BIRD ROUTES Phnom Kulem, Kbal Spean, ACCB and Banteay Srei

 Black-headed woodpecker © Martin Hale

The Northern Plains of Cambodia was likened to the Serengeti in Africa with herds of wild deer and cattle chased through the open forests by wild cats. Patches of this forest can still be found around Phnom Kulen, a small national park about 50km North of Siem Reap. Much of the forest has been degraded but there are protected areas where bird life is abundant.

Phnom Kulen is the source of the Siem Reap River, which flows into the Tonle Sap Lake. Angkorian lingas or phallic symbols were carved into the riverbed at Kbal Spean to ensure the fertility of the lake and the potency of the King.


Oriental Pied Hornbill © Eleanor Briggs

Angkor Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (ACCB) is located at Kbal Spean. The Center rescues illegally hunted birds and animals, providing a refuge until they can be returned to the wild. Cambodian wildlife is understandably shy and ACCB gives you a chance of seeing native animals and birds.

Banteay Srei or Citadel of Beauty is located between Phnom Kulen and Siem Reap. It was built in the 10 century by the King’s Counsellor or guru, the temple is on a miniature scale and the near total decoration of its surfaces is exceptional.

Kbal Spean Lingas © Nick Butler

Temple carving Banteay Srei © Nick Butler