Birding Cambodia 10D9N


Bird watching enthusiasts will find much to twitch about in Cambodia with a number of key sites to enjoy their passion. We begin our 10-day birding tour with an introduction to the temples of Angkor, followed by a visit to observe the colonies of large water birds at Prek Toal, an area unmatched throughout Southeast Asia for the number of endangered water birds it supports. We then head north for a day on the wetlands of Ang Trapeang Thmor, the home of around 300 Sarus Crane at breeding season and more than 200 species of other birds. We then combine bird watching with the forest temples of Beng Mealea and Koh Ker. A right turn onto a paved road will lead towards the most beautiful floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kampong Pluk and kampong Khleang.

In Brief

✦ Day 1: Arrival Siem Reap
✦ Day 2: Ta Prohm for Dawn. Visit Banteay Srei and Preah Khan
✦ Day 3: Birding Tour to Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary
✦ Day 4: Angkor Wat. Angkor Thom
✦ Day 5: Visit Ang Trapeang Thmor Crane Reserve
✦ Day 6: Beng Mealea and Koh Ker
✦ Day 7: Kbal Spean. Free Afternoon
✦ Day 8: Visit Roluos group. Kompong Phluk
✦ Day 9: Kompong Khleang Floating Village
✦ Day 10: Departure.


✦  Day 1: Arrive Siem Reap

Upon arrival Siem Reap airport, you will be warmly welcome by one of our professional tour guide who will bring you to check in hotel. Afternoon is free at leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap

  Day 2: Ta Prohm for Dawn. Visit Banteay Srei and Preah Khan {B}

We rise early to travel to Ta Prohm in the dawn light. Ta Prohm has been abandoned to the elements, left as it was  discovered by French explorer Henri Mouhot in 1860, the tentacle-like tree roots here are slowly strangling the surviving stones. After soaking up the unique atmosphere of Ta Prohm, we head to Banteay Srei, Angkor Is ultimate art gallery. This petite pink temple is the jewel in the crown of Angkor-era sculpture. In the afternoon, we travel to the mighty temple of Preah Khan or ‘Sacred Sword’, built by King Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century. Sister temple to Ta Prohm, the cruciform corridors here are impressive and there are some wonderful carvings adorning the walls, including the spectacular hall of dancers. We then continue on to the elegant curves of Neak Poan. This petite temple is the ultimate ornamental fountain, its series of elaborate spouts including the heads of lions and elephants. We finish by experiencing sunset over the

rice fields from the royal crematorium of Pre Rup, a classic view of the Cambodian countryside. Overnight in Siem Reap

✦  Day 3: Birding Tour to Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary

05:30   Pickup from your hotel by an English speaking guide and travel to Chong Khneas.
06:00   Board the boat to take us across the great Tonle Sap Lake to Prek Toal, with breakfast and a full briefing from the guide on the way.
07:30  At Prek Toal we will pick up a ranger for the boat trip into the core bird reserve flooded forest.
09:00 Arrive at the treetop observation platform opposite the bird colonies to view the panorama of the flooded forest reserve and teeming birdlife.
11:30  Arrive back at Prek Toal and have lunch in a floating house.
13:00  Paddle boat tour of the floating village.
15:00  Return boat trip to Siem Reap, arriving back at your hotel around 17:00. Overnight in Siem Reap

✦  Day 4: Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

Rising at the crack of dawn, we journey out to the Mother of all temples, Angkor Wat. Believed to be the world’s largest religious building, this temple was built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II. We stay at Angkor Wat to enjoy a catered breakfast before venturing into the temple to enjoy its magnificence in peace and quiet. We begin by unraveling the mysteries of the bas-reliefs that tell of tales from Hindu mythology and of the glories of the Khmer Empire. In the afternoon, we visit the immense walled city Angkor Thom that was the masterpiece of King Jayavarman VII from 1181 beginning at the staggering South Gate. We continue our visit at the Terrace of the Leper King, followed by the Terrace of Elephants and the extensive renovations at the Baphuon. Our climax is the enigmatic and enchanting temple of the Bayon. At the exact centre of Angkor Thom, this is an eccentric expression of the creative genius and inflated ego of Cambodia Is most celebrated king. Its 54 towers are each topped off with the four faces of Avalokiteshvara which bear more than a passing resemblance to the king himself. Overnight in Siem Reap.

