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Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia

Cardamom Mountains in CambodiaCardamom Mountains, called in the Khmer language Krâvanh Mountains is the "last frontier" of Cambodia, as they are virtually uninhabited and are not routed through with the big roads and highways. They are densely overgrown with almost impenetrable rainforest, these mountains occupy 4.5 million hectares, much of the south-west Cambodia, and then go over the border to Thailand, where they are called Soi Dao mountain, because of the western peek. 


Cardamom Mountains: The South

In the south, they meet with the mountains Damra (Elephant Mountains), here are situated the hill stations called Kirirum and Bokor where you can enjoy the cool in the shadow after the hours walk under the heat of the plains. This combined ridge cuts in the west the Koh Kong province from the rest of Cambodia. Peak called Oral’ has the height of 1813 meters and thus is the highest point of Cardamom Mountains and the highest mountain of Cambodia.

Wildlife and privacy of Cardamom Mountains for a long time made this place a haven for bandits and other people looking for a safe sanctuary. During the Khmer Rouge regime the mountains were flooded with thousands of refugees, most of them were killed, very few were lucky enough to move to Thailand. After the fall of the bloody regime in 1979, guerrillas of the Khmer Rouge army, in turn, have made these mountains their refuge. This is where the last base of the Khmer Rouge movement was located until it was completely destroyed in 1999.

Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia

Today, the cardamom hills are a place of peace and tranquility, but they are the least known and least visited areas of virgin rainforest. In 1993, King Norodom Sihanouk issued a decree to establish in this the region of two national parks, nature reserve of Samkos Mountains to the west and the Oral’ mountain reserve to the east. However, no infrastructure was prepared, and certain areas were identified only by air video recording.

Cardamom Mountains: Animals

In the Cardamom Mountains one can meet very rare species of animals. They are inhabited by at least 14 species of animals threatened with extinction. This is the Asian elephant, Indochinese tiger, Malayan bear (sunny bear, biruang), black-and-nodding gibbon, siamese crocodile and royal turtle. Pristine nature of the region was subjected to the threat of illegal lumbering, poaching and fires caused by slash-and-burn agriculture. All of this threatens the traditional lifestyle of aboriginal tribe Pear Negrito, the most obscure and not numerous ethnic group of Cambodia. 


Cardamom Mountains: Climate

The climate in the Cardamom Mountains is very humid because they block the south-west monsoon with a heavy downpour. The annual rainfall in some areas can reach 500 cm. Therefore the implications of this include lush vegetation of the local rainforest. In the lowlands the trees can reach  30 meters in height, allowing sunlight to penetrate to the lower levels of palms, rattan and giant ferns. Trees and vines are entangled with all sorts of tropical climbing plants. 

In recent years such isolation of Cardamom Mountains prompted the development of a tourist destination in the region. Here are sent the expedition from Koh Kong located on the border with Thailand and of medium Ambel (110 km north to Sihanoukville). Since these "adventure tours" are exclusively eco-friendly and aimed at preserving the environment, they should be of great benefit to the local population as well as the wild life of Cardamom Mountains. So, while visiting Cardamom Mountains, you should use the least harmful for the environment devices like cordless personal fans or portable solar electronics chargers.






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