From the moment of pickup to the end of the tour, they made us feel most welcomed with amazing... read more
From the moment of pickup to the end of the tour, they made us feel most welcomed with amazing... read more
Hands down the best way to spend a day in Cambodia. Wildlife, nature, it doesn’t get much better! I... read more
We visited with the Wildlife Alliance tour team. The staff were great and the behind the scenes experience you get with them is unforgettable. I'm very conscious of animal welfare and it was clear that the wildlife alliance staff take excellent care of the animals with limited resources. A great course worth supporting.
Thank you Robin for supporting our conservation work and for leaving us a review! We are very fortunate to have such dedicated staff here at PTWRC and we are happy it shows through on our tour. Know that your tour donation is going directly to helping the animals - We can't thank you enough for your support!
I am usually pretty quick on the ball with writing my reviews after I have been away on a trip but this one was a tough one.....I mean how does one put into words an experience that was beyond imagine, an experience that exceeded anything I have probably done in my life, an experience that every animal lover should see......
My husband and I went to Cambodia just recently for our 15 year anniversary. We had heard about the Wildlife Alliance Animal Sanctuary outside of Phnom Penh from others that had gone and was told that for animal lovers and conservation seekers, it was a tour not to be missed. We wanted to go all out on this one so paid for the VIP tour which included many behind the scenes experiences that regular admission would not get. The money would also go 100% to help the animals which trust me, every bit helped.
We were picked up at a central location in Phnom Penh by our tour team, Kate and Vuth and lucky for us, we were the only 2 on the tour (I like to ask about a billion questions). The drive up to the sanctuary was about an hour – we had just arrived in Cambodia the night before so this was our first look at the city and country life. We stopped off at a local market to buy some fruits (treats) for the animals we would be seeing. We offered to pay but it was covered by the tour. Kate also treated us to some grilled banana and Vuth got as a sweet deal on some local beers. Seeing the market was an amazing experience as this was a first for us being newbie’s to the area. As we drove up to the sanctuary, Kate gave us a rundown on what they did there and showed us pictures of some of the animals they had helped rehabilitate – the before shots were so disheartening, but the after shots were truly amazing. What amazed me was that no animal was ever turned away – they would get animals that were being sold on the black market, animals that were getting too close to human civilization, animals that were illegally kept as pets and animals that were being held captive in rotten zoos or amusement parks. Of course their continued battle with poachers was an ongoing fight.
If you read other reviews about this sanctuary, you will no doubt read about Lucky the elephant. She is a show stopper!. She happened to be on her daily walk with her “walker,” just out and about leading the way as her “walker” would follow behind. We saw her up in the distance and as we slowly approached her she got wind of our presence (and treats) and I have to tell you, there is no other experience out there like having a 17 year old elephant running up to the car like a dog would run up to you when you got home. She knew her treats were there and when Vuth rolled down his window, she had no issues sticking her big trunk in the car. Not once did we feel threatened or in danger – she knew her size well and just continued to run around the car until we pulled over to stop. When we got out Kate told us about Lucky’s story and why she was there. We got to feed her fresh watermelon and bananas. She was a cheeky girl – very crafty at getting the fruit from our hands. I felt very safe being close to her – I hugged her and put the food right into her big mouth. Oh yes there was drool but so worth it. We spent a LONG time just being with her. When we got back in the car to leave, she ran up to the front of the car and wiggled her bum at us – her poor “walker” had to run after her as she was all over the place – a true experience.
We then went to the elephant sanctuary and met Jamran, (their other female elephant) and Chouk, their young elephant that had a prosthetic leg. Chouk’s story was a sad one – he was found with his leg caught in a trap when he was just a baby. I laugh at the thought that I come from a “developed” country where when we see animals in distress, it is easier to just shoot them to “put them out of their misery.” Chouk’s story is different in that the alliance went far and wide to find a solution to Chouk’s amputated leg. They eventually contacted a school to develop a prosthetic leg specific for elephants – something never done before and it was a success. The school is now making prosthetic's for other sanctuaries across Asia.
As we continued on our tour, the thing I noticed the most was that I felt like I was in the jungle – this is not a zoo – the enclosures are not cleared out and designed for people to look through gates at animals – the purpose for this place is to rehabilitate and release back into the wild. Each enclosure was massive and sometimes we could not even see the animal that was supposedly in there. Every effort was made to make sure that human contact would not affect the animal’s abilities to go back to its world. Yes they have animals that for one reason or another are not able to assimilate back into the wild but then that just means they have a permanent home at the sanctuary. I asked if they were ever in fear of running out of room and Kate said no – it would never happen – they have so much space still available to them that has not been used. I like knowing that their success rate of assimilation is so high.
We continued on with the tour being allowed in the behind the scenes enclosures for the leopards and tigers – we learned about the reasons why they were there and the psychology of what went in to bring them back from some horrible situations. We met Preah, a female gibbon who was an abused pet and hated locals but loved foreigners (and getting her feet massaged). She was a loner and would never assimilate back into a gibbon family as she was abused too much. We also met another gibbon that hated foreigners but loved the locals. One tiger we met, we were told not to look straight into his eyes because he would consider that a threat – there was so much knowledge and understanding from the people who worked there. I must admit walking around the monkeys was another highlight – not often do you say “watch out for a monkey tail” as you are walking because they were EVERYWHERE. We also had a good laugh watching them climb up trees and belly flop into a large pond they had there. We saw animals that are so on the verge of extinction that I know we will never see them again - Pursat the hairy-nosed otter was one and we saw this gold moon bear from the bear sanctuary that was unlike anything I have ever seen before.
