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11 Days Guided Bird Watching Safari in Cambodia

Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort, Street 27, Wat Bo Village, Sala Kamreuk, Siem Reap, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

All Inclusive Cambodia Safari

Cambodia Bird Guide Association invites you to join them in the discovery of critically endangered bird species in Cambodia! Go birdwatching with the best and professional local bird guides who have been leading birdwatching trips for almost 10 years. This birding tour will let you explore places like Siem Reap Angkor Wat, Prek Toal, Okoki, and experience walking from one protected forest to the other to enjoy the birds living in their natural habitat. You will also have a chance to spot Bengal florican, large waterbirds, ibises, woodpeckers, and more during your exploration with the guide. This complete safari tour allows you to just enjoy the day spotting birds and the abundant nature of Cambodia has to offer.

Meet the guides

Sophoan
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Highlights

  • Birding at florican grassland
  • Birding at Tmatboey, Okoki, and Boeng Toal
  • Spot large waterbirds, Bengal florican, and pale-capped pigeon
  • Discover the giant and white-shouldered ibis
  • Experience Vulture Restaurant program
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 10 nights' accommodation
  • Transportation

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Styles


11 activity days
The maximum participants in the group is 8
Airport transfer included: Siem Reap International Airport
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Accommodation

You will be accommodated at Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort, Tmatboey eco-lodge, Okoki safari-style tent, Boeng Toal safari-style tent, and Mekong Dolphin Hotel.

Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort

Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort is conveniently located in the heart of Siem Reap in a quiet residential area within walking distance of the business and the shopping district. Many restaurants are also close by and the Old Market is only five minutes away and at a reasonable price.

Tmatboey eco-lodge

The accommodation at Tmatboey is basic. The lodge is comprised of a central recreational building and five surrounding bungalows, each with two twin en-suite rooms with solar-powered electricity. The team used bamboo and all of its glory. It was put on the side facades and the roof of the building. The modern styled, overhanging roof naturally ventilates the whole space. Another material was a bit of earth, yes, dirt!

The team scoured the community for some recycled plastic bottles, used to help make the stairs out front. The swinging windows are an essential design feature. Built with timber, it allows the space to open up for the outside environment to become more merged with the interior. It’s a pretty sweet view from your window.

Okoki safari-style tent

Since Okoki is a remote area, the only accommodation available is camping on safari style tents, set up by the local community of Dangphlet among the tall trees. The local villagers are one of the main stakeholders in the bird-conservation, assisting as service team for cooking and local guiding too.

Boeng Toal safari-style tent

Safari style tents will be set up for the night at Boeng Toal camp by the Dong Plat ecotourism community.

Mekong Dolphin Hotel

Mekong Dolphin Hotel in Kratié, which is one of four provinces in the northeastern extreme of Cambodia, is one of the best places to visit for observing the rare Mekong river dolphins. The hotel has a large and very beautiful building with a nice view of the river, a good location, and environment. This three-star hotel is located along the road Preah Soramarith of Mekong river.

Here, at the newly created Mekong Dolphin Hotel in Kratié province, the hotel offers in-room dining, with the menu available in the room for your convenience, each is tasteful and decorated. The hotel also provides all comforts expected from an accommodation, from the booking, steam and sauna service, and a gym.

Program

Day 1: Arrival in Siem Reap and welcome dinner

You will start the Cambodia tour with the greeting by Cambodia Bird Guide Association's (CBGA) guide upon your arrival in Siem Reap International Airport (REP) and transfer to Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort for three nights stay. First, have a welcome dinner in Siem Reap at CBGA office, with a presentation by CBGA guide and the team about the tour itinerary, situation for the sites, and about CBGA works / projects.

  • Night in Siem Reap - Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort
  • Meals: Dinner

Day 2: The wonder of Angkor and first birding

Although this is a birding tour, in the beginning, CBGA would like to show you one of the most fabulous places in the world, Angkor. According to the latest explorations with the help of LIDAR, Angkor was between 1100 and 1300, one of the greatest cities worldwide with a population of about a million. To be exactly one has to speak of a couple of cities, each one built by a specific Khmer king with its main temple serving as the burial place of the ruler. CBGA will try their best to give you a general view of the most important places, but please expect to find thousands of tourists here.

You will start from the famous sunrise at Angkor Wat, a place built by King Suryavarman II. After visiting here, continue to Angkor Thom with the impressive “face-towers”, thought by most scholars depicting King Jayawarman VII, and continue to Ta Phrom, where trees are still growing out of the ruins. Late afternoon, you will start birding at the remote and seldom visited Preah Khan, surrounded by the jungle with good chances of observing white-throated rock thrush, black-capped kingfisher, black baza, Alexandrine and red-breasted parakeet, Hainan blue and taiga flycatchers.

