Explore the wilds of southern Cambodia on this week-long active itinerary. With boat trips, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, and kayaking galore, you'll experience the best of culture and nature. Start from Phnom Penh and visit the Phnom Da temple, a pepper farm, plus wildlife-rich Botum Sakor National Park and Cardamom National Park.


  • Enjoy a stand-up paddleboarding excursion on the serene Kampot River
  • Explore a Kampot pepper farm and enjoy a ride in a buffalo-drawn ox-cart
  • Hike Botum Sakor National Park in search of endangered wildlife
  • Kayak and hike the lush ecosystems of Cardamom National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Phnom Penh to Kampot, Boat Ride to Phnom Da Temple Kampot
Day 2 Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Pepper Farm Visit & Buffalo Cart Ride Kampot
Day 3 Botum Sakor: Cardamom Tented Camp & Wilderness Hike Botum Sakor National Park
Day 4 Hike and Kayak at Cardamom Tented Camp (Full Day) Botum Sakor National Park
Day 5 Free Morning, Transfer to Cardamom National Park Koh Kong
Day 6 Hike Cardamom Mountains or Boat Cruise to Tatai Waterfall Koh Kong
Day 7 Free Morning, Transfer to Phnom Penh & End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Phnom Penh to Kampot, Boat Ride to Phnom Da Temple

Water taxis in southeast Cambodia

Depart Phnom Penh, the capital city, for Kampot, on the Gulf of Thailand. En route, experience an exciting boat ride through wetlands and rice fields to the small town of Angkor Borei to visit the local archaeological museum. Then continue by boat to the 6th-century Phnom Da temple, close to the Vietnamese border. Enjoy picture-perfect views over the chartreuse rice fields toward Vietnam from the hilltop. You'll lunch on freshwater lobster (the local specialty) in Takeo before continuing to Kampot by road.

Arriving in the late afternoon, you're free to explore Kampot, which boasts some of the finest examples of French colonial architecture in Cambodia (albeit slightly decayed). Stroll the riverside promenade, find a café to soak up the atmosphere, or perhaps take a remork (tuk-tuk) for the short ride to the Gulf of Thailand to watch the fishing boats head out to overnight fish.

Day 2: Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Pepper Farm Visit & Buffalo Cart Ride

Threshing rice the Cambodian way

This morning, enjoy a stand-up paddleboarding excursion on a calm stretch of the serene slow-moving Kampot River, passing durian plantations, small hamlets, and mangrove forests. After lunch, you'll drive a short distance inland to La Plantation—a spice farm that grows aromatic plants like ginger, turmeric, chilies, and green, black, white, and red peppercorns. During your visit, you'll stroll the Five Senses Garden and learn to discern the difference between various peppers.

Later, enjoy a ride in a buffalo-drawn cart through the local countryside around scenic Secret Lake—an artificial reservoir built by slave labor during the Khmer Rouge regime. The buffaloes love the chance to stop at the Secret Lake to cool off in the water! Your local guide will explain rice cultivation and other farming activities. Returning to Kampot, the balance of your day is at leisure.

Day 3: Botum Sakor National Park: Cardamom Tented Camp & Wilderness Hike

Plan your trip to Cambodia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
A "dhole" (Asian wild dog) stretches on the riverbank

You'll depart Kampot this morning for Trapaeng Rung, a remote village that is a gateway to Botum Sakor National Park—Cambodia's most extensive protected wilderness area. You'll board a boat in Trapaeng Rung and journey down the Preak Tachan River to Cardamom Tented Camp, in the heart of the rainforest. The luxury ecolodge and safari camp is run in association with Wildlife Alliance and specializes in guided nature treks and boat and kayak trips that get you up close and personal with the thriving flora and fauna of Botum Sakor.  

The park, which extends from the Cardamom Mountains to the coastal wetlands, shelters all of Cambodia's endangered mammals, including the Asiatic black bear, Asian wild dog (dhole), clouded leopard, pileated gibbon, and sun bear. Plus, it hosts one of Cambodia's largest populations of Asian elephants. On arrival, you'll receive an introduction to Botum Sakor, Cardamon's sustainable tourism development project, and the Wildlife Alliance's conservation work before you thrill to a late afternoon hike into the jungle surrounding the camp. Then, enjoy the sunset from the comfort of your riverside safari camp.

