popular among tourists and has a large commercial hotel and casino called the Thansur Bokor Highland Resort. This is not the type of rustic local homestay experience one might expect in a national park. It’s a casino hotel with three restaurants, one buffet restaurant, two bars, a spa, a disco, an indoor pool, a sauna and a jacuzzi.

Kep National Park

You’ll find Kep 112 miles (180 km) southwest of Phnom Penh on the Gulf of Thailand. The park entrance is behind the Veranda Natural Resort or by the Led Zep Cafe.

The main trail around the park is paved and well-marked, with great views. The Phnom Kep Loop is a popular hike of 1.9 miles to enjoy the view from Sunset Rock.

Led Zep Cafe

Led Zep is the only place within the national park where you can buy food. They serve cold drinks, sandwiches, crepes and snacks. There are national park t-shirts for sale and free park maps. If you plan to explore the park on your own, without a guide, be sure to stop at Led Zep first for the map.

Led Zep is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Phnom Kulen National Park

Phnom Kulen National Park is about 31 miles (50 km) north of Siem Reap and 62 miles (100 km) south of the Thailand border.

The entrance fee to Phnom Kulen National Park is $20 per person, payable only in cash. If you need to use a credit card, you can purchase your tickets online from a tour companyOpens in a new tab. (affiliate link) like Get Your Guide or a local travel company. Your front hotel desk can also help you purchase tickets.

If you are in Siem Reap, booking a day tour like this one Opens in a new tab.will include transportation, a Phnom Kulen park entrance fee, and the service of a local guide is possible.

Hiking at Phnom Kulen, options include:

  •  1.6 miles loop to the Phnom Kulen waterfall
  •  Moderate 2 miles hike to Kbal Spean 
  • A challenging 7.2-mile hike out and back to Mount Kulen.

Kirirom National Park

Located between Phnom Penh and the coast, Kiriom National Park is at a higher elevation where tall pine trees grow. Kirirom visitors can enjoy 109 square miles (283 sq km) of pine forests, waterfalls, and even wild orchids. Hiking to a higher viewpoint rewards a hiker with breathtaking views of the Cardamom Mountains.

The best way to reach the park is through Chambok Commune through Chambok village. The Chambok Commune is a non-profit community organization of nine local villages created to give the villagers an income source outside of poaching and illegal logging. The idea is to prevent further deforestation by providing the communities with a better income source and an incentive to protect the trees.

Chambok Community Based Eco-Tourism (CBET)

The Chambok Commune offers authentic Cambodian experiences like Kiriom National Park homestays and Khmer cooking and crafts lessons. Trained local villagers lead guided hikes through the national park, although only a few are English-speaking.

Kirirom National Park Activities With Chambok Community Tourism Include:

  • 20 local homestays. Prices start at $3 per night
  • 20 community guides
  • Ox-cart rides
  • Guided bird walks and waterfall tours
  • Animal treks
  • Bat cave tour
  • Khmer meals prepared
  • handcrafts for sale made by the local villagers 

There is also a visitor center and restaurant. Stop at the visitor center to pay the Chambok entrance fee of $3 and get help with Kiriom park maps and guides.

All proceeds stay in the Chambok community to support the villages and protect the forest.

Chambok Community Contact  

email: [email protected] Tel: (+855) 012 237 605; (+855) 0977 237 605; (+855) 012 435 660

What Animals Can You See in Cambodia?

Until recently, animal poaching in Cambodia was common practice and animal body parts were sold openly in Phnom Penh. Through increased efforts by establishing protected parks and wildlife sanctuaries, poaching has slowed down. However, wildlife numbers are low. With a few exceptions, visitors spotting animals in the national parks is rare.

Visitors exploring the national parks are likely to spot monkeys (lots of monkeys!), bats, snakes and all sorts of birds. However, there are even more species that are currently considered endangered in Cambodia. Illegal land clearing and wildlife poaching continue to threaten the natural ecosystem for Cambodia’s wildlife.

Visiting Cambodia’s National Parks, Animals You Might See:

  • Monkeys
  • Deer
  • Bears
  • Siamese crocodiles
  • Water buffalo
  • Dholes
  • Otters
  • Pangolins
  • Crocodiles
  • Leopards
  • Wild cats
  • Peafowl
  • Stork
  • Ibis
  • Peafowls
  • Hornbills
  • Kouprey
  • Cormorants
  • Cranes
  • Asian elephants
  • Gibbons
  • Mayan Sun bears

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Endangered Mammals in Cambodia Includes:

  • Indochinese tiger
  • Asian elephants
  • Sun bear
  • Irrawaddy dolphins 
  • Sunda pangolin
  • Kouprey
  • Banteng
  • Wild water buffalo
  • Eld’s deer
  • Hog deer
  • Leopard
  • Fishing cat
  • Clouded leopard
  • Asiatic black bear
  • Dhole
  • Yellow cheeked gibbon
  • Black-shanked douc
  • Silver langur
  • Pygmy slow loris

Endangered Birds in Cambodia include:

  • Giant ibis
  • Green peafowl
  • White-shouldered ibis
  • Greater adjutant
  • Sarus crane
  • White-winged duck
  • Masked finfoot
  • Red-headed, Slender-billed, and White-rumped vultures

Explore Cambodia’s Jungles, Forests, Mountains, Waterfalls and Wildlife

When you are planning your trip to Cambodia, you’ll want to spend several days wandering through the temples in Siem Reap, sampling the street food on Pub Street and shopping at the local markets. See the impressive Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and walk along the Sisowath Quay.

All of these sites are fascinating and should be a part of every Cambodia itinerary. But carve out a couple of days (or more) in your travel plans to visit a Cambodian national park. Support the organizations that work to protect the parks and wildlife. Let the local people know that they can earn a living by caring for the parks, being good stewards of their natural resources, and proudly sharing them with their visitors. has a relationship with a number of companies mentioned on this website. may receive compensation if you click or make any bookings via the links on this website. However, there will be no added cost to you, to use these links. We only make recommendations from companies we have personal experience with.

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