We were treated to a beautiful local lunch and had siesta time in hammocks.
After we went and saw the area that new animals are brought in (another perk of the VIP tour) – they are assessed here and go into quarantine for a specific time. We did not see many as some were so scared that they would just hide in their boxes. Here we met a baby monkey that had been attacked by another animal and had major brain injuries from it. No animal is turned away so they performed brain surgery on him and he was doing fine – kind of looked like Frankenstein but cute as a button. We then got to go into a monkey cage and feed the babies by hand – was a dirty experience – being jumped on by 15 monkeys but such a perfect way to end such a perfect day.
Not once during the time we were on the tour did we feel that we were being pushed for money or sponsorship. It was a tour about knowledge and seeing animals that you normally don’t see. The interaction alone was a highlight. When you can see the good that people do for animals – it is hard to believe that there are so many evil people are out there that would want to hurt them.
Trust me – if you love your animals – please go -
Wow, thank you so much for writing such an informative and positive review of your day on our ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour! Spending the day with you guys was a lot of fun right from the get go. It is always great to see and feel the excitement when our guests connect so strongly with the animals! Know that it is the generous support of guests like yourselves make our conservation work possible, so thank you, cheers and happy anniversary to you!
If you are ever back in Cambodia, please come and visit us again!
If you are an animal person this is the tour for you. Initially i was put off by the price but my friend read all the reviews and convinced me it'd be a good idea to go! Just as well as it was one of our favourite days in our 3 week travels of South East Asia. We had up close experiences with elephants, gibbons and macaques. We were given the stories about each of the animals by our guides Nikkie and Vut, they were sure to elaborate on the parks objectives and the struggles and steps forwards in animal welfare and care. It was really something to be taken round the park and be given the story of this place, especially when surrounded by such poverty. The park itself seems to provide jobs to the locals, and income to the area which is nice to see. It was lovely to Nikki implementing enrichment to the long term animals and educating the zoo keepers.
The day itself started with being picked up from Phnom Penh and driven about an hour out to the Park, the trip felt short with Nikki providing conversation and making us feel welcomed. There was unlimited water, which was necessary as we would've dehydrated without it! Each animal interaction was unique and fun, nothing that you'd ever be able to experience in Australia without paying top dollar! Lunch was simple and tasty with some vegetarian options, it was shared between the group by the hammocks, made us feel like we experiencing the local life in tiny snippets which really added to the day. Our favourite part was our animal interaction with the baby macaques, inquisitive little beings!
I highly recommend this to people who are looking for an ethical and fun animal experience! All the money from the tour goes back into the park.
I'd personally like to thank Nikkie and Vut for being so welcoming and generous with the animal stories and their own experiences which led them to the park. It added to a well rounded and fun tour.
Thank you for your positive review of our behind-the-scenes tour! Our baby macaque experience is often a highlight of the day for both our guests and our staff! We are happy you had so much fun! I know Niki and Vuth would have enjoyed their day with you too- I will pass on your kind words to them directly. Thank you for your generous support, it is because of individuals such as yourself that our conservation work is possible!
Behind the scenes tour is a great experience for anyone with the slightest interest in animals and their welfare.
The staff posses a keen passion for the animals they work with and for the organisations objectives.
I hope they flourish and succeed in their endeavour.
Thank you so much for your kind words, I will pass them on to the team!
Safe onward travels!
Firstly be sure to book the 'back of house' tour, even though it costs US$150 it is well worth it. You will get up close and personal with Lucky the Elephant and numerous other animals and learn so much about these wonderful animals. I won't spoil it for you by rambling on. You will also get some wonderful 'selfies' that you may not be expecting.
It is only one and a half hours from the pick-up point (Caltex Star Mart at the corner of Monivon and Mao Se Dong Blvds) and the return journey is only an hour. Travel is via an air conditioned minivan with Cambodian style lunch and drinks provided in a relaxed setting. Vut and Kate were both wonderful and very knowledgeable.
And the other great thing is your fee is going towards a great cause, particularly in an under developed country where animal welfare is not high on the agenda.
Go make your booking !!
Thank you Peter for taking the time to write a review of our tour! Vuth and I loved introducing you to our rescued animals and sharing their stories. Know that 100% of your donation goes straight back to the animals! Thanks again for supporting our conservation work!
So this place is far from the main city and don't make my mistake of taking a tuk tuk all the way cause the heat and the dust will exhaust you if not the slow pace of travel. You should combine Tonle Bati along with this to make it a complete day trip.
The place is nice and big cages for rescued animals, there is a decent collection of animals to look at, try and get here early as if its a hot day and in the afternoon most likely most of the animals would be hidden in the shade. Its a lot to walk around and if your lazy maybe check if there is a tuk tuk to drive you around.
The most thing that I remember from the trip was my lunch there, it was a experience to sit in these shed like structure and have freshly cooked meal made by the local, yes there are a bit of fleas around to put you off but the food was amazing and the experience was even better. Best if your in a group to enjoy this experience.