Best bird watching in Cambodia

Cambodia’s reputation for being one of Asia’s emerging stars is fuelled by an ever expanding selection of upscale hotels, which complement the rich cultural heritage and pristine islands. The fact that it is one of Southeast Asia’s best destinations for  bird watching (and wildlife) is often overlooked. Whether you have a casual interest, or are an avid twitcher, it is easy to combine some birding whilst exploring Cambodia’s many charms, so we have compiled an overview of the best birding sites.

Cambodia’s prime wildlife zone is in the diverse habitat of the Seima Protected forest in the eastern province of Mondulkiri. Staying at the Jahoo Gibbon Camp provides your best chance to spot some of the rarest bird species prevalent in this area, which include Germains Peacock Pheasant, Green Peafowl, Siamese Fireback and Orange-necked Partidge.

To include birding with the Southern Islands, we  recommend staying in Kampot and taking a day trip to nearby Bokor Hill Station. The stunted mountain forest on top of this escarpment is a habitat for partridges, broadbills, hornbills, the Indochinese Green Magpie.

Birding is also good along the Mekong north of Kratie, where the riverine forest supports many nesting birds including terns, waders and swallows. Birding along the Mekong can easily be combined with our Kayaking with Mekong Dolphins experience.

There are several birding sites which are accessible on day trips from Siem Reap, notably Prek Toal on the northeastern shore of Lake Tonle Sap, a vast area of natural flooded forest that draws thousands of birds annually to breed during the dry season which include pelicans, storks, ibis and fish eagles. Another popular day trip is to the temples of Koh Ker and Beng Mealea, which are set in dry deciduous and semi-evergreen forest and offer the chance to see woodpeckers, buzzards, bush larks and the pygmy-falcon. Ang Trapaeng Thmor is a reservoir conveniently located between Siem Reap and Battambang, that attracts Sarus Cranes in the dry season (December to May), along with storks, eagles and the Oriental Plover.