Ream National Park, also known as Khmer, is a national park area located in Cambodia. While many don’t think of Cambodia is a great destination, the truth is that this park area is one of the most beautiful places on earth to visit. With some of the most exotic animals on earth located in a tropical paradise, this is a national preserve that is rapidly growing in popularity among those looking for an amazing getaway.
About Ream National Park
The park is the majority of the Sihanoukville Province and borders on the Gulf of Thailand. The park is a diverse region, which contains 58 square miles of land and 23 square miles of water area. Included in this area are, mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, beach areas, coral reefs, rainforests, islands and more. It is one of the most diverse areas a person will find in the world in terms of ecosystems, which is quite amazing considering how small the area is.
The division of the park comes at the PrekTeuk Sap, a river that flows through the middle of the park on its way to the ocean. To the west of the river are two large hills which are separated by the PrekSampouch waterway. One of the hills has an elevation of 909 feet, while the other is a bit shorter than that, coming in at 643 feet above sea level. Between these two peaks is found the PrekTeuk Sap, a river that is fed by the drainage of both peaks.
The eastern third of the Ream National Park is made up of two islands, Koh Thmei and Koh Seh. Both of these have become great tourist destinations over the last decade as the government of Cambodia has allowed these two pristine and primarily untouched areas to become hotbeds for tourists looking for one of the most spectacular vacation spots on the planet.
There are five communes in the Ream National Park. This includes over 30,000 people that live in approximately 5,500 homes. The communes themselves, each reach into the park preserve, but do not intrude on the natural beauty of the park itself. Of the five communes, 13 villages actually have land that is in the preserve, while the other villages simply touch against the edge.
The park itself has a great many natural resources to it, especially related to the natural products that grow in the area. Trees, sap, and vegetables are the primary items that are used in commerce, but there are also rich soil, minerals, and animals that are part of the trade. Most wildlife in the Ream National Park is protected, and only excess to the protect the ecosystem itself is available for harvesting and sale.
Walk or Ride
The park entrance is located about 12 miles from downtown Sihanoukville. Phnom Penh is the entrance to the Ream National Park, where tourists can go right to the beach area. There is also a boat dock there where tourists and visitors can rent a boat to get around the area.
If you wish to get around the park, there are a great many pathways and trails that allow for easy access to virtually anywhere on land. Even on the two eastern islands there are pathways and trails all over these islands that allow you to walk and explore on your own.
If you want to ride around on a bicycle, these can be rented anywhere within Ream National Park itself. The same trails that are used for walking can be used for getting around on your bicycle as well. Most are dirt pathways, but they are quite sturdy and provide for an easy access to any place you wish to get to. There are even trails that go through the rain forest areas of the two islands, giving visitors amazing views of the wildlife of this tropical paradise.
By the entrance of the park, the Sun & Moon Gulf route as it has become to be known starts just a few hundred feet from the Sun & Moon Resort. This is a great place to find a bicycle to rent or to join a tour, either one on land or on a boat.
If you wish to take a tour of the park itself, you can join these tours for between $4 and $8. They are guided by a park ranger and usually last a few hours.
If you wish to rent a boat they cost about $65 per day, and the boats can hold up to five people. You can also join tour boats that charge either by the person or by the group. Group rates are quite similar to the boat rental, in that it costs $65 for up to five people to join a tour. If you have additional persons in your party, it is $9 per person additional.
On the tour boats, lunch is provided as part of the price of the tour. The lunch occurs either on the boat or on one of the island areas where you can relax on the beach while you enjoy some of the amazing local cuisine. The food is made fresh and is quite amazing to taste.
If you simply wish to go from the mainland to one of the islands you can catch a transport and stay for the day. There you can rent a bike, join a tour, or simply lay on the beach. Tour prices are from $4 to $8 and last between two and three hours. You will get to see the wildlife of the island, the village, and get some pictures of breathtaking scenes not found anywhere else on the earth. Transports run from 7 am to 4 pm each day, so you need to make sure that you catch your transport back or you will be paying additionally to come back with the resort staff.
There are also dolphin tours that are available from November to March of each year. These boat tours take you out to see the pods of dolphins that frequent the park area during this time of the year. These tours are really amazing as you come within a few hundred feet of these amazing animals. Many times the dolphins will come right near the boat so you can get a real close picture of one if you so wish. Attempting to pet them is not encouraged at all. The dolphins may confuse your hand for food.
What Can Be Found in Ream National Park
Ream National Park is home to some of the most exotic and spectacular animals on earth. In fact, there are several animals that are on both the threatened and endangered species list that can be found in this park. This includes the brahminy kite, but it is not the only one of these precious creatures that is fighting to avoid the extinct species list.
Endangered and threatened animals are not the only reason to visit this park. There are many other incredible animals to be found here, including the rhesus monkeys, turtles, dolphins, dugongs, pelicans, the Sarus crane, and mouse-deer. In fact, it is quite common to see a pod of dolphins swimming right near the islands of this park, providing one of the most spectacular encounters a person will have with nature.
Animals are not the only wildlife that people come to see. There are several forest areas, including some rather exotic forms of trees. One of the most well-known is the melaleuca forest. This tree became quite popular because of the oils that come from the tree. This oil became the basis for a whole line of cleaning products. The oil is quite a cleansing agent which kills bacteria.
