Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary
Covering most of Preah Vihear Province in the remote northern plains, Kulen Promtep is a haven for rare birds, and one of the few remaining places to see the endangered giant ibis — Cambodia’s national bird.
If you’re of the ornithological persuasion, you're going to love Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. Though the better-known Tonlé Sap Lake draws more casual birdwatchers for its huge colony of water birds, those looking for a wilder experience had better head off the tourist trail.
Covering most of Preah Vihear Province, Kulen Promtep encompasses dry dipterocarp forests, evergreen forests, freshwater wetlands and grasslands, making it a veritable haven for all manner of rare birds. 150 different species have been spotted in the region, and in addition to the giant ibis, you might see the sarus crane, rufous-winged buzzard, gray-headed fish-eagle, and various species of woodpecker — to mention just a few.
This is a remote and rural part of Cambodia where most of the local people still depend on resin-tapping, fishing and farming to survive, and one of the great joys of any visit is the chance to experience these traditional lifestyles. Thanks to several great conservation organizations working in the area this is easier than ever, and you can now stay in an ecolodge on the edge of an Angkorian baray (reservoir), head out with a local fisherman to learn about traditional fishing techniques, or even take a guided cycle tour to 800-year-old ruins hidden in the jungle.