Betelnut Tours
About
Small, personal trips around Phnom Penh. Take a daytrip to the Phnom Tamao Wildife Rescue Center or spend 2 days in the countryside with a homestay, Feed and interact with a variety of rescued and endangerd animals at the rescue center or see some ricefields, go hiking near a waterfall and spend a night at our family farm. Both tours include delicious homecooked meals and everything else you need. The size of the groups is limited, to give you a more personal experience. The area around Phnom Penh is varied and offers many different sights besides temples and Khmer Rouge history that most people associate with Cambodia. We want to show you some of these happy places.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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Betelnut Tours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
241 reviews
Excellent
206
Very good
22
Average
5
Poor
2
Terrible
6

p3arlmoon
Australian Capital Territory, Australia10 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
We booked a group tour for 7 adults and 4 children ranging from 1 year old to 8 year old. Aram, our guide was very patient with us, especially when the kids stopped longer at different points. Aram's knowledge of the animals was really good. The food was plenty and tasty. We had a really good time. I would highly recommend the tour to Phnom Tamao by Betelnut tour.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alyssa M
10 contributions
Feb 2020
We went to Phnom Tamao with Aram last Saturday and had such a brilliant time. We were given a traditional Cambodian Krama at the beginning of the trip (a lovely takehome) and had an easy drive out to the wildlife centre. The rescue centre aims to return animals to the wild where possible once healed of their injuries. Overall its a great way to learn about Cambodian wildlife and Aram and Vathana have a wealth of knowledge on the animals' stories which makes the trip all the better! Highly recommend!
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

turtle63
Blenheim, New Zealand178 contributions
Aug 2019
We got picked up and went with 2 other people. The guide was fantastic, the lunch was awesome, the animals were all cool especially Lucky the Elephant!
It is a great way to see the countryside on the way there and back, we got to eat fresh peanuts roasted on the way from a roadside stall, they were great.
Brought some bananas to feed the animals and the monkeys jumped into our van and stole half them which was fun.
It rained but it was warm and we had umbrella so didn't matter.
I would recommend to anyone, kids would love it I think.
Written May 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

VeganPride
Florence, Italy12 contributions
Feb 2015 • Couples
Before we arrived at this center, we booked a tour with Betelnut Jeep Tours.
I'm sorry but I'm disappointed having visited this center.

I know that those animals are in danger and I trust in Wildlife Alliance that this center is just for recovering animals and not for making profit: but...

The park is huge, but cages for animals are too much small. When we arrived, all the animals were incredible hungry. I was a bit shocked for this reason.
Before visiting the animals, there were some young guys and girls selling some banans for the free monkeys and for other animals.

Crocodiles live in very dirty water (there were several plastic bottles inside) and I didn't like it at all.

Some monkeys in cage (with black faces) could give us their back (very strange that almost all of them could do this) allowing us to touch them.
Some monkeys were alone in the cage with a very sad expression in their faces.

We couldn't approach elefants. They were in two, under a hot sun, even without water in which they could swim in.

The young girl that guided us in my opinion was not a truly lover of animals. This is what I felt. When we approached to some animals to give them some fish, she had an unpleasant smile saying "oh, are you hungry?" without giving them not even a fish (the "attraction" was that we could give them the food...), while they cried very hungry.
In another talk she confirmed that she was very lucky, because that job gave her a lot of money that a lot of cambodian people couldn't reach.

When we came back to Phnom Penh with the jeep, she - naively or not - pointed out some pigs in cages saying "see, pigs!". You know, who really cares of animals, knows that ALL of them suffer and all of them want to be free living their lives as we do.

It's important to rescue animals in danger as much it's very important to give them enough space while they are waiting a possible (but not sure) reintroduction in nature.

