BIRDING SIEM REAP
We begin at the bird reserve of Prek Toal located on Tonle Sap Lake; this 22,000 hectare site is one of the largest breeding colonies of water birds in South East Asia. We also pay a visit to the Sarus Crane reserve in addition to being the home of the Sarus Crane there have been recorded sightings of 198 other bird species. The endangered Benhal Florican is next on the list with a trip to the grasslands around the Tonle Sap and the aid of an expert local guide. You will also get your first site of Cambodian temples in the form of Beng Melea and Koh Ker.
Day 1 Arrival: Siem Reap
You will be met at the airport in Siem Reap by a See Cambodia Differently representative, who will transfer you to your hotel before running through your trip details with you. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you wish.
Day 2 Bird Reserve of Prek Toal: Siem Reap
This morning we travel to the Tonle Sap, the largest natural lake in South East Asia. In the west corner of the lake you can find the Prek Toal core bird reserve, home to the largest breeding colonies of water birds in South East Asia. Covering 22,000 hectares of seasonally flooded forest it provides the perfect habitat for numerous species of water birds. The sanctuary harbours seven species of global conservation significance: Spotbilled Pelican, Milky and Painted Storks, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, Black‐headed Ibis and Oriental Darter and has a globally significant population of Grey‐ headed Fish Eagle. Our day begins early; we collect you from your hotel at around 05:30 and travel to Chong Khneas, a port on the Tonle Sap Lake. We transfer to a boat and continue to Prek Toal, the journey we take depends on the season and conditions but we will moor for breakfast at the edge of the primary forest lining. We continue into the reserve and have the choice with regards to lunch, a packed lunch can be provided so you can spend more time in the reserve or if you would prefer we can stop for a Khmer lunch in a floating house back in the village. We then spend the afternoon exploring the Prek Toal reserve in traditional paddle boats, before returning to Siem Reap.
Day 3 Sarus Crane Reserve at Ang Trapaeng Thmor
Originally a reservoir built using slave labour during the Khmer Rouge regime, the reservoir has evolved past its dark past into the Sarus Crane reserve. Which is home to over 300 of these magnificent birds with a further 198 recorded bird species on site, 18 of which are globally threatened. Black‐necked Storks frequent the site along with many of the large water birds seen at Prek Toal; Black‐headed Ibis, Milky and Painted Storks, Spot‐billed Pelicans, Oriental Darters, Asian Openbills and Greater and Lesser Adjutants. We spend the day here watching the various Cambodian birds and lunch will again be provided, we then return to Siem Reap where the evening is yours to enjoy as you wish.
Day 4 - 5 Tmatboey via the Florican Grasslands
Today we leave Siem Reap for Tmatboey where we spend the next two nights, on the way to Tmatboey we stop at the grasslands which surround the Tonle Sap Lake. These grasslands are home to many Cambodian birds but the one we are most interested in finding today is the endangered Bengal Florican. We split up the birding and explore Beng Melea and Koh Ker two great Cambodian temples. We then continue to the Tmatboey Ibis site, one of only two know nesting sites in Asia for the Giant Ibis. Spending the night in Tmatboey we rise early at around 4am and venture to an Ibis site and conservation project; which is home to one of two known nesting sites in Asia for the Giant Ibis amongst other species of birds including: White‐shouldered Ibis, Woolly‐necked Stork, Greater‐spotted Eagle, Grey‐headed Fish Eagle and White‐rumped Falcon. After returning to Tmatboey for breakfast at around 9am the rest of the day depends on the conditions with your guide advising of the best site to get the most out of the day.
Day 6 Tmatboey to Siem Reap
Today we spend a final morning bird watching in the forest around Tmatboey before return to Siem Reap. You then have a free afternoon to explore the city under your own steam.
Day 7 Birding and Angkor Temples
Today we usually try to balance the day between the Cambodian birds and the Angkor temples . However if you would rather focus on one area this can also be arranged, or we can do a mixture of the two. The Angkor temples are a fantastic site and hopefully the time spent at Beng Melea and Koh Ker temples will have wetted your appetite for the Angkor Archaeological site. There are also a lot of Cambodian birds that can be found in the Park including: Oriental Darter around the moat, Hainan Blue, Taiga and Asian Brown Flycatchers, White-throated Rock-Thrush, Black Baza, Blue Rock Thrush, Forest Wagtails, Olive-backed Pipit, Greater Racquet-tailed Drongos, Asian Barred Owlets Coppersmith Barbet, Ashy Minivet, Yellow-browed and Pale-legged Leaf-Warbler, raucous Red-breasted and Alexandrine Parakeets and White-crested Laughing thrushes. We will spend a full day here watching a beautiful sunset amongst the temples before returning to Siem Reap.
Day 8 Phnom Kulen, ACCB and Banteay Srei
After breakfast we venture to Phnom Kulen situated 50 kilometres north of Siem Reap, which is a range of hills rising 400 metres high. The hills are home to some original dry dipteropcarp forest (DDF) and a variety of Cambodian birds have been seen here and the surrounding hill. In the past we have spotted: 7 species of woodpecker; Common and Greater Flameback, Greater Yellownape, Heart-spotted, Black-headed and Great Slaty Woodpecker, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker. Rufous-winged Buzzard, Rufous-bellied, Crested-serpent and Changeable-hawk Eagle, Black Baza, Asian-barred and Spotted Owlet plus many orioles, bulbuls, warblers, babblers and sunbirds. We continue to the river where we can see the Lingas (phallic symbols) in the river. These were believed to have given the land fertility and a bountiful fish harvest in the Tonle Sap Lake which is where the river runs into. We then continue to the nearby Angkor Centre for Conservation and Biodiversity (ACCB) which rescues and provides shelter for Cambodian wildlife that has been illegally hunted with the aiming of returning it to the wild. We stop for lunch in a local restaurant before our temple climax of Banteay Srei, a Cambodian temple with some splendid carvings rivalling any of those we saw at the Angkor temples yesterday. We then return to Siem Reap, where you can spend the evening as you wish.
Day 9 Departure: Siem Reap
Depending on your flight time you may have some free time this morning to spend as you wish. We will pick you up from your hotel to transfer you to the airport in plenty of time before your flight departs
Price per person sharing: 2159 GBP (subject to change and availability)
Airport pick up and drop off
Overnights as mentioned
Excursions as mentioned
Transportation in private A/C vehicle
English speaking guide
Meals as mentioned (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner – excludes drinks)
Does not include:
All international flights and visa fees, currently $30 per person
International airport tax (Included in Airline Ticket)
Meals, unless mentioned differently
Beverages and personal expenses
Other excursions and entrance fees
Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation and evacuation in the event of accident of illness)