Known as the Kingdom of Wonder, Cambodia is home to some incredible history but also unbelievable natural beauty. From seemingly endless rice fields to gorgeous waterfalls and ancient temples hidden away in the jungle, Cambodia offers a range of exceptional experiences for hiking and trekking enthusiasts.
A crash course in Cambodia’s geography
Cambodia’s most notable geographical features are the central floodplains, the eastern highlands, the southern and northern mountain ranges, and last but not least, the coast and its many islands. Each area holds a lot of mysteries, natural wonders, and great hikes.
The central floodplains are home to the world-famous Angkor Archeological Park, a vast area crisscrossed by jungle paths and trails. The Eastern Highlands feature some pristine jungles and rare and endemic wildlife.
The southern mountains comprise the Cardamon Mountains and the Elephant Mountains. This region of Cambodia is still quite remote and one of the most species-rich areas in the country. The northern mountains comprise the Amenity Range – home to some 30 ethnic minorities – and the Dangrek Mountains, that mark the boundary between Cambodia and Thailand.
Following this quick introduction to Cambodia’s geography, here are some of our favorite hikes and trekking experiences in the Kingdom of Wonder. Unlike its neighbors, Cambodia is not so well known for its hiking trails, but that’s about to change…
Angkor and Phnom Kulen multi-day adventure
First on our list of exceptional hikes in Cambodia is Angkor and nearby Phnom Kulen, the cradle of the Khmer Empire. Easia Active has a wide range of products covering this area, including soft hike modules, homestays, and other experiences located in and around the temples of Angkor.
The Angkor Archeological Park can be visited in many ways. While leisure-focused travelers will prefer to take a tuk-tuk, car, or bus to explore the temples, more adventurous ones can choose between cycling and walking, both equally rewarding and unlock a side of the park hidden from motorized visitors.
Easia Active has created three hiking experiences around the park that take Travelers in and out of the forest to visit remote temples. But that’s not it. Some 50 kilometers away is Kulen National Park, home to the eponymous mountain – Phnom Kulen – and beautiful vistas, an imposing waterfall, and ancient sites.
Over the years, we’ve been able to perfect multi-day trips in and around Siem Reap for travelers passionate about walking and hiking.
Our suggestion for the best experience is as follows:
- Spend a day walking the trails of Angkor Archeological Park to see a side of this UNESCO World Heritage site many people don’t get to see.
- We recommend adding a monk blessing experience to a local pagoda for those seeking to immerse themselves in local culture.
- Head to Kulen National Park to explore the cradle of the Khmer empire and spend the night in a local homestay.
Day 4: Phnom Kulen trekking and return to Siem Reap
- Discover the ancient and natural sites of Kulen National Park
Day 5: Fly out to the next adventure 😉
Cambodia off the beaten track
Easia Active aims to promote less touristy areas to spread tourism’s positive impact and support local communities across Cambodia. This has driven us to develop a fascinating module in eastern Cambodia that starts along the Mekong in Kratie and into Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri. These two provinces are too often overlooked when planning a trip to the Kingdom of Wonder.
Here is our recommendation for a hiking-lovers ideal module in Eastern Cambodia:
Day 1: Transfer from Phnom Penh to Kratie and onto Koh Trong island by boat.
- An opportunity for travelers to immerse themselves in the local community by exploring the island on foot and spending the night in a local homestay.
Day 2: Wake up early for a kayaking excursion on the Mekong River to try and spot the elusive Mekong dolphin, then transfer by car to Mondulkiri.
- The Mekong Dolphin is an endangered species, and a kayak is the best and most sustainable way to get a chance to see them.
Day 3: Mondulkiri – hiking experience in the jungle or EVP Elephant sanctuary
- The Elephant Valley Project is a reserve and retirement home focused on rescuing and rehabilitating Cambodian elephants from a lifetime of struggle and abuse.
Day 4: Transfer by car to Ratanakiri and enjoy a walk around the Lake Yeak Laom
- An opportunity to explore a volcanic lake, and why not, go for a swim!
- Visit a village tribe in a remote area outside Ban Lung using different means of local transport and enjoy interaction with the villagers.
Travelers can then continue their journey, visit the gorgeous Preah Vihear temple, and connect with the Siem Reap module described above.
The Cardamom Mountains
For a long time, the Cardamon Mountains were a hard-to-reach and isolated region of Cambodia. Thankfully, the last few years have seen this remote region develop, and new roads mean that travelers can finally access one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting jungles.
For those interested in venturing off the beaten path, we’ve put together this short 4-day module in collaboration with the Chi Phat Community.
Day 1: Transfer to Chi Phat from Phnom Penh
- After taking a long-tail boat up the river, meet with the community leader and learn about the Chi Phat ecotourism community project.
Day 2: Chi Phat Jungle Experience – Part 1
- Get ready to venture into the jungle for trekking, forest cooking, and a night in a hammock.
Day 3: Chi Phat Jungle Experience – Part 2
- After a night in the jungle, it’s time for a more challenging 17-kilometer trek to reach the gorgeous Chhay Khpuos Waterfall.
Day 4: Last day in Chi Phat
- Wake up early to explore the Chi Phat community before heading
This adventure stands out as it provides more than just an exciting trekking experience; it also supports a valuable, sustainable project: the Chi Phat Community-based ecotourism project created to protect the Cardamom forests.
For people with fewer adventures or families looking for a more comfortable Jungle experience, we suggest looking into our Cardamom Tented Camp experience. This eco-friendly, safari-style tented camp is located along the Butom Sakor River, an excellent opportunity to connect with nature and relax in eco-friendly accommodation. This tented camp can also be combined with another fantastic Glamping experience, the Canvas & Orchids Retreat.
When considering the Kingdom of Wonder as a trekking destination, it’s important to remember that there is more to it than meets the eye. Cambodia is emerging as an exciting active destination where travelers can enjoy countless adventures that marry nature, history, and culture.