There are two other huge forest areas that are of interest: The Mangrove Forest and the lowland evergreen forest. The Mangrove forest has several species of trees that can grow to quite substantial heights. There are also shrubs, bushes, and other plant life that is quite exotic to the rest of the world. It is truly an amazing place to visit.
For those who want to feel like a great explorer, there are trips up the rivers of the islands that you can join. They begin in the channels and actually go out into the ocean before returning to the river itself. You will see amazing views from deep within the forest areas, and get a glimpse of the wildlife of Cambodia that most can only dream of.
The walking tours are quite astounding. You will see the mountains of the park on the safari tour, as well as see small mammals, birds and insects. You will likely get a glimpse of a few monkeys while you are out on tour. While the park does not have large mountain areas, they still have some impressive waterfalls that are splendid to see. You will love the way the cool, clean water falls to the river below, and enjoy the overall scenery of this amazing tropical paradise.
If you are looking to get a little into the culture of the area, you can visit the Wat Ream Buddhist temple to see this ancient religious landmark. It is well worth the trip to see this as you will enjoy one of the simplest and yet majestic temples a person will encounter.
Time to Dine
Whether on the main shoreline or on one of the islands, there are dozens of food stands where you can find some of the most amazing food you have ever tasted. It does not matter whether you like a more fast food style of dining or finer dining style of food, you will find the perfect place to eat that suits your needs. There are different places to eat that provide the kind of food you are seeking, whether that is spaghetti, lo mein, or hamburgers. You will not be denied anything your heart desires.
Of course, there are several places that offer authentic Cambodian, Southeast Asian, and island cuisine for you to enjoy. You will find dishes that have been served in the country for centuries, which are made with ingredients that grow naturally in the region. This will provide your mouth with a succulent taste that simply cannot be beat.
Of course, being so close to the ocean, there is amazing seafood available for you to sink your teeth into. You will get to taste fish that is made to your liking, or try dishes that are commonly made by our chefs. You can even bring in your own catch and have it prepared as you desire. Shell fish are also prepared like no place else on earth. You will be incredibly pleased with the food you get to enjoy each day. The best part about it is that this seafood is fresh, caught anew every day.
At night there are luau style gatherings where you can join other visitors and locals in a nightly festival. Incredible dishes are served during this time, including fruits, vegetables, salads, and all kinds of meats and fish. Whether you are a vegetarian or a ravenous carnivore, you will find food that is way beyond what you could have imagined. You will enjoy every mouthful, but be careful. Too much of a good thing can lead to a lot rounder belly than you desire.
There are two primary guest houses that are found in Ream. One of these, Monkey Maya, is right on the beach itself, providing for an outstanding view each and every day. This hotel is just 15 minutes from the airport, and is on a virtually deserted beach for the most part. This means you are not going to be disturbed when trying to rest, giving you the perfect chance to just enjoy the sounds of the ocean.
The shuttle from the airport to the Monkey Maya cost $6 and they are ready to accommodate tourists, no matter what time your flight arrives. If you are in a large group, there is a boat that can take your entire party from Serendipity Beach Pier to the front desk of the Monkey Republic. If you are in need of a boat, please let the hotel know about this prior to arrival so they can ensure that the service is ready for you.
At the Monkey Maya there are two types of accommodations you can enjoy. The first is a private bungalow. There are five of these type of structures that are placed on the white sands just at the foothills of the Ream mountain. Each room has a double bed, its own bathroom, and a beautiful view of the amazing waters just beyond the beach area. There is also a balcony with each bungalow, but be careful. Sometimes the local monkeys like to enjoy the view as well, so take a look first before entering out onto the balcony.
There are bars and restaurants near the Monkey Maya for dining and nightlife. Each provides outstanding food and entertainment, plus you have an amazing view of the ocean from the dining area. During the day it is quite common to see dolphins passing by the restaurants. You will be amazed at all you get to view.
Dishes include Khmer cuisine as well as Western dishes. All the food is made fresh every day, with all of the produce coming from the local market. The prices are unreal as well. An outstanding meal that would cost $20 or more in Europe or the United States costs less than $4 there. You will also find beer and other alcoholic drinks served for less than $2.
There is not a local bank or ATM right near the beach area, so ensure that you bring a sufficient amount of money with you before entering bars or restaurants.
The Bangalo Samout if the other resort. Located less than 100 yards from the beach, this is a six house resort. It is located just outside the fence of the Ream Naval Base, and is one of the most beautiful views that a person will find.
The houses are all brand new, so they are in pristine shape. They all come with central air and satellite television. Each house has a private bathroom, one or two bedrooms, and each room has a double bed or queen sized bed in it.
Many like using the houses as their accommodations for a wedding. They have their entire group stay in the six homes while they are there, and make it a wedding-honeymoon. Contact the BangaloSamout well in advance if you are looking to rent all six homes for some big event.
Tourists staying here are able to visit and eat on the naval base, or they can go Ream beach for food.
The staff can speak English well, so you will not have a problem communicating with resort staff, park rangers, tour guides, or the customer service reps at rental places. Other languages are spoken as well, such as German, French, Spanish, and Chinese.
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