The Cardamom Mountains are a mountain range located in southwest Cambodia and eastern Thailand and covers the provinces including Kampot, Kep, Battambang, Sihanoukville, Koh Kong, Pursat, Kampong Speu and Pailin. It is one of the largest mountain areas and is home to Cambodia's vibrant ecosystem comprising of deep jungles, valleys, rivers, wildlife, marshlands, coastline. It inhabits hundreds of thousands of people depending on these.
Travelers exploring Cambodia can experience Cardamom mountains through one of the many wildlife conservation projects located in many cities, signing up for guided hikes in the region and also biking.
The Cardamom mountains were home to ancient Cambodia tribal life between the 15th and 17th century, confirmed by the remains including many porcelain jars, burial mounts and coffins. In the 19th century, due to the presence of the Khmer Rouge and also hundreds of landmines, the mountains remained inaccessible to the outside world. It was only after the government started establishing wildlife conservation projects clearing mines, tourism began to develop here.
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Wildlife sanctuaries - There are two wildlife sanctuaries, which were commissioned by King Nordok project in 1993. Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary located, which is located on the west side of the mountains. And the other is Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary on the eastern Cardamom mountains. Both of these are open for tourists to explore the wilderness.
National Parks - Preah Monivong National Park located in Kampot province is an ASEAN heritage park covering the western end of Cardamom mountains. Botum-Sakor National Park is located on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand and covers southwest of the Cardamom in the district of Botum. Southern Cardamom National Park is another noteworthy attraction for tourists located on the southern end.
Wildlife Conservation Projects - Chi Phat is the most popular of all the conservation projects in the Cardamom province, which takes about a day to visit. The Wild KK Project is another social enterprise in the Areng Valley, which focuses on preserving the ecosystem and wildlife.
The Cardamom Mountains are known for their rugged wilderness, but the regions between Koh Kong and Pursat provinces are the most secluded thick rainforests in Southeast Asia. The mountain spreads over a vast area of more than 4 million hectares, covering a large portion of South West Cambodia.
This land is home to hundreds of endangered species of wildlife, flora and birds. The highest mountain in Cambodia, Mount Aural is present in the region. Five main rivers run through the Cardamoms, which in turn has created dozens of waterfalls. Some of the wildlife that tourists can spot include elephants, leopards, Siamese crocodiles, gibbons, bears and tigers.