✦ Day 5: Visit Ang Trapeang Thmor Crane Reserve 

05:30  Pickup at your hotel by an English-speaking guide for the 90 minute trip to ATT, with breakfast provided on the way and stops for interesting wildlife
07:30  Arrive at Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) ATT station, briefing with the local guide
08:00  Bird watching around the reservoir
11:00  Visit Phnom Srok village and see unique silk items being created
12:00  Lunch at the WCS station
13:00 Exploring further bird sites including Dry Deciduous Forest, home of Eld’s Deer
17:00 Return to your hotel in Siem Reap. Overnight in Siem Reap

✦ Day 6: Beng Mealea and Koh Ker 

We travel to the lost temple of Beng Mealea, the titanic of temples, a slumbering giant lost for centuries in the forests of Cambodia. It is the most accessible of Angkor is lost temples, a mirror image of Angkor Wat, but utterly consumed by the voracious appetite of nature. Constructed by Suryavarman II (1113-1150), the builder of Angkor Wat, the forest has run riot here and it is hard to get a sense of the monument Is shape amid the daunting ruins. We then head into the bush to the remote Angkor capital of Koh Ker. The history of Cambodia is riven with dynastic spats and political intrigue and one of the most memorable came in the 10th century when Jayavarman IV (928-942) fell out with his family, stormed off to the northwest and established the rival capital of Koh Ker. Although the capital for just 15 years, Jayavarman IV was determined to legitimize his rule through a prolific building program that left a legacy of 30 major temples and some gargantuan sculpture that is on display in the National Museum in Phnom Penh. Overnight in Siem Reap

✦ Day 7: Kbal Spean and Free in afternoon 

We journey north to Kbal Spean. The original River of a Thousand Lingas,  Kbal Spean is an intricately carved riverbed deep in the foothills of the Cambodian jungle. The river flows down to the Tonle Sap Lake, and in ancient times its holy waters breathed life into the rice fields of the empire via the most complex irrigation system the world had ever seen. The Khmers venerated its limestone bed with a riot of carvings, including the delicate deities Vishnu and Shiva with their consorts. Lingams are phallic representations sacred to Hindus as fertility symbols and hundreds, perhaps thousands, are carved into the bedrock here. The carvings were only rediscovered in 1969 when French researcher Jean Boulbet was shown the river by a local hermit. Afternoon is free at leisure. Overnight in Siem Reap.

✦ Day 8: Reluos Group and Kompong Pluk 

We travel back in time to one of the earliest capitals in the Angkor area, Hariharilaya, now known as Roluos. We begin with a visit to the brick temple of Lolei, originally set on an island in the Centre of the Indratataka baray (reservoir). This temple has some well-preserved sandstone carvings and the vast stone doors are carved from a single piece of stone. We continue to Preah Ko (sacred cow), named in honour of Shiva is mount, Nandin. Finally, we encounter Bakong, the earliest of the Temple Mountains, which later became the signature of Khmer kings. We travel to Kompong Pluk and board small wooden boats for the trip to visit Kompong Pluk. Cruising down a narrow waterway, we enter this medieval floating village, where the houses stand atop stilts as much as seven metres above the water. Everything lives on the water, pigs, dogs, crocodiles and people, all jockeying for space in this incredible floating town. We explore the local wat here, as well as some of the traditional Khmer houses on stilts. There is also the opportunity to stop a local floating caf or restaurant amid the flooded forest. Overnight in Siem Reap

✦  Day 9: Kompong Khleang Floating Village

We travel southeast to one of the largest and least-visited villages on the Tonle Sap Lake, Kompong Khleang, about 55km from Siem Reap. It has a population of about 10,000 people, all of whom make a living from the fishing industry. We explore the canals (wet season) or streets (dry season) of this incredible town. In the wet season, the houses appear to be floating, as water laps at the verandas, but in the dry season towering stilts are revealed, the houses almost like wooden skyscrapers. We visit one of the pagodas here, built on the site of an ancient temple, and see the wall paintings. We may also stop off to visit a house in the village to learn a little more about local life. We cruise into the open water of the great lake to see a small floating village and learn some more about this incredible natural flood barrier. Later we return to Siem Reap by road. Overnight in Siem Reap

✦  Day 10: Departure.

Free at leisure until transfer to the airport for departure flight

Whats In:
✦ All sightseeing and transfer services as detailed in our itinerary
✦ Accommodation in confirmed room category and named hotels
✦ Meals: daily breakfast at hotel only or as specified (drinks not included)
English-speaking local guides (or the relevant language requested)
✦ All entrance fees as detailed in our itinerary
✦ Private air-conditioned vehicle with drinking water during sightseeing
✦ Boat trips as specified

What is Not:
✦ Tour services not detailed in our itinerary
✦ All meals not specified and no drinks except complimentary water
✦ International departure taxes
✦ Visa fees
✦ All International flight tickets
✦ Overweight luggage
✦ Early Hotel check-in/ Late check-out
✦ Expenditure of a personal nature
✦ Tips and gratuities
✦ Other services not listed in What is In
Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expense, including repatriation in the event of accident or illness).

Tour Code:Tour Code: 2WT-MA-6D5N

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