  • Night in Siem Reap - Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Prek Toal for the large waterbird colonies

Today, CBGA will take you on to their boat excursion to Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary where you will see the largest waterbird colonies in Southeast Asia, the flooded forest, and the floating village. You will leave Siem Reap at 05:30 with car transfer to the pier for the boat trip to Prek Toal village. Enjoy packed breakfast on the boat halfway on the Tonlé Sap great lake.

You will arrive at Prek Toal information center, transfer into community boat, and continue to bird sanctuary in the core reserve. Later, you travel back to Prek Toal village for lunch at Saray Community Restaurant, located on the floating platform. After lunch, you will visit the village for a little bit before travel back to the pier and arrive in Siem Reap around 16:00.

The sanctuary harbors seven species of waterbirds of global significance such as spot-billed pelican, milky stork, painted stork, lesser adjutant, greater adjutant, black-headed ibis, and oriental darter. There is a globally significant population of the grey-headed fish eagle. Over 150 species have been recorded in the reserve.

The Prek Toal area consists of seasonally inundated freshwater swamp forest with a high botanical diversity. Short tree shrub makes up most of the landscape, forming a dense understory with scattered large trees, which form the vital nesting ground for large waterbirds. Prek Toal is unmatched throughout Southeast Asia for the number and populations of endangered waterbirds it supports through the dry season. Large flocks of whiskered tern, cormorants, storks, and pelicans are almost guaranteed from January to May, along with herons, egrets, and terns.

  • Night in Siem Reap - Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Siem Reap to the pier by car - 45 minutes
  • The pier to Prek Toal floating village (information center) - 1 hour to 1.5 hours depends on the season
  • Prek Toal village to the bird sanctuary - 40 minutes to 90 minutes depends on the season

Day 4: Florican grassland and Tmatboey ibis village

This morning, you will check out from Siem Reap hotel and leave as early as usual at 05:30. Heading east along the National Road Number 6 with approximately two-hour drive, you will arrive at the florican grassland where you will spend couple hours looking for the critically endangered Bengal florican and other grassland species.

This so-called Bengal Florican Conservation Areas (BFCAs) is the great inundated grassland which is protected and managed for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use by local communities. The conservation areas mainly contain grassland dominant landscapes, which are now extremely rare in Southeast Asia and have been disappearing rapidly in Cambodia in recent years. The target species at this site are Bengal florican, the rare wintering Manchurian reed warbler, raptors including the greater spotted eagle and imperial eagle, pied harrier and eastern marsh-harrier, Siberian Rubythroat, and small buttonquail.

After visiting the florican grasslands, you will travel toward Tmatbeoy village passing Beng Mealea and Koh Ker temples. If time allows, you will break the journey with some birding at these temples. The group will have lunch en route at Beng Mealea, arriving at Tmatboey eco-lodge about 15:00 in time for the first afternoon birding near the lodge, with a short walk through the open forest to where the white-shouldered ibis come to roost at sunset.

Tmatboey is a remote village of 314 families situated in the Northern Plains of Cambodia, within the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. Tmatbeoy is the most significant ground for the two critically endangered giant and white-shouldered ibises. The conservation project was set up by the Cambodian Government (ministry of environment), conservation NGOs, and Tmatboey village.

  • Night in Tmatboey - Tmatboey Eco-lodge
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Siem Reap to florican grassland - 85 kilometers, 2 hours
  • Florican grassland to Tmatboey - 200 kilometers, 3.5 hours

Day 5: Tmatboey for the giant and white-shouldered ibis and land of woodpeckers

In the morning, you will leave the lodge very early, around 04:00 or 04:30, with a quick cup of tea or coffee and packed breakfast. Then, drive and walk to less disturbed areas of forest where giant ibis have been located. You return back to the lodge around noon for lunch and nap before you continue for another afternoon birding.

Tmatbeoy also supports other target species such as woolly-necked stork, Indian spotted eagle, grey-headed fish eagle, and white-rumped falcon. The pale-capped pigeon is another highlight along with an amazing diversity of woodpeckers. The local guides have made a special effort to find owls on their night roosts, allowing comfortable daytime viewing of a brown fish owl, spotted wood owl, and brown wood owl.

Within this two-night birding trip at Tmatboey, you will have enough time to see all the species at Tmatboey at no rush. You will spend the whole day bird watching in the Deciduous dipterocarp forest to see other birds including the target species above. You will also stay late in the forest until dark for nightjar (sovanna and large-tailed) and owl (oriental scops owl and barn owl). Headlight and torch are recommended to take along with you.

The group can discuss with the CBGA guide how they wish to spend the day outside the sunrise and sunset birding. Packed lunches can be arranged if they want to spend more time in the forest and night drives / walk to spot the owls and savanna nightjar. The village of Tmatboey is remote and self-sufficient. CBGA organizes an optional village tour, which takes in local trades as well as the school, a market garden, a still for sugar palm wine, and points out the projects that the visitor’s conservation contributions have assisted.

