Looking for some sweet trekking routes to take on while traveling in Cambodia? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of the best trekking in Cambodia based on distance, difficulty and just plain awesomeness. It can be difficult to choose the right route for you, as not only do you have to be realistically aware of your own fitness ability, but you also have to be flexible with your time. Some trekking tours require you to book in advance and if you want to take on the big beasts of mountains, you’ll need a couple of days spare! Whatever your ability, style or preference for adventure, we hope this best trekking in Cambodia list will help you experience some amazing routes.
Kalai Jungle Hike
If you’re looking for a hike that is easy or just want to be at one with nature, the Kalai Jungle hike is an ideal choice. Beginning the trek from a Kreung minority village, the hike will be through the stunning Rattanakiri province where you will be submerged in a forest surrounded by sounds of insects and flowing water. The best thing about this hike, apart from the amazing jungle views and the natural creeks that you can swim in, is the local people. Home to the Kreung people, they will happily make you bamboo soup or other local delicacies to enjoy by the campfire, and trust me when I say that it will be amazing! Having this unique experience, and the fact that you will be contributing to sustainable travel, are reasons enough for us to add this baby to our hiking in Cambodia list.
Distance: 16 km
River of a Thousand Lingas Hike
If you’re a history buff, then this hike is for you. The hike itself is fairly easy, but due to the steep trails being full of twisting roots that make up quite the obstacle course, the hike is officially considered a ‘moderate’ difficulty. Once you reach the top of the jungle-clad mountain path after approximately 1 hour, you’ll be rewarded with the flowing River of a Thousand Lingas; this is where the history comes in. A spiritual, historical and cultural landmark, the river gives you a hands-on (and feet in!) look at Hindu mythological and religious carvings in its river bed. Much like the feeling you get in Asian temples and other holy grounds, prepare to be amazed and uplifted here! Once you’re taken in the ancient river as a whole, you can cool off in the waterfall and indulge in some lunch before heading back. You may even get to hit the renowned pink sandstone Citadel of Women or some Angkor temples on the way if you’re lucky!
Distance: 6 km
Calling all hardcore adventures! This one is for you guys. If you fancy getting back to basic living and want to learn the true meaning of ‘remote,’ how about hiking through Southeast Asia’s largest remaining rainforest? It’s definitely not an understatement when the Cardamom Mountains are referred to as far-removed, and they are so far off the beaten track that you’ll feel like you’ve entered Narnia! With that being said though, as they are so untouched, the mountains are full of rare and exotic wildlife, flora and fauna. Stretching out for miles, the mountains are also covered in a variety of landscapes from jungles and forests complete with waterfalls and streams to vast grasslands. So how does this sound to you? Perfect right. What makes this place even more perfect is that in very recent years, a series of eco- and community-based tourism projects have been set up in the area. This means that all homestays and tours are run by the locals themselves!
Insider’s Tip: If you’re hiking in the Cardamom, it’s recommended that you get a guide. This hike goes deep into the jungle where there are no defined trails and machetes can be needed for large sections of the way.
Duration: Hikes range from 3-7 days
Difficulty: Hard-Very Hard
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Ream National Park
Hiking trails in the Ream National Park are probably one of the most popular routes for hiking in Cambodia. It’s no surprise really, as the park is full of mangroves, freshwater marshes, estuaries, and forests, as well as beaches, coral reefs and islands! Even the wildlife here is just as stunning as the surroundings. With 210 square kilometers of pure nature at its best, you can imagine why the hiking trails here are a favorite. Although full of many trails, the particular hike that we are talking about is the 7km (2-hour) walk through the hills of the park. Why? Because you get to see the best of nature and the coast that the park has to offer, while also combining the tour with a boat trip to the islands! How does a walk in nature followed by cooling off in turquoise waters sound?
Distance: 7 km
Crater Lake Circle Hike
If you happen to be traveling from the Ratanakiri Province to Stung Treng or even through to Laos, it is worth taking a bit of a detour to do this short hike. Trust us, you won’t regret it! Yeak Laom Lake is the most beautiful lake in the Ratanakiri Province, formed by a volcanic eruption almost 4,000 years ago; 50m deep and 800m wide in diameter, this volcanic crater has conveniently formed a stunning hiking trail around its border. For a quaint walk along a forest path, surrounded by wooden tribal housing, we can’t think of anything more perfect. Did we also mention that you can swim in the lake’s clear waters? Just perfect.
Distance: 3 km
Editor’s Note: Heading to Cambodia? Don’t forget to check out our complete Cambodia Travel Tips featuring the best things to do, what to eat, and more.
