Phnom Tamao is a huge interesting drive-through wildlife rescue center that holds many varieties of animals which were rescued from trafficking as poachers and traffickers tried to sell their valuable pelts, skins, bile, liver or other organs for traditional medicine and other purposes. It is a safe haven and relaxed environment for the rescued animals as they can get proper medical treatment and recover. I have learned that Wildlife Alliance is working in close partnership with the national government of Cambodia to be able to help control the increasing trade in exotic wildlife that threatens the wildlife across the country and South East Asia as a whole.
Since we love animals, and we were curious about the place, we took our son there for a wildlife encounter. It is 44 km south of Phnom Penh following National Road 2. It took us about 2 hours and a half by a Tuktuk through a picturesque Cambodian countryside.
To me, Phnom Tamao is different from any zoo or wildlife parks that I have ever visited: First, you drove your car from exhibit to exhibit since it is very large. Second, many vendors and people are allowed to have a picnic inside the area making it so crowded especially during local holidays. Third, as we headed along a straight road on the way to the center, there were many beggars lining up asking for money which to me was very sad.
All in all, I was quite impressed with Phnom Tamao. We enjoyed wandering down lanes and peeping into cages, we were never sure what we might spy and which animal we were looking at since the zoo was not very well marked and sign-posted. On top of this, we noticed that the rescued animals looked contented and are so well cared for. Personally, even though it was too hot when we went there, being able to see the animals closely and touch some of them made it a very memorable experience.
Little Lilly travel tip:
- It is not a good idea to go there during a local holiday as it very crowded.
- Go with a guide. Check out www.betelnuttours.com, it offer tours and activities.
- Entrance fee costs you $5 per person.
- At the gate, there were children selling food to feed the animals.
- Bring a bottle of water and a towel as it is very hot.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Have you been in Phnom Tamao? What did you like best in Phnom Tamao?