We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“NOT a zoo, it's a wildlife sanctuary”

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
Book In Advance
More Info
$121.00*
and up
Full Day Trip to Takeo Province from Phnom Penh
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: With over 1,200 animals including elephants, tigers, bears, gibbons, crocodiles and leopards, the wildlife rescue center is a fantastic day trip from Phnom Penh. Several all inclusive tours are available. The Behind-the-scenes tours with Wildlife Alliance allow access to private staff areas - tiger dens, nursery with the baby animals and an opportunity to be a human jungle gym for rescued macaque monkeys, elephant enclosure for hand feeding and watching gentle rewards based training as Chhouk's prosthetic foot is changed, and a personalized tour complete with rescue stories of the animals. This is a fundraising tour and 100% of profits go directly to the rescue, rehabilitation, care and release of wildlife. Tour information is shown above (see contact website and email). Volunteer and Bear Keeper for a Day programs are available with Free the Bears, allowing behind-the-scenes access with the sun and moon bears and profits go to their care. Check their website for more details. There are also several independent tour operators, or you can visit independently, although the centre coveres 6,000 acres and signs are yet to be finalised! Established in 1995 by the Cambodian Forestry Administration, the day to day running is now done in partnership with Wildlife Alliance, with specific animals cared for by other NGO's Free the Bears, Fauna & Flora International, Conservation International. Most animals at the center were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade by the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, a patrol team created by Wildlife Alliance in coordination with the Cambodian Government. Where ever possible, rescued animals are released back into the wild, or if release is not possible they are given a home at the centre for as long as needed. Many of the species are listed as Endangered or Vulnerable and now part of important conservation breeding programs or act as ambassador animals to promote conservation.
Oxford
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“NOT a zoo, it's a wildlife sanctuary”
Reviewed November 27, 2011

Drove me crazy that everyone we spoke to referred to this as a zoo, it's not, it's a sanctuary for animals rescued from poachers or smugglers or the restaurant trade etc.

We went there on a tour with Betelnut Tours (http://www.betelnuttours.com/index.html) and would not recommend going there any other way - they were excellent. It's a lot more expensive going with Betelnut than going on your own but it's worth every cent.

Our Betelnut guide was Vathana and she's very friendly and chatty and has excellent English. She's worked at the sanctuary and knows her way round and the background of all the animals (it's not a well sign posted 'zoo' I think you'd be completely lost if you went yourself). With the tour we saw and learnt loads and highlights include: tickling a friendly gibbon who used to be a pet, a lovely cooked lunch, behind the scenes with the tigers, gorgeous rescued bears with paws missing, and feeding the elephants.

It was excellent and I only wish they promoted themselves more as a sanctuary because I think a lot of people are suspicious of going to a 'zoo' but these guys are doing really great work and Betelnut need to do tours daily and not just twice a week!

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
16 Thank Jen_Abingdon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

716 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    440
    143
    78
    40
    15
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Canberra
Level Contributor
50 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“A wildlife sanctuary worth supporting”
Reviewed November 14, 2011

Phnom Tamao is one of my favourite day trips out of Phnom Penh, and is well worth a visit if you are looking for something to do with a spare day. Its main function is as a refuge for animals rescued from poachers, but it has also become an interesting public zoo as the number and variety of animals has grown (and is likely to continue to grow, given the ongoing problem of wildlife poaching in Cambodia). This would have to be one of the better zoos in Asia, as the enclosures are mostly clean and give the animals a reasonable amount of space.

The highlights for me were the huge and impressive tigers, and Chouk the elephant with a prosthetic limb. Chouk was apparently rescued as a calf from a poachers snare, but not in time to save his infected foot - however, thanks to Wildlife Alliance and an Australian vet, he now has a replacement leg... and seems to get around very happily on it! You can buy a bunch of bananas for a dollar or two and feed Chouk and the other elephants, but be warned that a single bunch doesn't last very long when given to a hungry elephant.

