Kirirom National Park: 16 Aug 2003


Village by the Road

My first excursion out of Phnom Penh was an overnight visit to Kirirom National Park. Our party of five left Phnom Penh towards the southwest on Highway 4, then turning northwest onto Road 46 towards the national park. This small village of a few houses was on the roadside on Road 46.


The Simple Life

The houses are simple structures, built from wood and palm fronds.


Friendly People

The Khmers are by nature very friendly people. They are most willing to pose for a photograph when asked.


Walls & Roof

A young lady was in the process of making more "straw tiles", either for the walls or roofing. Dried palm fronds bend at the middle and tied with raffle to a wooden stick as the spine.



Tomoko doing a dance for the villagers ?


Forest Produce

Taken from the forest and sold on the streets... and this is within the national park mind you! Wild flower made into wreaths, potted orchids, staghorn ferns, pine cones, bracket fungus, and more... all taken from the forest and bought by the passing tourist.


Flower Shop

A simple table by the road is all it takes to sell flowers from the forest.


Park Roads

The major roads of the park are paved... well... sometime back at least. Now what's left of this road is broken tarmac. Kirirom National Park lies in Kompong Speu Province, and abuts Koh Kong Province. It covers a total area of 35,000 hectares.  The park is centred on the 700 m Kirirom Plateau, and is renowned for some 13,000 hectares of Sumatran pine forest, the largest of such in Cambodia.



The Kirirom Restaurant and Guesthouse is our home for the night. Perched on a high point, the restaurant offers great sunset views of the pine forest and mountains from an open deck eating area on the roof.


Vista Afar

This viewing platform is at the park's information center. It gives a view of the forest below and a nearby lake.


Summer Palace

This is what's left of King Sihanouk's former summer palace and home. Devastated during the Khmer Rouge, only the chimney and the building's foundations can be seen today.


Sumatran Pine

Pinus merkusii

Found in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, Philippines, and Indonesia (Sumatra). A truly unique pine tree... It has the most southerly distribution of any pine, and is the only pine occurring south of the Equator. It is found at elevations of 800 to 2000 m, usually in open areas that are frequently burned by native people.



Kirirom is a high altitude plateau which forms the headwaters for numerous streams feeding Kompong Speu Town. The area has numerous lakes, rivers and waterfalls. The trail we hiked took us from the Park's Information Center to a small lake.


The Trail

Kirirom is known to be landmine free, so it offers great potentials as a hiking destination.


Disappearing Light

The vista at the Information Center faces westwards and hence has a great potential of great sunset views. Unfortunately this evening was overcastted with thick dark clouds and thus the opportunity for a great sunset was lost.


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