The Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center is home to over 1,200 animals and is the biggest rescue center in Cambodia. We have been coming here for 12 years and we are intimately familiair with all the animals.
Almost all the animals in this park are rescued somehow and are being taken good care of by the Wildlife Alliance. We can tell you all about them and their histories.
Personal & Knowledgeable
We have extensive knowledge of the animals and their behaviour. We know when they are active and where they like to hide. We know which gibbons are cheeky hair pullers and which tigers are likely to spray on you.
Don't just learn the basic facts of the animals. We can tell you how they got here, how they are being cared for and what will happen to them.
Get up-close with the animals
Some gibbons just love backrubs, so give it to them. Pet deers, feed otters and probably be chased around by monkeys.
Unlike a zoo, you will be able to get extremely close to a lot of the animals, but in a responsible way. Animals are never handled or forced in any way, but most animals are happy to come close by themselves.
(Don't worry about getting up-close with the crocodile in the picture. Worry about it once you actually get to the park.)
A delicious homecooked lunch
Our famous lunch has been praised numerous times. It's just really good! We prepare the food at home each time before the tour. There are a few different dishes for you to try, including both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. And having a coconut while lying in a hammock is one our favorite times of the day.
Leave the city for some fresh air
The rescue center is an hour away from Phnom Penh and is build at the edge of a protected forest. You will spend a day walking through the forest with animals at every turn, hearing birds and gibbons singing in the distance.
This tour is suitable for all ages, but some effort is required. You wil spend most of your time at the park on foot and you will be in the sun. The animals will make you dirty, the roads are bumpy and if it rains, you get wet. It this doesn't like sound like your idead of a good time, don't do it! However, if you want a special experience, can handle getting hot and dirty and want to meet some amazing people working with incredible animals, this this is the trip for you.
The tour takes almost a full day. We organize trips 3 days a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. We require at least 2 people to do a tour and we usually take at most 8 people. Single travellers can of course join a group already going and special arrangements can be made both with regards to the day or to the number of people, so don't hesitate to contact us if that is the case.
9:45Meetup in Phnom Penh
11:15Arrival & morning walk
14:00More animals in afternoon
16:15Finishing the day
17:45Back in Phnom Penh
In the morning you will have to make your own way to the Lazy Gecko, where you will meet your fellow travellers. We will be waiting there for you and we take the ride out to the rescue center. Once there, we will walk around until lunchtime to see some of the animals. After lunch it's time for the bigger animals and we will use the minibus to get us from place to place, since it's too far to walk everywhere.
Pretty much everything you need throughout the day is included for you. This means transport to and from the park, entrance fee, a guided tour, lunch and water. You will also get a kroma (khmer scarf) at the beginning of the day that you can keep. There are still certain things you can bring to properly prepare for the day.
You should bring some sunscreen and maybe a hat against the sun. While the minibus has airco, once you're outside it can get hot quickly. During the rainy season you should also bring a raincoat with you, but poncho's are also available at the park should you need it. If you are not sure when the rainy season is, it's probably not right now, because it is hard not to know once you're in it.
Fun fact! The first time as a tourguide in training, Vathana wore high heels. Yes, really. You can make fun of her with that if you want. I know I do :) — Aram
You should wear comfortable footwear. While the terrain isn't very difficult, you will be on your feet a lot. Sandals or slippers are fine. Bring clothes that can get dirty. You can of course stay away from the animals to try and stay clean, but where's the fun in that?
Some additional money is useful to bring in case you want to buy some other drinks besides water, some food for the animals or maybe a t-shirt as souvenir.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between this tour and other tours?
There are 2 other organizations that do tours to Phnom Tamao. There is a behind the scenes tour from the Wildlife Alliance and the bear keeper for a day from Free the Bears. Both those tours are also great, but each is different.
With the behind the scenes tour from the Wildlife Alliance you get access to some parts that are off limits to the public. While you pay a bit more, you can go walking with an elephant on her daily walk, look inside the tiger house and feed some baby animals in the nursery. The profits from that tour go to support of the park.
The keeper for a day from Free the Bears focuses mostly on the bears. You prepare food for the bears and get to help out where needed. While they do go a bit around the park to see some animals, most of the day is spend with the bears.
Since the park is open to the public, you can also take a tuktuk or taxi to the rescue center yourself. Be aware that there is not a lot of information available and you won't always know which animals are friendly and which are not. If you do go there by yourself, you can have your driver take you around the park instead of walking everywhere, since it's quite vast. Our tour is a whole day tour and we still have to skip some animals, since we don't have enough time. Some tuktuk drivers only go there for 1 hour and then say you've seen everything, so make sure beforehand how long you will spend at the park.
How close can we get to the animals?
While most of the animals are inside enclosals, some are big enough to walk around inside of them. Friendly animals will come all the way up to the fence and you will be able to pet and feed them right there.
Note that animal behaviour is out of our control. Sometimes some animals just don't want to be pet. We know the behaviours of the animals and we know when they are most active, so we planned our trip through the center accordingly.
Are we able to interact with elephants?
We will be able to see the elephants and we can feed them, but unfortunately we can't guarantee you can touch them. We get about 2 meters away from the fence and you can feed them from there.
One of the elephants is very friendly and goes at walking twice a day for her walk. If we meet her on her walk, we will definitely stop and say hello.
If something is still unclear, just contact us for more information. Also take a look at our Kampong Speu tour, a 2-day tour to the countryside with a homestay.