ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Kirirom National Park, a Natural Treasure in Cambodia

Updated on September 16, 2011
Tea Farm Waterfall
Tea Farm Waterfall

Mountain of Joy

Just two hours from Cambodia's hot, humid and frenetic capital city of Phnom Penh lies a little visited mountain retreat named Kirirom National Park. The park lies in Kompong Speu province, and is best known for it's thickly wooded slopes, crystal clear mountain lakes, cool temperatures and peace and solitude. In fact it was such an ideal place to escape from the heat and dust of the lowlands that King Sihanouk himself had a summer mansion at the summit of the mountain, and it is he who named the area Kirirom, which means 'mountain of joy'. Today only remnants of King Sihanouk's mansion remain, but visitors can still explore the natural wonders of this protected area.




What to See

Many visitors make the trip to Kirirom to explore the myriad of hiking trails that criss-cross the mountain. Typically, visitors start at the top of the mountain next to the visitor's center and make their way down the mountain, passing through fragrant pine trees, leafy green foliage, brightly singing birds and on rare occasions, wild deer or porcupines. Many of the paths culminate at a small mountain lake, surrounded by lush, green vegetation and small thatch picnic huts. A further stroll around the lake and down a short path leads to an ornately decorated Buddhist temple named Wat Jaa, where for a small donation, guests can buy some incense and make offerings or pray. The most popular attraction on Kirirom mountain for both locals and tourists alike is the Tea Farm Waterfall. The small but scenic waterfall is the perfect spot for a picnic or an afternoon swim, and for those who are interested to see how Asia's favorite hot beverage is produced, there is a tea farm on site which guests are welcome to visit.

View from the top of Kirirom
View from the top of Kirirom
Cool mountain lake with picnic huts
Cool mountain lake with picnic huts
Wat Jaa
Wat Jaa
Praying to the Buddha at Wat Jaa
Praying to the Buddha at Wat Jaa

Natural Remedies

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of a visit to Kirirom is stopping to chat with the locals who sell snacks, cold drinks and pure natural remedies along the clearings on the mountain. A quick stop at one of the local stalls will reveal a myriad of fresh and dried wild mushrooms, indigenous herbs and roots and even porcupine quills amongst the more mundane bottled water and soft drinks. As the vendors will explain, these natural remedies are sought after by local Khmer visitors, Chinese tourists, and even the odd Westerner. The remedies are said to alleviate ailments such as arthritis, headaches and fatigue. One of the most commonly sought after treatments is for pregnant women who suffer morning sickness. The cure involves heating and crumbling porcupine quills and then adding the powder to locally brewed rice wine.

Porcupine quill used to cure morning sickness in pregnant women
Porcupine quill used to cure morning sickness in pregnant women
Wild mushrooms used to alleviate headaches, fatigue and arthritis
Wild mushrooms used to alleviate headaches, fatigue and arthritis

NGOs

There are a number of Non-Governmental Organizations that work tirelessly to protect and promote the natural beauty of Kirirom National Park. Mlup Baitong is a Cambodian environmental NGO that aims to promote and teach environmental protection and natural resource management in Cambodia. Mlup Baitong works closely with WildAid, a wildlife conservation agency, and the local government to run the Visitor's Center at the top of Kirirom mountain. Their aim is to educate visitors about the importance of conserving the unique ecosystem of the area. Mlup Baitong also runs the Chambok Community Based Ecotourism Site project in Kirirom National Park, where guests can stay in a local Khmer family home in a village within the Park for a nominal fee. Fees include all meals, trips to sites in the park, such as a forty-foot waterfall and a bat cave and authentic Khmer dance performances. All proceeds go into the local community and towards preserving the natural resources in the area as well as sustainable tourism.

Buddhist shrine at Kirirom Guesthouse and Restaurant
Buddhist shrine at Kirirom Guesthouse and Restaurant

Where to Stay

Although Kirirom is easily accessible as a day trip from Phnom Penh, many people opt to spend the night in the national park. Fortunately there are a range of options available for those looking for a solitary and serene night amongst nature. The most lofty option is Kirirom Guesthouse and Restaurant, located in a pleasant garden on a ledge at the top of the mountain. Here, mountain breezes cool the air and grand views of the surrounding Elephant mountains can be seen from the restaurant veranda. For those that like a bit of kitsch with their nature, the Kirirom Hillside Resort near the entrance to the park has manicured grounds that feature quirky lawn ornaments such as a life size UFO and a plastic dinosaur garden. Accommodation here ranges from a simple tent on the resort grounds to a luxurious executive suite fit for a king. And of course, for those that want an authentic Khmer village experience that gives back to the community and the Park, there is the above-mentioned Chambok Community Ecotourism Site.

How to Get There

From Phnom Penh, follow National Road 4 west until you arrive at Treng Trayeung town. From there, follow the signs pointing the way to Kirirom National Park. The trip should take just over two hours.

Location of Kirirom National Park

Cameras to help you document your trip

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mary Cimeni profile image

      Mary Cimeni 

      5 years ago from Philippines

      Seems like a hidden paradise in Cambodia.

    • asha80 profile image

      asha80 

      7 years ago

      What an interesting article! Will have to go there one day.

    • MalceskiFan profile image

      MalceskiFan 

      7 years ago from Melbourne

      Absolutely beautiful!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)