Things to bring and what to wear
Most SVC trips occur in the cool dry season from December to March. This is the best time to visit Cambodia when the daytime temperatures are in the low thirties and the heat is dry. Nighttime temperatures are typically in the low twenties though occasionally a cold snap will drop to 13 or 14. By the end of February to the beginning of March, the temperature starts to climb both day and nighttime, reaching a peak in April – May.
Loose natural cloth clothing (with a hat) is most comfortable giving protection from the sun and mosquitoes. Most things are available in Siem Reap usually cheaper than in Europe or America, but if your schedule allows little time, the usual items for hot country countryside will help make your trip enjoyable; sun cream, mosquito repellent, a torch and earplugs.
Hiking boots which give ankle protection against the small risk of snakebites are recommended for the forest walks.
Bird watching and habitats
Bird and wildlife watching in Cambodia is as unique and varied as its habitats and species, with some experiences you are unlikely to encounter anywhere else in the world, such as birding around remote pre-Angkorian temples. During the course your trip you can encounter a wide range of habitats:
- ATT – marsh, dry paddy, grassland and lake.
- Prek Toal – Semi submerged forest, flooded scrub and open lake.
- Florican Grasslands – Natural grassland and paddy on floodplain.
- Tmatboey – Deciduous dry dipteropcarp forest (DDF).
- Okoki and Vulture Restaurant – DDF with pockets of mixed evergreen and forest trapaeng (pools).
- Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary – Southern Annamitic forest of mixed evergreen, DDF and bamboo.
- Kratie – Riverine habitat. Bird watching is from the car, by boat and on foot.
We will consult with you through the course of your booking process and where possible meet with you before you leave on your trip to find out exactly where your interests lay – from target species, to level of physical capability and level of experience – and design your trip based on your needs. All tours will require some degree of walking – but again, we will be mindful of your wellbeing at all times.
SVC has a number of spotting scopes plus binoculars to hire, which it will try to allocate if the group has not brought their own; however in peak season binoculars may be in short supply.
Health & Insurance
Necessary immunizations should be discussed with your own Doctor, travel advisory or looked up on here which is regularly updated. Malaria is present in the forests where we visit and dengue fever occurs in the cities, though is much less prevalent during the dry season but long sleeves/pants and bug spray are a must. Stomach upset and diarrhea are the most common health problems for travelers so traveling with Imodium or similar is generally a good idea. In general, well-cooked and cleaned food will be provided, minimizing your risk. The provision of emergency medicine, while improving is still limited and in case of serious accidents, illness or snakebites it maybe necessary for you to be airlifted out of the country, you must have health insurance to cover this eventuality.
A little overview of traveling in Cambodia
Cambodia is a developing country with a limited though rapidly changing infrastructure, which together with the incredible seasonal changes, as exemplified most graphically by the Tonle Sap Lake, means that schedules have to have a degree of flexibility. The rapid pace of development means that Cambodia will change irrevocably over the coming period and the next few years maybe the last chance to catch a country that is an anomaly in the 21st century.
SVC’s itineraries take in the WCS Conservation sites across Cambodia because of its partnership with WCS. This gives SVC exclusive access to environmentally sensitive areas of special biodiversity. These sites by their very nature are often in remote areas where local communities have limited exposure to other Cambodians let alone foreigners. This cultural gap is bridged by the multi lingual SVC Guide but sometimes what seems like the simplest task can become very complicated, so please have patience.
A Few Quick Tips
Amazing Cambodia – travel overview and get inspired
Responsible Travel in Cambodia
Grantourismo – Making travel more meaningful & memorable
Eating and drinking in Siem Reap
Grantourismo – Making travel more meaningful & memorable
rustycompass – travel in the real world
Find out more about wildlife and conservation in Cambodia and beyond
A Cambodian Nature Film
Keep abreast of sightings around the country from nature enthusiasts: Natural Vambodia
Banteay Sreyi – More than a temple
IUCN Red List
Darwin Initiative (PDF)
Cambodia’s Protected Areas
Tonle Sap Waterbirds and Floating Villages
Tonle Sap is the largest natural lake in Southeast Asia, increasing in area by up to 25% annually as the floodwaters of the Mekong River cause the Tonle Sap river to flow backwards and fill the lake...
Cambodia is the last stronghold of a set of magnificent birds that are now so globally rare they are considered Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. This tour is a superb opportunity ...
FACTS & STORIES All articles
Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation is proud and excited to be working with Swarovski Optik Nature, as Official Optics Partners, a relationship forged in recognition of our world-class guide team and efforts in wildlife conservation. Swarovski Optik Nature...read more
Deep in the remote dry forests of the Northern Plains of Cambodia, near the Lao border, lies the now legendary birding site of Okoki in the Chhep Wildlife Sanctuary. The Okoki River is one of the few sites left in Cambodia to find the endangered and elusive...read more
Fancy tracking Endangered Yellow-cheeked Crested Gibbons and Black-shanked Douc Langur through the forests of Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary with expert SVC and local indigenous Bunong guides? Find out a little more about the success of WCS Cambodia gibbon habituation...read more
In the last two years alone, Cambodian wildlife conservation and ecotourism organisation Sam Veasna Center have delivered. Keyfacts In the last two years alone we have achieved $89,500 in earnings for the communities $29,000 in Community Conservation Contributions -...read more