  • Night in Tmatboey - Tmatboey Eco-lodge
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Tmatboey - Okoki

After last morning birding around Tmatboey, you will head toward Okoki passing Dongplet village where the community that serves your services at the site. The group will arrive at Okoki in the early afternoon and then you do bird watching around the campsite, especially waiting in the hide near the feeding pond for the duck.

Okoki is located remotely near Laos border in Chheb Wildlife Sanctuary, where pools in a line of mixed evergreen forest following a watercourse provide habitat for the white-winged duck. This is one of the most pristine parts of Cambodia and its limited population gives you the possibility of seeing mammals.

  • Night in Okoki - Okoki Safari Style Tent
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Tmatboey to Okoki - 5 hours

Day 7: Okoki for the white-winged duck

The group will stay here for two nights, rising as early as 05:30 to walk through the forest to arrive predawn at hides constructed next to the pools favored by the duck. For being a remote area, there is also the possibility of seeing mammals. Bird watching throughout the day can include green-peafowl, White-rumped pygmy-falcon, bar-bellied pitta, banded broadbill, and banded kingfisher. On night walks, you are likely to find the oriental bay owl and Blyth's frogmouth.

  • Night in Okoki - Okoki Safari Style Tent
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Okoki - Boeng Toal camp

Today, after the last morning birding, you will leave from Okoki to Boeng Toal (Vulture Restaurant) and arrive in the late afternoon then enjoy bird watching around the campsite, especially woodpeckers and vultures. The Vulture Restaurant is a feeding program set up by the government of Cambodia and conservation NGOs to help sustain the three critically endangered species of vulture such as red-headed, White-rumped, and slender-billed vultures. The world’s population of these vultures have suffered from Diclofenac poisoning which has caused a drastic decline in their numbers. In Cambodia, cattle are not given this drug, but the lack of food is a problem for the vultures.

  • Night in Boeng Toal - Boeng Toal Safari Style Tent
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Okoki to Boeng Toal - 3.5 hours

Day 9: Vulture Restaurant - Kratié

Before dawn, the group will make their way to a hide positioned not far from the Vulture Restaurant. Up to 70 vultures may be present, often competing for the carcass with the golden jackal. After observing the vultures having their breakfast, the group leaves from Vulture Restaurant to Kratié, arrive in the late afternoon for a short birding, and stay one night in the riverfront Mekong Dolphin Hotel.

There are two birding hotspots around Kratié town. The one is around small marshes where you should see large numbers of weavers including Asian golden and streaked weaver and other wetland birds. The other one is at Kampi, where in the early morning of the next day, the group boarding a boat on the Mekong river, looking for the Mekong Wagtail which is restricted to channel island habitats. You will also enjoy the pod of Irrawaddy dolphins that frequent this part of the river.

  • Night in Kratié - Mekong Dolphin Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Boeng Toal to Kratié - 4 hours

Day 10: Birding in Kratié - Siem Reap

After early breakfast at the hotel, you will drive to Kampi for the Mekong Wagtail and the Mekong river dolphin. Then, by 09:00, you go back to the hotel for checkout and prepare for the long drive back to Siem Reap to finish your Cambodia tour. You will arrive at the Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort at about 18:00 for your final stay in Cambodia before the flight home.

  • Night in Siem Reap - Sonalong Boutique Village & Resort
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Kratié to Siem Reap - 6 hours

Day 11: Relax and transfer to Siem Reap International Airport (REP)

After breakfast at the hotel, the group will be transferred to the airport for departure flight back home. This is the end of the Cambodia tour.

Note: Cambodia Bird Guide Association will try their very best to show you the most desiderated and most rare birds mentioned here. However, of course, they cannot guarantee them in every case.

Guides

Sophoan Sanh

Location

This birding tour will take place in Siem Reap Province and Preah Vihear province in Cambodia. During the course of the itinerary, CBGA groups encounter a range of different habitats such as florican grasslands, natural grassland and paddy on a floodplain, and Tmatboey, deciduous dipterocarp forest (DDF) with pockets of mixed evergreen and forest trapaeng (pools). The birding tour sites also cover Angkor Wat, Prek Toal, Okoki, Vulture Restaurant, and Kratié.

Food

Cambodia Bird Guide Association will serve you 10 breakfasts, 9 lunches, and 10 dinners. Drinking water is also available during the tour.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following drinks are included:

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • Birding tours
  • CBGA English-speaking bird guide
  • Local guide / ranger
  • Conservation contribution
  • Entrance fees
  • Transportation
  • 10 nights' accommodation
  • Daily meals and drinking water

What's not included

  • Alcohol and drinks
  • Tips
  • Personal expense
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Laundry

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
11 days / 10 nights
from --
Pricing information
  • Group of 7 pax: 1960 USD per person
  • Group of 8 pax: 1835 USD per person
  • Group of 9 pax: 1785 USD per person

There is a single supplement available at 200 USD but not valid for Tmatboey / Okoki / Boeng Toal. However, if there’s room available at these sites, then Cambodia Bird Guide Association could arrange it with no extra charge.

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