Maybe I would have preferred to make a donation to Wildlife Alliance. This center appears more a zoo to my eyes.
Written March 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi VeganPride, I'm sorry to see you had a disappointing day. Most of the things you mentioned are that way for a reason. Maybe we should have been more clear about explaining why the things are they way they are. We will pay more attention to that. I'll explain some of the things here as well, so hopefully you can feel more positively about your day. - A few of the enclosures look small, but you have to remember that you are in Asia. For Cambodian standards, the enclosures are excellent. Most animals have more room than a lot of Cambodians do. Building bigger enclosures requires more money and since the park is run on donations, it's difficult finding enough money to do that. - I don't think any of the animals are hungry at the park. However, there are wild monkeys that hang around the arrival place that always want food. They come from outside the park from the forest and hang around there, because they know that's where people come and feed them. They also share (or steal) the food with the animals that are in the park. Since those are the first animals you see, I can understand why you get a bad first impression. - I agree that the crocodile enclosures are messy. Some of the local people throw plastic bottles at the crocodiles to get them to move. There are signs everywhere that warn people not to do that and there is a keeper walking around to discourage people, but that doesn't seem to stop them. The enclosures are cleaned regularly for that reason, but it always looks bad again soon after. Luckily the crocodiles don't try to eat any of the plastic. - With the monkeys that you can touch, I assume you mean the gibbons. Most of them have been kept as pets and are very used to people. They love to get attention from people. Because they are raised in captivity, they can't be released back in the wild anymore, they have to stay at the park. If you keep them away from people now, they would just be lonely. - All the elephant enclosures have a swimming pool inside them. They are near the back and you can't really see them from the fence. They can't be approached when they are inside (unless you do the behind the scenes tours), only when they are walking outside. - We usually do feed the otters, but as you could see, some of them were very fat. They get plenty of fish, but always want more. They are just greedy. - Also, I don't see how paying our guide a fair wage is a problem. I know that she loves animals. In fact, that is the reason why we hired her. When she is pointing out the way animals are treated along the way, doesn't say anything about her or her love for animals, but says something about Cambodian culture towards animals. It should make you appreciate the difficulties animals face here. Like you said yourself, most animals love to be in the wild, free to do their own thing. Unfortunately, this often isn't possible for many reasons. This place is a rescue center. Which means that the animals you see there are not the happy, healthy ones. Those don't need to be rescued. And since this is a rescue center, it can never turn animals away, because there is nowhere else for them to go. The place is improving all the time, but at the same time is also expanding and it's hard to keep up. But areas that are not so good are getting better. I hope you won't just remember the bad things you see, but can also appreciate the numerous ways in which the park is helping out all these animals. Thank you.
Written March 13, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

May K
Brisbane, Australia5 contributions
I read all the reviews after I found this tour online. Their website promised up close behind the scenes action and tells you not to come if you don't want to get dirty or elephant snot on you and we were so excited. All the reviews were great saying they got to see elephants paint or someone's kid swam with the elephant. It sounded so exciting.

We were picked up and when we arrived bought food to feed the elephants - which we never got do in the end so we just gave the keepers the food so they could do it later. While we did get to pat an elephant it was a let down after all the talk.

The number of animals was also very different to what reviews and the company led us to believe. Lots of wild monkeys and lots of gibbon monkeys but everything else is caged and good photos cannot be achieved through 2 rows of cage and wiring.

The tour guide himself was pleasant and knew the animals by name but struggled slightly with questions we asked.

Lunch was the highlight - the guides wife cooked the lunch and it was the best Khmer food we had in Cambodia.

To be honest overall the day was ok but slightly disappointing as the website and reviews made it out to be a more exciting behind the scenes up close and personal with rare and rescued animals when really a tuk tuk for 10$ bucks and the 5$ buck admission fee on your own would probably work out better because you could really see everything there in an hour or two max instead of a full day for 33$.

Written February 1, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi May, Thank you for your feedback. I'm sorry to see that you had a disappointing day. We always do our best to give people a good day. Unfortunately animal behaviour is beyond our control, which means that sometimes we are unable to do certain things, like feeding the elephant. As I explained that day, Lucky, the elephant, has been a bit naughty recently. Whenever she goes out walking in the forest, she wouldn't eat there anymore. Instead she keeps listening for our jeep and waiting to be fed. To teach her to eat again in the forest we are only allowed to feed her when she is back at the elephant enclosures again. We are not sure how long this behaviour will last. We are talking to the keepers to work out a new feeding schedule, to avoid problems like this in the future. I can understand your disappointment, because feeding (and spoiling) Lucky is one of my personal highlights as well. We want to make sure we can keep doing that. As for some people saying they saw elephants paint or went swimming, those are things that do happen from time to time, but cannot be planned. It's whatever is going on at the park on that day. I just want to make it clear that we never say you will see that either, it's just a nice bonus. Again, sorry for a disappointing day and I hoped the rest of Cambodia was better for you!
Written February 4, 2013
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jwlange78
19 contributions
There's not much advertisement for this trip, I just happen to hear about it from a fellow traveller, but I must say this trip is well worth the money. A jeep took us to the phnom tamao wildlife rescue centre, about an hour drive from phnom penh. The great thing about the centre is that you really get up close with these animals, that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. The animals were very well taken care of. My guide was friendly, funny and informative, and we were one of the only guests at the centre that day. Highlights for me were the tigers and feeding Lucky the elephant. I would recommend this trip, great way of spending a day while in phnom penh.
Written September 10, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Josefina
Montevideo, Uruguay77 contributions
Jan 2018 • Couples
Don’t be fooled!! This tour is not actually what they sell you in the website!!

It is a trip to the Zoo, with some monkeys and an elephant living around. Animals are in small cages and seem pretty sad, it doesn’t look like a rescue center. We went to other wildlife rescue center in our trip to Asia that were better than this, and actually cared about the animals.

