It might be the smallest nation in former Indochina, but Cambodia is leading the way in sustainable tourism. Boasting a largely rural landscape, and with around 20% of its land area under government conservation protection, the rolling out of ecotourism has been widely successful in Cambodia. For travellers who prioritise sustainability and minimising their carbon footprints, this southeast Asian kingdom will not disappoint. 

Sounds appealing? Check out the top eco-friendly activities on offer in the lush and charming nation of Cambodia.

Elephant Valley Project

An incredibly rewarding eco-friendly activity in Cambodia is getting up close to elephants. The Elephant Valley Project can be found in the heart of the northeastern province of Mondulkiri. Visitors enjoy watching these magnificent creatures bathing in the rivers and wallowing in the mud in the stunning forested hills of Mondulkiri.

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre 

The Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre is home to animals that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Visitors take a behind the scenes look at the rescued animals and observe how the centre nurtures and cares for its inhabitants. The animals that are saved by the facility are assessed for release based on their health, wellbeing, and ability to survive independently. 

Guests can participate in the ‘day in the life of a zookeeper’ programme, and experience other unique aspects of life at the animal centre, such as hand-feeding baby elephants.

Chi Phat

The Chi Phat commune was one of the first community-based ecotourism (CBET) initiatives to be launched in Cambodia. The commune is made up of four villages, Chi Phat, Komlot, Chom-Sla, and T’k La’o. Situated deep in the Cardamom Mountains in southwestern Cambodia, eco-conscious travellers can witness the rare flora and fauna that habitat southeast Asia’s largest rainforest. The Chi Phat community work alongside the Wildlife Alliance non-governmental organisation (NGO), to offer a range of authentic eco-friendly activities in Chi Phat.

Buffalo Trails

One of the best things to do in Cambodia for eco-conscious travellers is to experience the unforgettable buffalo trails. The tour guides are specialists in ecotourism and environmental education, and excursions are based around the beautiful Siem Reap and Tonle Sap Lake countryside. The tours were founded in 2009 and are ran by professionals who have in-depth knowledge about Cambodia’s history, its traditional way of life, and local families.

Virachey National Park

Another unforgettable sustainable activity in Cambodia is a visit to Virachey National Park. This breathtakingly beautiful national park is located within the provinces of Stung Treng and Rattaanak Krir. It is home to a wealth of activities and attractions, such as going on a guided excursion through the dense forests, trekking up the Kalang Chhouy Sacred Mountain, and exploring the wildlife at the Montane Grassland with a ranger.

The national park is also home to a community-based ecotourism site (CBET), which offers jungle camping and guided tours through the unique wilderness by well-trained guides. 

‘Dining for a cause’ in Siem Reap 

As well as being the gateway to Cambodia’s world-famous Angkor Temple Complex, the ancient city of Siem Reap is home to a wealth of restaurants and bars. For travellers yearning for a wholly different dining experience, then this beguiling city is the place to be. 

A selection of restaurants in Siem Reap provide culinary arts training to disadvantaged Cambodian youth. ‘Dining for a cause’ tours involve participants visiting the different culinary social enterprises, and supporting the education of at-risk youth, while enjoying some of the finest Khmer cuisine. 

Accompanied by an expert local guide, visitors can sample food and drink made from the finest local ingredients – including cocktails – while learning all about the organisation’s efforts and achievements in supporting disadvantaged youngsters in Cambodia. 

Tours include stopping off at an education social enterprise set up by a not-for-profit NGO that is committed to breaking the poverty cycle through education. Visitors have the chance to talk to the students about how the program has changed their lives. 

If you want any help arranging a memorable eco-friendly holiday in Cambodia, Blank Canvas can take care of everything for you. Plan your dream escape to this charming and tranquil nation with your very own Blank Canvas travel expert for a bespoke, and sustainable, travel itinerary.