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Kirirom National Park

Updated on November 7, 2017
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Mary has lived in Cambodia, a few months each year, working on education.

Cambodia's First National Park

Kirirom or Mountain of Joy is Cambodia's first officially designated national park and what an exciting start to protecting the countries natural history.

Waterfalls in Kirirom

Kirirom
Kirirom | Source

Kirirom: The Mountain of Joy

Located 112 km from Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, in the province of Kampong Speu, it takes in over 35,000 hectares of the Elephant Mountains. Today, development is starting to improve tourist infrastructure and make the place a meeting and conference destination.

On weekends, Kirirom has become a really upbeat picnic destination for many Cambodians as they begin to rediscover their country. Best of all, at 2,215 ft. above sea level, it is cooler than the city or even the neighboring farm lands so it is a treat for everyone. As you poke about, you'll find the ruins of the Royal summer palace, destroyed during the Khmer Rouge, but still giving a sense of the influence they have on the country.

Images of Kirirom National Park in Cambodia - Great waterfalls

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The flow from the waterfallsThe ruins of the royal palaceThw waterfalls in KiriromRefreshing waterfallsBeautiful waterfalls
The flow from the waterfalls
The flow from the waterfalls | Source
The ruins of the royal palace
The ruins of the royal palace | Source
Thw waterfalls in Kirirom
Thw waterfalls in Kirirom | Source
Refreshing waterfalls
Refreshing waterfalls | Source
Beautiful waterfalls
Beautiful waterfalls | Source

Kirirom's Trails and Waterfalls

Waterfall in Kirirom
Waterfall in Kirirom | Source

Kirirom Visit - Have you visited Kirirom?

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Happy Mountain

Happy Mountain as Kirirom is sometimes referred to makes you want to take a walk in its many trails and footpaths through the pine forests. Some of these paths are quite steep so you have to be fit. You can also take the traditional ox-cart rides which is an amazing antidote to rushing about in Phnom Penh.

Kirirom has several small lakes and waterfalls where you can cool yourself off and even swim a bit, making friends with the local kids. If you are really lucky you might spot some of the park inhabitants such as asian elephant, deer, gaur, banteng, leopard, spotted linsang, pileated gibbon and tiger. Most of these are still alive because they are too smart to come anywhere near people, but slowly the park is building a less threatening environment.

Your best Kirirom adventure - Adventure tours

Kirirom National Park
Kirirom National Park | Source

Here's a video of what to expect in Kirirom

Top Video on Kirirom - Watch this video on Kirirom

You will surely want to go when you see Kirirom in this video. You would want to place yourself under the water falls and get soaked in fresh water. Its very refreshing especially during the hot months.

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Hike up to Phnom Dat Chivit - End of the World Mountain

For the more adventurous, consider hooking up with a ranger who will guide you through a two-hour hike up to Phnom Dat Chivit (End of the World Mountain) where an abrupt cliff-face offers an unbroken view of the Elephant Mountains and Cardamom Mountains to the west.

It is often possible to see wildlife on this trail, including black bears scavenging the pine trees for honey.

Kirirom is part of Cambodia's southwestern cluster of protected areas which include Phnom Bokor, Preah Sihanouk and Kep National Park. It is on the way to the beaches of Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh or from Thailand through the Koh Kong border. If your idea of a great trek is the great outdoors there is a real treat waiting throughout this area.

Eco Tourism Program in Kirirom - Community Based Eco-Tourism

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Kirirom Eco-Tourism

There is a community based eco-tourism program set just beyond the park boundaries. They can arrange for a guide or homestays for you or you can sample traditional Khmer food in their small restaurants.

There are two I have found but I have not yet had a chance to stay as we went there with Cambodian friends. But I've heard great things about these programs and its one of the best ways to really see/taste/smell a culture.

Chambok Community-based Ecotourism (012 355272; ccben_cam@yahoo.com;

Mlup Baitong (023-214409; mlup@online.com.kh), a percentage of the proceeds is pumped back into the local community.