The tour is not on a Jeep, but on an old smelly minivan. The van was at full capacity and the air conditioning poorly worked, the heat was unbearable.

Definitely don’t recommend it!
Written April 1, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Josefina, I'm sorry to see that the tour didn't live up to your expectations. I'm not sure what you mean that this tour is different from the website. We make it quite clear what is involved. No matter what you think, Phnom Tamao is a rescue center, not a zoo. All the animals there have been rescued somehow. Quite different then a normal zoo. There is no other place for the animals to go. While some enclosures aren't very big, for Cambodian standards they are very good. Most animals have more room then the local people have. And of course animals look sad sometime. If they are perfectly happy and healthy, then they don't need to be in a rescue center. We haven't used a jeep for 1,5 years now and our website actually mentions the trip is in a minibus. And it's currently the hottest month of the year, so there is not much to be done about the heat I'm afraid.
Written April 26, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

LagartoUy
Buenos Aires, Argentina14 contributions
Feb 2018 • Family
We were sold a 'wildlife safari' and discovered it was a tour to the local zoo.

We were taken in a smelly old van to the zoo - which is only about 40kms outside Phnom Penh - at a ridiculously slow speed (even when the road ahead was clear), so we took over an hour to get there. The van was completely full and had no air conditioning, which msde the experience less than enjoyable.

On arrival, we discovered that the alleged 'wildlife reserve' was in reality a zoo with all the animals in cages (except the macaque monkeys and two or three deer), something that our hotel had warned us of, but we had stupidly refused to believe. Though the animals seem to be in relatively good health, the spaces they are confined to are far from optimal and the state of the zoo is poor to say the least.

Whilst there we were pursued by locals trying to sell us anything from bananas for the animals to water.

Lunch was included, but we discovered that drinks were not. The tour operator's father-in-law (who is also the van chauffeur) tried to sell us cola cans for over twice the average local price.

And to top it off they refused to take us to our hotel on return, even though it was a mere five blocks from where they eventually dropped us off.
Written March 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Lagarto, I'm sorry to see that your expectations were so different. You said that you "were sold a 'wildlife safari'". I'm not sure who sold that to you, but our website makes it quite clear that's not what this tour is. It's a daytrip to a wildlife rescue center. All the animals there have been rescued somehow. That's very different then a normal zoo. If it looks like a zoo to you, that just means it's a really good rescue center! Lunch and water is included. The mixup with the cola cans is when you asked me to clarify the price. I thought you said 5 cans, but I later learned that you bought 7. So I gave you the wrong price. Sorry! And I did drop you off just down the street from your hotel at the end of the day. I initially declined since it was a bit out of the day, but since you were with a big group, I didn't mind anyway.
Written April 26, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

malnit
Canberra, Australia16 contributions
Mar 2015 • Couples
We booked an overnight tour with Betelnut tours, Phnom Penh, to head to the Kirrirom Mountains (the Kampong Speu Tour). The husband and wife team (Aram and Vathana) were incredibly friendly and helpful. We really enjoyed our two days with them, travelling to and staying in their farm house. Vathana is a great cook, and she cooked a great, typically Khmer, dinner for us, assisted in parts with her shy sister who stays on the farm. We enjoyed shopping for the dinner ingredients at the local markets. The stay in their farm house on stilts was quite an experience, with the farm animals housed below our sleeping quarters – we really got to experience the local life! Our lunch at the pagoda, was great, and so was our interaction with some of the local children.

Aram and Vathana were very accommodating in changing their schedule when we requested a visit to the Killing Fields rather than the Norak Borey museum. We enjoyed talking to them, and learnt a lot about life in Cambodia. In general great tour, and great hosts. Just be aware that the farm house stay is very basic but comfortable – almost a camping experience! Vathana – hope you and your sister have a safe delivery!

We were there in late February travelling as a couple and had booked directly with them. Highly recommended!
Written March 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

GailandDunc
La Herradura, Spain64 contributions
Dec 2014 • Couples
Definitely one of the highlights of our stay in Phnom Penh. We were lucky enough to visit Phnom Tamao wildlife rescue centre with Betelnut tours. On the day of our visit there was only one other couple on the tour so it was very engaging, personal and fun! Our tour guide Phors was an absolute delight. She knows the history of all the animals and can tell you all about their characters etc. we had lots of interaction with monkeys, gibbons, otters, deer etc. all the animals seem well cared for and loved. The trip costs 40 dollars which includes jeep transport, a free Kmer scarf, lunch and cold water throughout the day. And of course the company of the lovely Phors. I highly recommend this tour and am so glad we did not miss out on this on our trip to Phnom Penh, we absolutely loved the day.
Written December 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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