When you read about Cambodia, it can be hard to imagine there is much more to the country than visiting Angkor Wat. The temple structure is undoubtedly the crown jewel in Cambodia’s cap, but there is more to explore and discover. One such place is Ream National Park. It is located in the southern-most part of Cambodia and is unusual in a couple of ways. First off, Ream National Park is a maritime park that includes mangrove forests, wildlife, pure stretches of white beach, and two islands, Koh Thmei and Koh Ses. The park itself is over 21,000 hectares which means you have more than enough space to wander. Get to know the magic of Ream National Park for yourself with a visit to southern Cambodia.
Ream National Park was declared a protected area in 1993 by Royal decree. It was given this honour because of its national, scientific, educational and recreational value to Cambodia and to the world. As mentioned above, Ream National Park is in southern Cambodia, but more specifically it is located approximately 18km east of Sihanoukville, or Kampong Saom.
Any time of the year is a good time to visit Ream National Park to check out the mangrove forests and to try and spot wild animals. Tour guides for the park can take you around to the highlights as well as help you keep your eyes trained in the right places for animal sightings. If you like wildlife and marine life, then opt to visit from December-February as this is when the infamous fresh water dolphins visit the park.
Ream National Park (also known as the Preah Sihanouk National Park) is home to at least 155 species of bird. The mangrove forests are essential habitats for the wading birds and the Prek Toeuk provides sanctuary for them. Besides supporting a large population of fishing eagles, the river is also home to milky and adjutant storks, and kingfishers, which are regularly spotted. Take a river trip to get a closer look at the wildlife. The list of mammals includes deer, wild pig and fishing cats, though these are all elusive and you’re more likely to see monkeys.
Unlike other National Parks where a majority of the space is forest, Ream National Park also has parklands that are islands and marine life. So, what you need to wear for this outing is a bit more complicated than hiking boots. What you want to do in Ream National Park will inform you on how you will need to dress. If you plan to stick to the mangroves, be sure you wear comfortable, loose clothing that will keep you cool as you glide through the river waters. Mozzie spray will be especially important here as well, as they breed and live around calm waters like those found in Prek Toeuk River.
If you are planning to head to either of the islands in Ream National Park, then bring your swimsuit and/or a change of clothes so you can take a dip in the waters to cool off and then have something to change into for the return journey. You will also need options for shoes that aren’t heavy duty hiking boots. Opt for light sneakers and an extra pair of socks or sturdy sandals that give your feet support and can’t slip off easily. This will let you transition from forest to river to ocean without too much of a hassle. No one wants to put socks and boots back on after being barefoot in sand.
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Image courtesy of Flickr user NeilsPhotography.