Hiking in Cambodia
Action Sport Asia has so far taken an extensive look at some of the best hiking trails Thailand has to offer, like the Doi Luang Chiang Dao. The country’s 3rd highest peak, and arguably its most gorgeous, is the home of the Chiang Dao caves. It is found north of Chiang Mai, and has spectacular views, hot springs, and quaint restaurants and coffee shops.
But Thailand is not the only Southeast Asian nation with an assortment of spectacular hiking spots. Venture further up north and you’ll reach Cambodia, an understated hiker’s paradise in its own right. And so, we’ll give the country the credit it rightfully deserves as a home for great trekking by compiling this shortlist of hiking trails to check out.
The Kulen Mountain is a popular national park and a religious site for Cambodians. It is a vast expanse of tropical jungle that boasts rare plants and flowers, as well as wondrous waterfalls. Reach the apex and you’ll see a pagoda that houses a massive reclining Buddha. You’ll also see a picturesque vista from every conceivable angle. A group of locals from Kulen Nature Trails will serve as your hiking guides. They’ll fetch you from your hotel, drive you through the countryside, and lead you along a trail full of lush greens, ancient temples, and the Linga River carvings.
Teeming with unique flora and fauna, the Cardamom Mountains is home to the largest remaining forest in Southeast Asia. It is dense, remote, and marked by sprawling grasslands and mountains, exotic wildlife, and magnificent waterfalls. It is an extremely difficult hike that requires a guide, which is thankfully provided by the Chi Phat Village.
Mondulkiri is marked by the famous rolling hills. According to The Phnom Penh Post, the forest on the hills are getting thin on the ground. That means a visit to this sparsely populated province is in order at the soonest possible time to appreciate the remaining beauty. Trained members from the indigenous tribes will guide you through the forests where you can encounter a repository of plants, flowers, and wildlife. Along the way, it is recommended to sample some bamboo soup, a spicy yet delectable delicacy of the Phnong.
Temples of Angkor
There is no better place to hike than the Temples of Angkor. It sits proudly in the lush jungles of northern Cambodia, spans a staggering 154 square miles, and is home to the world-famous Ta Prohm. This Buddhist temple got a major boost thanks to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie. The movie is even commemorated at the temple, with hundreds of tourists queuing up to snap a photo of the famous film location.
The fact that so many people visit the Temples of Angkor due to Tomb Raider is not at all surprising. It is a media franchise that is still growing two decades after the release of the first game, with three films, a comic book series, and of course, multiple video games, including spin-offs. Such is the appeal that game developers from different genres have acquired the license to make their own titles based on the British archaeologist. Slingo has an online Tomb Raider game adapted from the genre defining franchise. The game, like all Tomb Raider titles, puts the spotlight on the amazing locations that Croft has visited. For many fans, the franchise will forever be intertwined with Ta Prohm, the sacred temple where Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) once stood in the 2001 movie. It is one of the famed big three temples, along with its more famous friends: Angkor Wat and the Angkor Thom.
Angkor Wat. Image credit: WikipediaAs mentioned, the vast complex is also home to the world-famous Angkor Wat, which Action Sport Asia featured way back in 2014. And quoting from that post, this venerable temple complex “is one of those places where no matter how many times you visit, you can never get bored of it.” With such fascinating structures, wonder no more why this massive, 700-year-old city complex was named by Lonely Planet as the best tourist attraction in the world in 2015.
As this list shows, Cambodia is, indeed, an understated hiker’s paradise. Unfortunately, many of the mountains and hills where hiking trails abound are in grave danger, though the Temples of Angkor are largely well preserved. With that in mind, it would be a great idea to pack on those sturdy boots and head on over to Cambodia very soon.