Gibbon Spotting Trek
Treks run from 1st November to 16th June
This Cambodia adventure is simply an amazing experience for all wildlife lovers. You will get to see the incredibly rare Northern Yellow-Cheeked Gibbons in their natural habitat in the Ratanakiri province of Northeast Cambodia. This endangered species of gibbon, was only discovered in 2010. There are an estimated 500 groups at the site. This is the largest known population in the world!
In the west of Ratanakiri province, lies a luscious forest called Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area. This protected 550 square km area is home to this extremely important gibbon population. Your Cambodia adventure also offers the chance to see a host of other endangered species.
‘See Cambodia Differently’ in partnership with ‘Conservation International’ and the local communities have put together an exclusive one night gibbon spotting trek, the first of its kind in Cambodia.
This Cambodia adventure is a unique experience for enthusiastic wild life spotters and those who are interested in biology and nature conservation. Only very small groups of between 2-6 visitors are allowed to visit the site, making this an extremely special opportunity indeed.
*Please note that you will have to travel to the North-East province of Ratanakiri to participate in this activity.
Your Cambodia adventure begins at 7pm, when we will meet at ‘Terre Rouge’ hotel for a trek briefing. It is the first opportunity for everyone to meet the people on their trek and to run over the final details. All participants are required to sign a consent form, and are then free to enjoy their last night, before this amazing Cambodia adventure begins.
We depart from Ban Lung at 8:30am and travel 35 km north to Kachon village approximately 45 minutes away. In Kachon, a boat will be waiting to take you 12 km downstream, on the Sesan River, to Veun Sai town. On this journey you can observe the nature on the riverbank and the daily activities of the people who live along the river. We cycle about 30 minutes to I Tub village, a Laotian community approximately halfway to the Veun Sai-Siem Pang conservation area station. Once in I Tub, we will take a short break for lunch and meet with a member of the community-based ecotourism team.
At around 3pm we will arrive at the gibbon research station. Here you will be introduced to the station chief, scientists, researchers and your gibbon guide before being shown around the camp. You will have time to relax and make yourself comfortable, before walking to the nearby savannah for a spot of bird watching. An alternative on this part of your Cambodia adventure is to take out the mountain bikes and cycle around the forest paths. After this, you will sit down to an early dinner.
The night hike
At around 8pm, the Cambodian Gibbon Spotting Trek adventure starts in earnest. We go for an hour night jungle hike, equipped with torches. The canopy is home to many nocturnal animals such as the pygmy-loris (a small arboreal primate) and the civet (a small jungle cat). Close to the ground, it is much harder to spot other night animals; however with the torches the reflection of their eyes often reveals their location. You will then retire to bed at about 10:00pm. As the next day you will need to rise early to be awake well before sunrise.
Today we rise early at 3:15am because the gibbons wake up with the sun and call to mark their territory as soon as dawn breaks. At 4am, whilst it is still dark we following a small trail to the protected gibbon area, about 45 minutes away, to make sure that we are there in time to hear their call. We then reach the edge of a grassy savannah and wait for the call of a certain gibbon family, currently the only group that accepts people in their presence.
Once the habituated groups of gibbons starts to sing, your Cambodia adventure gibbon guide will try to locate them in the forest. He will guide us to the spot so we can watch them as they go about their morning activities, in the tree canopy. In some cases they let you come very close – less than 15 meters – which provides an excellent opportunity to take pictures. This is a special time as the gibbons can travel quickly in the trees and leave in a split second, anytime they want. Once they do, it can be very difficult for us to find them again, however the group can often be followed for a couple of hours throughout the forest.
After the gibbon spotting we head back to the station for brunch at about 10:30am. We then pack up and get ready to leave. We follow a different path through the jungle and head back to I Tub village. Again, the journey is part cycling, part walking. On the way, we visit a Chinese and Laos settlement and take a short walk around the village. It’s a nice idyllic village with friendly people and on certain days you will be able to witness traditional local weaving. We then continue back to Veun Sai town, cross the Sesan River by a small ferry, before stopping off for lunch at a restaurant that boasts beautiful river views. Our journey has now come to an end and we are picked up by car and travel back to Ban Lung arriving at approximately 3pm.
- All Meals
- Specialist guides and rangers
- 1 night at the jungle research centre
- Conservation and gibbon spotting fees
- Mountain Bikes
- Boat and Ferry costs
Pick up: At your Hotel
Duration: 1 Day