Kirirom is the little visited not sure what to do with National Park.  Time will tell whether it turns in to a Bokor nightmare, whether it keeps its abandoned charm or whether it develops into something entirely different.  For the moment though, Kirirom remains one of the most pleasant biking and trail-walking sites in the kingdom!

BIking trails on top of Kirirom Mountain
BIking trails on top of Kirirom Mountain

Directions

Kirirom (Preah Suramarit Kossamak) National Park can be accessed off of national highway 4 from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville.  The turnoff is roughly 80km from the Phnom Penh airport and 140km from Sihanoukville. After the turnoff, it is 10km to the intersection of roads that branch to the mountain top, Kirirom Hillside Resort, or Chambok village. Chambok is another 10km along an unpaved road to the north (entrance fee $3 for foreigners or 1500R for locals). The top of the mountain is accessed by heading west and there is an entrance fee of 3500R (local) or $5 (foreigners). It is another 10km up the mountain which is easy in a vehicle and a tough workout by bicycle.

Walkway down to the Kirirom waterfall picnic area
Walkway down to the Kirirom waterfall picnic area

Transportation

Cycling in Kirirom National Park is by far the best way to see the mountain top but this makes transportation from Phnom Penh more complicated. There is no public transportation to Kirirom, so the easiest way to travel is by personal vehicle. Another option is to hire a personal van ($60-80 each way) which is good for a group of 5 to 7. The third and cheapest option (around $5) is to take a shared van (leave Daeum Kor market, just north of the Monireth / Mao Tse Toung intersection in the early morning) or bus (several companies) from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. Get them to drop you off at the highway 4 turnoff (big concrete sign). All these methods can get you and your bike to the park. The latter option involves cycling up the mountain yourself which is a challenging uphill ride (2-3 hours).

If exploring by foot, it is possible to take a motodop (moto-taxi) from the highway 4 turnoff all the way up the hill or to Chambok. If you are a passionate about walking and bird-watching, this could be a good option but be advised that distances are quite far on the mountain top by foot and it is easier to have a vehicle or bicycle. Chambok and the Hillside Resort rent bicycles and arrange activities so these places might be better if you want to come with out much preparation or equipment.

Hike to the Summit of Kirirom - Phnom Dat Chivit
Hike to the Summit of Kirirom – Phnom Dat Chivit

Food

Food is a bit of concern on top of the mountain. There is really only one serious restaurant, located at the only guesthouse (Kirirom Resort). There are a couple other food stalls, but other than that, there is no market or shop selling anything other than snacks and water. It is not a bad idea to bring some food, especially if planning to camp or venture further out into the park.

Kirirom Lookout from the Visitor's Center
Kirirom Lookout from the Visitor’s Center

Various Areas of the Park

There are three main areas to Kirirom: Chambok village, the mountain top national park, and the Hilltop Resort. Chambok is a community based ecotourism project where the community can arrange activities (hiking, biking, swimming, ox-cart rides, tours) and lodging (guesthouses or home-stays. There are also several small restaurants and the best waterfall in the park. The top of the mountain is pleasant, cool and scenic, but services are extremely limited (perfect for independent exploring).

Efforts to start tourism a few years ago have slowly eroded away to the point where there is almost a complete lack of information and rarely anyone ever operating the visitors centre. Contrary to the name, the Kirirom Hilltop Resort is at the bottom of the hill, complete with UFOs and dinosaur statues and the only real resort in the area. They have many organised family activities like tennis, horse riding, swimming, canoeing and fishing.

The Map

The first and only Kirirom Travellers Adventure Map

Click map for larger view

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