The zoo layout is easily to follow - there are three main enclosure areas to walk through, but if it is hot (as it mostly is) you may prefer to drive between those three main areas. The enclosures could do with a few more signs, although you are likely to pick up a local schoolkid as a guide whether you want one or not (they are quite insistent) so the lack of signs shouldn't be a problem. It is worth settling a fee for your guide in advance - a few dollars will suffice.

Phnom Tamao is around 45 minutes' drive south of Phnom Penh. It can easily be combined with a trip to one of the nearby rural Wats (such as the quaint Wat Neang Khmao - literally 'Pagoda of the Black Girl'), or the impressive pre-Angkorian hilltop temple of Phnom Chisor. Note that it is definitely worth paying the extra few dollars for a car rather than a tuk tuk, given the distance and less than perfect road.

It is also worth noting that the park entrance fee supports ongoing animal rescue activities - so your pleasant day out will also help a noble cause!

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank Rovermatt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
61 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Wonderful Rustic Wildlife Park”
Reviewed October 23, 2011

We very much enjoyed this park. We had very little idea what to expect we arrived at the park and greeted by many young Cambodians wanting to be our tour guide and selling us food for the animals. We were taken around and we chatted about each type of animal - and there were lots! Everything from tigers, gibbons, parrots, elephants, iguanas you name it was at the park! We really liked the sun bear inclosure's run by a lady in Australia. This is very relaxed park many of the animals you where able to touch and pat (not sure if this is a good thing) our guide seemed to know which animals where friendly at least. Over all very well worth the day trip, highly recommend to anyone. If there are more than 2 people in a tuktuk i recommend to hire a car, the road is VERY bumpy. Ladies wear a good bra if you arrive by tuktuk.

Visited November 2010
Helpful?
3 Thank Bonniemccarthy29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greater Munich
Level Contributor
106 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 219 helpful votes
“A noble concept and a decent zoo.”
Reviewed August 25, 2011

Phnom Tamao Zoo is Cambodias largest zoo and wildlife rescue centre.
Many taxi and tuktuk drivers in PP have it on their itinerary (day trip).
But is it worth a visit?
Location:
It’s some 40 kilometres south of Phnom Penh in Tro Pang Sap village, Takeo province.
Getting there:
The zoo is off National Highway 2 leading to Takeo. It’s at least an hour ride from PP downtown and will cost you between 25 and 35$ depending on the vehicle and your negotiating skills. Road conditions vary between fair (along the Highway with heavy traffic) and bumpy. We’ve gone there by tuktuk but wouldn’t recommend it. The final stretch is a dirt road of 6km length with many beggars crouching alongside. Especially elderly and stunted people. They throw water on the road and want you to make a donation in return. Due to the sheer amount of beggars this makes a rather peculiar sight. But even with the best of intentions you simply can’t stop every 50 metres to give money. Call me a wimp, but that scenario was actually the part of the trip I remembered most lively...
Cost:
They’ll charge you an entrance fee of 6$.
On the spot:
Phnom Tamao Zoo is a weird mixture of sanctuary, wildlife refugee and drive-in zoo. Yes, you actually drive through it. Of course you can walk. But the distances from one enclosure to the next are pretty far. Well, we’ve walked it anyway. With heaps of children on our side trying to sell us food for the monkeys, or souvenirs, or both.
They have a lion, tigers, elephants, monkeys, birds, snakes and after all bears. Most of the animals had been confiscated from illegal traffickers or rescued from poor living conditions. You have probably heard or read about ‘Save the Bears’ or ‘Animal Asia’. Phnom Tamao Zoo gives some of these creatures a new and dignified home. Thumbs up for that.
Anyway, the cages are large, well-kept and clean. Those of you who compare it to a western-style zoo or Singapore Zoo might be disappointed. But in relation to the many horrible Asian zoos I’ve seen before it’s a paradise.
Bottom line:
I’ve rated it four stars because I like the concept, the enclosures and because it’s a really nice zoo in SE Asian terms. But keep in mind that there’s only a small amount of animals. Together with the long and strenuous drive the visit should be well-considered.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
5 Thank Chris_and_Jas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center also viewed

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
 

Been to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing