Update: Cambodia has relaxed its Covid restrictions so add Cambodia to your must-visit list! Our behind the scenes tour at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre is an unforgettable experience, just a stone’s throw from capital Phnom Penh!
Here’s 5 reasons to book a 2022 Behind the Scenes tour at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre:
1. Walk with giants and create some elephant artwork
Do what you have always dreamed of, walk through the forest with rescued elephant Lucky. If she likes you enough after her walk, she might even paint a souvenir t-shirt for you! Hear how all of the rescued elephants came to live at Phnom Tamao.
2. Pileated gibbons, sun bear, clouded leopard, cute monkeys, smooth-coated otters, tigers and much more!
Learn about many different endangered species that are native to Cambodia and the pressures that they are under. Hear the rescue stories of the ambassador animals and hand feed them some treats!
3. Expert Tour Guides
Take advantage of the knowledgeable tour guides, who are there to make your experience unforgettable and answer any questions you may have. Let them know if there is a specific animal you are especially excited to see!
4. Exclusive Access to Cambodia’s biggest Wildlife Sanctuary
This tour is all inclusive of transport, food, drinks and anything else you may need to have a worry free day right from the city.
But don’t take our word for it! Check out our recent reviews on TripAdvisor
From the moment of pickup to the end of the tour, they made us feel most welcomed with amazing hospitality and helped us learn A LOT. Their knowledgeable guide and... read more passion and devotion for rescuing wildlife make this visit to Tamao zoo so unique and special. I was one of those expats who have already been there but didn't chose to go with them for the behind-the-scene tour, and found that this is completely different experience. Each and every one of the animals in the zoological park has its story and they share it with you and it completely changes your way of looking at the animal and gives you an insight into it and the issues around it. I went there with my 11yo and she loved it so much. Their friendly professionalism beat the teen's social barrier and inspired her on so many different levels, seriously! They are also very careful and considerate about Covid situation for you, their staff and animals. They wore a mask all the time except for lunch time, although I felt so safe during the lovely Khmer lunch in a local outdoor setting with a hammock. It was another unforgettable fun experience. I can't really recommend this tour enough!
178sachik August 20, 2021
I've had a great experience with the behind the scenes tour. The guides where incrediblely friendly and spoke perfect English. You can really see that your donation is well spend.... read more You can interact with some animals and the guides where able to tell the background story of each animal that lived in the sanctuary. It is absolutely worth it to set aside a day for this experience when you're visiting Cambodia.
384justienvb September 20, 2022
Perfect day at Phnom Tamao! The entire experience was organized from start to finish with pickup in Phnom Penh and A/C van driving us around the large zoo the whole... read more day. Interacted with elephants, tigers, and monkeys.... Super hands-on!! Lucky the Elephant painted our t-shirts (fantastic memento), we got to feed her (felt an elephant's tongue grabbing our watermelons!!), and watched zookeepers change an elephant prosthetic leg. It hit home how important and impactful the work Wildlife Alliance performs for these rescued animals. Special shout-out to Alicia and Samedy for their professionalism, their explanations, and making us feel so welcomed! I've been living in Phnom Penh for two years now and can say this is a Must-do!!!!
Ucenice July 24, 2021
Hands down the best way to spend a day in Cambodia. Wildlife, nature, it doesn’t get much better! I was able to get an up close and personal experience with... read more rescued animals and learn about their story from the incredibly knowledgeable guides. You can really tell that they are passionate about what they do which added to the excitement of the day. I’ve lived in Cambodia for a few years and hadn’t taken advantage of this gem. Elephants, Tigers, bearcats and bears! The list keeps going. Lunch and transportation were all arranged, I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I really can’t recommend this tour enough. The place is great, the staff are wonderful and the animals are well looked after. Definitely going again.
Q: If I do not have time to participate in the full tour, can I do a half- day tour?
A: Yes, we can arrange a half-day highlights tour if your schedule does not permit a full day! This works best if you can join in the morning and have until 12PM or 1PM at the center. This will ensure you experience our highlight activities before taking onward transport to your next destination! As the tour operates as a much needed fundraiser- providing the largest source of funds for our animals- we cannot offer discounts for half-day tours. Onward transportation is also at the guest’s expense, however we can help organize private taxis if needed!
Q.Why t-shirt painting?
A. Lucky used to paint t-shirts when the tour first started back in 2014. When she contracted EEHV, a life-threatening elephant herpes virus, we paused the elephant painting experience to allow Lucky to fully recover. We have recently reintroduced the t-shirt painting with Lucky as a form of enrichment to her day. All of Lucky’s training is and always has been conducted using positive reinforcement and this applies to the painting also. This means that, primarily, it is completely up to her if she doesn’t want to paint and secondarily, if she does paint then many yummy fruit treats are given as a reward. The activity only lasts around 20 minutes or so and she only does it when there are guests on the Behind the Scenes or Elephant Keeper for a day tours. We find that Lucky really enjoys the t-shirt painting and meeting the guests and is an exciting activity for her and the guests to enjoy together!
Q: Can I take my own transport and meet the tour at the center?
A: We prefer if guests join our tour van as the ride down gives our guides a chance to explain a little about Wildlife Alliance’s work and their own interests in conservation, as well as an opportunity to get to know the guests! We also stop at a local market to pick-up fruit for the animals before arriving at the center. As we drive between sections throughout the day, our guides also share information about the park! As morning traffic can sometimes be unpredictable, this can also result in guests arriving with their own transport having to wait for us.
Q: Do I have to join the ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour to visit the center?
A: No! There are other tours operating at the center and guests are welcome to visit independently. However, please note that these other options do not give access into our private areas to interact with our ambassador animals!
Q: How do I visit the center independently?
A: We recommend hiring a private car rather than a tuk-tuk as the drive to the center can be quite hot and dusty. A private car can cost 40-50USD for the full day. Ticket entry costs 5USD per adult, and 2.5USD per child. The car can enter the center to drive between sections, as enclosures are spread within 6000 acres of regenerated forest! At the ticket gate there are maps available to help you navigate the center, and you can also request a government-appointed English-speaking guide if there is one available for a donation of 15USD being the norm. They can share stories of the animals and ensure you see the park’s highlights as there is limited signage at the center. The center is open from 9AM-5PM and we recommend visiting in the morning as the animals are more active before the heat of the day sets in!