Located in Takeo Province about 25 miles from Phnom Penh, the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary is a zoo with a difference. It is home to unfortunate animals that were abused by former owners or seized from animal traffickers.

Phnom Tamao is the largest and foremost wildlife sanctuary in Cambodia, featuring something like 800 animals on about 6,000 acres of forested land. The elephants are the main attraction in here and able to wander around the zoo unhindered.

Along with the elephants are tigers, lions, leopards, and several species of exotic birds. There are also monkeys onsite along with enclosures with crocodiles, although Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary is nothing like a typical zoo and is totally non-intimidating.

You will be greeted by storks and pelicans in a pond at the entrance to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary, while inside are well-done wildlife enclosures, a walkthrough enclosure for closer interaction, a wildlife museum, and an animal hospital. Many of the animals that are brought here are released into the wild, apart from those that need care and rehabilitation.

Getting There & Away

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Sanctuary is just 25 miles from Phnom Penh, where there is an international airport. The best way to get here from the capital is by motorized rickshaw, which are cheap to charter. Buses also run to the Phnom Tamao turn-off from Phnom Penh Central Market.