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The Flow of the Waterfalls in Kirirom
The Flow of the Waterfalls in Kirirom | Source

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Best time to visit Kirirom

Kirirom is not the happiest of mountains during rainy season (May to October ) so the best time is just after that while Cambodia is still cool. From November on, you will be rewarded with gushing water falls and the great greenness of the hills.

The park facilities are constantly improving and there are several resorts in the area. You are better off to have your own transport as it is quite isolated from the public routes. There are tour operators in Phnom Penh at will be happy to arrange trips for you based on your own requirements. Of course if you are 20 and ready for adventure, go for it. Local buses are an experience of a lifetime and you really will meet some of the world's friendliest people.

The Visitor's Center at Kirirom National Park

Displays at Kirirom Visitor Centre
Displays at Kirirom Visitor Centre | Source

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Visitors' Centre in Kirirom

The visitors center in the park is small but full of interesting things. The manager does her best to show off what the park offers. Showing them how much you appreciate their little effort is the best you can do when you visit.

Have your picture taken in one of these photo-op boards that are set up for visitors.

Here's a pair of Polarized Sun Glasses

Joopin Semi Rimless Polarized Sunglasses Women Men Retro Brand Sun Glasses (Brilliat Black Frame, Simple packaging)
Joopin Semi Rimless Polarized Sunglasses Women Men Retro Brand Sun Glasses (Brilliat Black Frame, Simple packaging)

When you travel to Cambodia especially to Kirirom National Park, you will need polarized glasses. Polarized glasses protect your eyes from the sun much better. It lessens the stress on your eyes caused by the blazing sun. This pair of sunglasses is not expensive and I find that they protect my eyes much better.

 

Tips for your visit to Kirirom

1. Leave Phnom Penh early so you don't get too note when you walk up to Kirirom.

2. Make sure the vehicle you choose is a strong one. In Cambodia, almost everything is for rent from nearly new Escalades to virtually destroyed Toyota low buts.

3. Bring a camera and add to the sparse documentation on Kirirom. Bring one to take pictures of nature and scenic views from the top of the mountain or the winding pathways and waterfalls.

4. A good pair of walking shoes to trudge through the Park.

5. A hat. Get a Tilley. It has a secret compartment for your money.

© 2010 Mary Norton

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    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 4 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Parks with waterfalls are my favorite. I'd also like to see any mountain named "The End of the World." Just sounds very picturesque and breathtaking.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      How I would love to be standing beneath one of those waterfalls you show. Lovely.

    • aesta1 profile image
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      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @indiavacationplans: A wholesome family experience.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @Anthony Altorenna: Yes, it is. The walk offers one not from Asia many of nature's interesting species.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      Beautiful! This looks like an awesome eco-tourism destination where people and nature can co-exist.

    • profile image

      indiavacationplans 5 years ago

      Great guide for family vacations. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • aesta1 profile image
      Author

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @anonymous: They are.

    • aesta1 profile image
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      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @nort43: Open your eyes and ears...right.

    • aesta1 profile image
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      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      @thailandecotour: Hope so...it is not far from you.

    • thailandecotour profile image

      thailandecotour 6 years ago

      very nice... i will try to visit the park soon

    • profile image

      nort43 6 years ago

      What a great lens. I can almost feel the place. You never run out of new expweriencess if your eyes and ears are open. Well done.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 6 years ago from New York

      What a beautiful spot. Just added it to my bucket list. Hope to be able to visit some day.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The waterfalls are amazing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wow, I'd love to go hiking here, the waterfalls are beautiful. They look so inviting!

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 6 years ago

      A beautiful lens about a beautiful place. Another SquidAngel Blessing for you!

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 6 years ago

      If I ever visit Cambodia (Kampuchea) at least I will know one lovely place to visit.

    • ravi551854 profile image

      ravi551854 6 years ago

      well it is wonderful lens related to visit korriom national park

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      It is wonderful to learn that Cambodia has a national park. From the photos and videos it looks like a beautiful place. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What a beautiful lens, I love reading about exotic places that I most likely won't get the chance to visit. That waterfall is amazing!

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 6 years ago from California

      Beautiful lens, as usual. You give us a magical glimpse of a place some of us will never see -- but I hope also you will get tourists who are looking up Cambodia before they visit!