Day 4: Hike and Kayak at Cardamom Tented Camp (Full Day)

Pileated gibbon are easy to see in Botum Sakor National Park

Today offers an excellent chance—with luck—to spot sunda pangolin, river otters, the Cambodian fishing cat, and others among Botum Sakor National Park's elusive endangered species, as well as countless species of bird. Join a Wildlife Alliance Ranger patrol in the morning and trek through the dense Cambodian jungle along abandoned poaching and logging trails. Since camp activities are geared toward engaging visitors to assist in nature conservation, you might find yourself setting up camera traps to monitor local wildlife or recording wildlife footprints along the trails.

This afternoon, you'll kayak up the Preak Tachan River and its tributaries with a guide. Your two-hour journey to Preak Tachan Ranger Station is guaranteed to be filled with wildlife sightings. Perhaps of macaques, smooth-coated otter, woolly-necked stork, great hornbill, peafowl, and pileated gibbons (especially along the riverbank, when gibbons whoop excitedly in early evening). Great hornbill and Oriental pied hornbill are also common along the Preak Tachan River and around the camp.

Day 5: Free Morning, Transfer to Cardamom National Park

Canvas & Orchids Retreat boasts a serene setting

You'll have time for a self-guided hike on the trails around the camp or enjoy an early morning wildlife-viewing boat ride before returning by boat to Trapaeng Rung. Then drive through the foothills of the Cardamom Mountains for a brief boat ride to Canvas & Orchids Retreat for two nights of luxury glamping at this tented camp surrounded by rainforest on the banks of the pristine Tatai River within Cardamom National Park.

Upon arrival, you're free to relax by lazing on your sundeck or swimming in the tranquil river. Alternatively, you may like to paddle a kayak in search of wildlife and even take an optional sunset cruise. Then marvel at the fireflies sparkling like stars in the sky. 

Day 6: Hike Cardamom Mountains or Boat Cruise to Tatai Waterfall

Cruise upriver to the Tatai waterfall

Today's activity will be a boat cruise or a hike through the lush, lowland ecosystems of the Cardamom Mountains. Cardamom National Park comprises a mosaic of 16 ecosystems, from coastal mangroves and swamps to dense evergreen rainforest extending to dwarf cloud forest at an elevation of 5,948 feet (1,813 m). The precious region is a wild home to many of the country's endangered species, including Asian elephants, Indochinese tigers, Malayan sun bears, pileated gibbons, and (in the water) Siamese crocodiles and Irrawaddy dolphin.

Your boat cruise glides upriver to the spectacular Tatai Waterfall—a broad cascade, thunderous in winter with the rains running down from the Cardamom Mountains; in summer, when the flow ebbs, you can swim in the pools at the base of the photogenic cascade. You may be lucky to spot Irrawaddy dolphin swimming alongside your boat. On the hike, you'll meet fishing families and hope to sight some of the region's many rare animal and bird species. You'll return to your ecolodge in the afternoon and have the remainder of the day on your own.

Day 7: Free Morning, Transfer to Phnom Penh & End of Trip

Apsara dancers and Ramayana show in Phnom Penh
Enjoy your last few hours relaxing at Canvas & Orchids Retreat, with a last chance to swim in the river before departing for Phnom Penh by boat, then a six-hour road journey. The balance of the day is free to experience the capital city at leisure. This evening you might want to enjoy a traditional Apsara dance show.

More Great Cambodia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Cambodia? Check out these other Cambodia itineraries, explore different ways to spend a week in Cambodia, or learn about the best time to visit Cambodia.


Map of Southern Cambodia Wilds: Kampot, Botum Sakor & Cardamom - 7 Days
Map of Southern Cambodia Wilds: Kampot, Botum Sakor & Cardamom - 7 Days