Cambodia is well known for its friendly people, but there are not only human beings that you should meet during your stay: Make sure you don't miss the animals of Cambodia! Here are the most popular ones:
|Watching Birds in Preak Tuol
The Bird Sanctuary of Preak Tuol is one of several National Parks around Tonle Sap lake. One-day-trips by boat from Siem Reap can be arranged easily. Preak Tuol's vast aquatic riches contain Southeast Asia's only colony of spot-billed pelicans. It has the largest known flocks of oriental darter, painted stork and black-headed ibis in Southeast Asia. Twenty percent of the world's greater adjutant's storks live in Preak Tuol. It is the only known breeding area in the region for the milky stork.
|Riding Elephants in Angkor
Most tourists do the temple hopping in Angkor by car, bus, tuktuk or bicycle. However, in two areas of the archaeological site there is a big, grey alternative without wheels: In the mornings Elephant rides start at the South Gate of Angkor Thom and lead to the Bayon temple within 30 minutes. Before sunset the elephants will climb the steep slope of Phnom Bakheng hill to the top. Don't forget to tip your elephant with a bunch of bananas!
|Riding a Horse in Siem Reap
The Happy Ranch Horse Farm is located near the centre of Siem Reap, close to the rice fields and rural communities that are an integral part of the trail rides. The property stretches over 10 hectares and contains modern stable facilities and a dressage arena. The horses at the Happy Ranch are Cambodian ponies, that range in height from 130 to 150 cm at the withers. Due to the size of the horses there is a weight limit of 90 kilo per rider.
|Riding Elephants in Mondulkiri
Elephant trekkings can be arranged in the hills of Mondulkiri Province. They start from the village of Phulung, only 7 kilometers away from the provincial capital Sen Monorom. Another option is a visit to the Elephant Valley Project, part of the Elephants Livelihood Initiative Environment (E.L.I.E.). Trips start with a tour of the project before learning about the body language of elephants. Visitors are then given the chance to try a series of short rides to build their confidence.
|Watching Dolphins in Kratie
Don't miss your chance to cruise the Mekong and try to spot some of the last Irrawaddy Dolphins in the world. The Cambodian Department of Fisheries has drafted a Royal Decree for protection of the Dolphins in the Mekong River, which includes the designation of 8 protected areas in a 190 km segment of the river above Kratie. In 2005 the WWF established the Cambodian Mekong Dolphin Conservation Project with support from government and local communities.
|Counting Fish in Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville is well known for its beaches and islands, but make sure that you also discover the underwater world of the Gulf of Thailand. There are plenty of dive shops that can take you on their boats and supply everything you need. Two or three day trips are possible, but most of the diving is out and back in one day. Several foreign owned skuba diving and snorkeling companies are found here. Most have the PADI designation and offer training courses.
|Going to the Zoo
Cambodia's leading Zoological Garden is located 40 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. The Sun Bear exhibit, which displays the rare species in a natural hillside setting, is maintained with support from a grant from Australia. Meanwhile, other enclosures that house monkeys, tigers, crocodile, are somewhat more cramped. However, for local standards the zoo is surprisingly well stocked and maintained.
|Watching Monkeys in Phnom Penh
Around the base of Wat Phnom you will see a large colony of monkeys. Some of them are really big and fat, since many people donate food to them, that is sold on the spot for 2000 Riel. Be aware, that these are wild and sometimes dangerous animals who are eager to steal any kind of food from your pockets and backpacks! Watch them, but never touch them! Rather harmless are the huge fruit bats which hang around in the trees opposite Wat Phnom and fly off somewhere else at night.
|Travelling by Oxcart
In many villages of the country you will experience a taste of real Cambodian rural live, when visiting local beauty spots by oxcart. This traditional means of transport will take you to the rice fields, where you can enjoy the sunset, and to local villages, where Khmer noodle producers (numbanchok) and woodcarvers can be watched at work.
|Eating Spiders in Skuon
Are you brave enough to bite into a fried black tarantula with its eight big legs? On your way from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap or vice versa you will see this extravagant "snack" in the village of Skuon. In addition you wil see many kinds of fried bugs and other insects, ready to be eaten. However, you'd better safe your western stomack and take a picture only.