- Irving Wallace
Ta Mao Zoo is a wonderful and interesting zoo, the largest in Cambodia which is located outside town and which is actually one of the further Phnom Penh attractions, sitting just inside picturesque Takeo province. The zoo is actually a single element of 'Phnom Ta Mao' - a mountain which has many temples around it (including the ruins of a temple from the reign of Suryavarman I at the summit) and a wide variety of wild nature, as well as the zoo. The zoo and it's grounds are protected under government environmental protection schemes, and a unique quality of this zoo is that unlike most zoos in the world all the animals are Cambodian and not taken from other countries. This goes hand in hand with the fact that there is a rescue center as part of the zoo where animals are cared for and then rehabilitated into the wild.
Within the zoo the selection of animals to view is impressive, with 84 varieties of animal and bird in total including native reptiles, lions, bears and 38 kinds of birds. Being located 45 kilometers outside of town also, the journey itself is very pleasant taking in delightful Cambodian countryside.
You'll have to pay to get out there by taxi or tuk-tuk, then the entrance fee to the site is only 1000Riel (US0.25)..
Anytime of the day is good, but in the morning many of the animals are at their most lively, or in the evening sunsets around the mountain are impressive. Inlcuding the journey out there, we'd advise allowing half a day.
Nearby are Tonle Bati lake or Phnom Da, or the many sites back in Phnom Penh town.
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