Siem Reap Vistior Guide 59th

birdwatching, balloon rides & butterflies


ATT (Ang Trapeng Thmor) is a day trip from Siem Reap though accommodation can be arranged at the through the Sam Veasna Center (see the following listing), giv- ing birdwatchers the chance of dawn sightings and offering the opportunity of visiting the massive Angkorian temple complex of Banteay Chmar. Tour Operators Specializing in Birdwatching Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity The Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) is the first nature conservation center in Cambodia. They offer rescue services to Cambodian wildlife, breed threatened species and serve as an education and training center for communities, wildlife officials and visitors. Visitors are encouraged to visit ACCB, they offer a daily tour Monday through Saturday at 1PM for a minimum donation of $3 per person. Sam Veasna Center (SVC) SVC organizes half or full day trips focusing on birds with a trained bird guide. SVC was set up to promote wildlife conservation in Cambodia. It works with the Wildlife Conservation Society and local village communities to develop remote sites close to the habitat of some spec- tacular bird life. The local communities benefit from the infrastructure set up for the visitors. Trips to see Sarus Crane at Ang Trapaeng Thmor, Giant and White Shouldered Ibis at Tamtboey, a vulture restaurant at Chhep, plus some beautiful and unspoiled countryside. Tel: 092-554473, 063-963710 | Balloon Rides Angkor Balloon Take a tethered helium balloon ride 150 meters straight up for a pretty good aerial view of Angkor Wat (1km away), the surrounding countryside and a couple of other temples peeking up through the jungle.10-15 minutes at the top, plenty of time to take plenty of pic- tures. The big, yellow balloon is based about 1km east of Angkor Wat on the road from the airport. You can't miss it. $15/adult; $7.50/child. Butterfly Gardens Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre An interactive butterfly exhibit 25 km north of town, on the road to the Banteay Srey. The exhibit consists of a netted tropical garden with thousands of free-flying butterflies, all native species to Cambodia. Tel: 097-8527852

Bird Watching / Environmental Tours Siem Reap offers some unique birdwatching opportuni- ties. The Prek Toal bird sanctuary on the Tonle Sap Lake and the Ang Trapeng Thmor reservoir northeast of Siem Reap both are home to many rare and threatened species. For the Prek Toal bird sanctuary see the Tonle Sap section on page 53. Ang Trapeng Thmor (ATT) Sarus Crane Reserve (The following about Ang Trapeng Thmor comes cour- tesy of the Sam Veasna Center .) Originally constructed as a water reservoir, the reservoir was rebuilt for irriga- tion and water storage by slave labor during the Khmer Rouge Regime. The reservoir now harbors a unique wet- land associated with grassland, dipterocarp forests and paddy fields. Aside from being a feeding ground for more than 300 Sarus Crane in the dry (non-breeding) season, more than 200 species of other birds occur here, of which 18 have been classified as globally or near global- ly threatened. This is also one of the handful of sites in Cambodia where the endangered Eld’s Deer can be seen. Colonies of fruit bats inhabit larger trees that are often semi-submerged on the edge of the reservoir. The best time to see the Sarus Crane is from February to March, though an abundance of bird species can be viewed all year. There is also a hill top Angkorian-era temple a few kilometers into the forest where tradition- al silk weaving is still practiced in the adjacent village. A boat trip can be taken on the reservoir. Officially declared a Sarus Crane Reserve in 2000 the designated area covers over 12,000 hectares, following the work of Sam Veasna and friends at the Wildlife Conservation Society , all foreign visitors are required are required to register at the WCS Office.

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