Located in the North-east of Phnom Penh, a 6-hour bus ride will take you to the heart of the remote Mondulkiri Province. Surrounded by lush green landscapes in the shape of rolling jungle-clad mountains, you can guess that this region offers an abundance of hiking opportunities! Again, this region also supports eco-tourism, so the majority of tours will be led by the local tribesmen who will also offer home stays. So, this region is perfect for hiking and trekking and supports sustainable travel and it’s home to the largest elephant population! Can it get much better than this? There are Elephant Sanctuaries in the area such as Mondulkiri Project, who have rescued abused elephants and given them sanctuary in this vast jungle! So if you have time, visit one and roam with the elephants in their natural habitat.
Duration: Hikes range from 2-4 days
Resources: Check out the Mondulkiri Project in our What to Do in Cambodia: Things You Shouldn’t Miss! article
Located about 40km away from Siem Reap is Kulen Mountain, a national park and religious site that holds great meaning for the Cambodians. Preah Ang Thom is the sacred and worshipping god for Ku Len Mountain, so expect to see symbolic landmarks at the summit, such as a large terrace, 56 Angkorian temples, two large Cham Pa trees, a large statue of Buddha, and footprints of Preah Bat Choan Tuk, Peung Chhok, Peung Ey So and Peung Ey Sey. A completely fascinating place to be in general, the mountain is also home to an expanse of tropical jungle, a range of rare plants and flowers, two huge waterfalls, the Linga River and a vast valley. Perfect conditions for a good hike or two we say! With many ancient temples, pagodas and abandoned sandstone quarries to be explored, this is definitely a hike for the history buffs.
Insider’s Tip: If you’re opting for a guided tour rather than DIY, we recommend going with Kulen Nature Trails. This is a group of locals who set up tours of their own with the aim of protecting the national park and it’s diversity, as well as providing the community with a sustainable for of income. The group offers a range of tours, including day trips from Siem Reap.
Duration: Hikes are typically 3-4 hours with tours being approximately 1 day
This is one of our favorite DIY trails for hiking in Cambodia, perfect for a sunny day when you’re feeling some light adventure. Nestled in the center of the Kep peninsula is the luscious and dense forest that is Kep National Park, and with dense forest comes great biking and hiking trails! With quirky yellow signs pointing the way, you’ll find yourself winding through the thick forest, passing charming wats and breathtaking viewpoints along the way. The highlight of the hike is the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ trail that forks off this route. Leading uphill to a towering pagoda, a nunnery, and the worthwhile Sunset Rock Viewpoint. There’s nothing like an amazing vantage point high above the clouds!
Distance: 8 km
Kirirom National Park
A 2-hour drive from the center of Phnom Penh, you will enter the lush, elevated park of Kirirom. Known for its unique high elevation pine forest which forms the headwaters for numerous streams feeding Kampong Speu Town, this national park has some really interesting hiking trails. Whether by bike or on foot, you can explore the winding trails of the park, that lead you through pine forests until you break through to cascading waterfalls and cliffs with amazing views of the Cardamom Mountains. Kirirom Mountain is actually known to the locals as the “mountain of Joy” as the King of Cambodia named it appropriately to how the area makes people feel. Sounds cool right? So if you want to be filled with joy, plus maybe being able to spot a pleated gibbon or two along the way, this national park is calling for you.
Duration: Hikes range from hours to a couple of days days
Virachey National Park
One of the largest protected areas in Cambodia, Virachey National Park is another doozy for hiking and trekking till your heart is content! Stretching 3325 sq km to Vietnam in the east, Laos in the north and the Stung Treng Province in the west, the park has never been fully explored; this makes a great hiking environment as the area offers everything from undiscovered trails to easy walking routes. Named an Asean Heritage Park in 2003, this national park is home to so many rare mammals, so keep your eyes peeled for elephants, gibbons, clouded leopards, tigers, and sun bears to name a few!
Insider’s Tip: Virachey has one of the most organized ecotourism programs in Cambodia, so every hike or trek needs to be arranged through the Virachey National Park Eco-Tourism Information Centre in Ban Lung.
Duration: Hikes range from 2-8 days
And that concludes our trekking adventure! Although not as well established as Thailand, trekking in Cambodia is one worthwhile activity to dig your heels into. whether you’re joining a tour or doing some DIY nature exploration, make the most of it by digesting the nature and learning from the locals!
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out a few of our other articles on Cambodia
- Cambodia Beaches: Guide to the Best Islands
- Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Dream Trip to Cambodia
- 20 Photos that will Make you Travel to Cambodia