The Cardamom Mountains: an emerging trekking destination
The Cardamom Mountains are fast emerging as the place to be if you’re a fan of trekking and hiking. Less than twenty years ago, these rugged peaks were the stage for bloody battles, but today, you’ll find nothing but tranquillity. The country is in the process of rebuilding and establishing stability, and the future looks bright. If you’re planning a personalised Cambodia holiday and you’re eager to explore everything this wonderful country has to offer, trekking in the Cardamoms is not to be missed.
About the Cardamom Mountains
The Cardamom Mountains are located around three hour’s drive from Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s enigmatic capital. This area has a turbulent past and it was the scene for many a battle following the collapse of Pol Pot’s regime in 1979. For the best part of 20 years, there was unrest, and it’s only relatively recently that the ranges have been open for exploration by foreigners.
The name relates to the abundance of the aromatic spice, cardamom, and you’ll be greeted with the unique scent the moment you set foot on this treasured turf. Cambodia is an established tourist destination, but most travellers tend to stick to the well-known tracks around Angkor Wat, the Mekong River, and Phnom Penh. This mountain paradise is relatively undiscovered, which makes it an excellent place to get away from it all and enjoy the scenery in peace.
Trekking in the Cardamom Mountains
A growing number of people are choosing to travel the world and pursue outdoor adventures on their holidays. Beach holidays are still incredibly popular, but there’s a definite trend emerging for winter and summer activity breaks. The Cardamom Mountains are attracting increasing numbers of tourists, especially those with a hunger to test their mettle. There are some gruelling routes on offer here, but don’t let that put you off if you’re an amateur. There are also gentler treks available. In addition, you can also enjoy mountain biking and kayaking.
Hiking in the Cardamom Mountains gives you the opportunity to discover the jungle floor and the open air. Once you emerge from under the canopies, you’ll be greeted with panoramic views which will blow your mind. The changes in terrain make trekking challenging, but hugely enjoyable. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could attempt to reach the tallest peak, Phnom Aural, which stands almost 6,000 feet tall.
You can’t talk about trekking in the Cardamoms without mentioning the local wildlife. Birdwatching is a joy here, especially if you get up early and watch the morning mists clear. In the forests, you’ll find an array of fascinating species, including elephants, clouded leopards and Malaysian sun bears. If you’re interested in wildlife, you can book specialist tours, which will provide you with information about the native species and take you to the best places to see the animals in their natural habitats.
If you’re travelling to Cambodia, head north from Phnom Penh and take a couple of days to trek the magical Cardamom Mountains.