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Virachey National Park

Virachey National Park's mesmerizing beauty offers travelers with spectacular sights to behold that get etched in their hearts. If you are a nature lover and want to spend some quality time in the lap of Mother Nature, then you must pay a visit to Virachey National Park. There are many national parks in Cambodia which preserve the endangered animal species as well as several endemic birds, but Virachey National Park is the top-notch choice.

About Virachey National Park

One of the best national parks of Cambodia is perhaps the Virachey National Park. It covers an area of over 3,325 square kilometers (1,284 sq. mi). You will be glad to know that it is one of the two ASEAN heritage national parks. Virachey National Park is the home to umpteen tropical flora and endangered fauna. There are evergreen forests, bamboo forests, river valleys, and high grasslands too. Fauna includes gibbons, great hornbills, Asian elephants, pig-tailed macaques, and so on.

It rains a lot during the summers, while the winters are cool and dry. Located right in the middle of Stung Treng and Ratanakiri Province, this national park shares its border with Laos and Vietnam. The Cambodian Ministry of Environment takes care of the Virachey National Park.

Things You Can Do at Virachey National Park

There are many interesting activities which you can indulge in as you enter the Virachey National Park. Let’s have a look at all of them:

Kalang Chhouy Sacred Mountain Trek: The trek will take approximately three long days. You will get the opportunity to stay in a local village and camp near a beautiful waterfall. During trekking, you can come across different wild animals as well as behold the panoramic view of the forest.

Phnom Veal Thom Trek: This trekking takes whopping seven days as you start your journey from Phnom Veal and finally reach to the montane grassland. Experienced local guides will make your trekking an enriching and enjoyable experience. You will get to lodge in a village homestay. Also, you can accompany the rangers who are on constant duty to preserve flora and fauna of Virachey National Park. Indeed, this is the most popular trek of this national park.

Olapeung trek: During this trekking of 3 to 4 days, you can enjoy camping, walking beside the river, kayaking, and so on. You can bring solace to your mind and soul as you spend some quality time amidst the peaceful wilderness. You may also get the chance to taste the local wine as well as traditional Cambodian village cuisines. You will get to explore the rural Cambodian culture and lifestyle.

Things to Keep in Mind if You are Planning a Trip to Virachey National Park

•  Remember that the Virachey National Park is nothing but a dense jungle full of wild animals, reptiles, and creepy crawly insects. There are no basic facilities available. So you cannot hope for a clean toilet in the middle of the jungle. Neither any food joint will be there. So you have to come prepared accordingly. You can carry the following things along with you:

1.  A torch
2.  Insect repellent
3.  Raincoat
4.  Waterproof backpack
5.  Eatables
6.  Basic medicines
7.  Sturdy pair of boots
8.  Camera
9.  Power bank

•  You can relish on the jungle cooked meal which your guide may help you prepare.
•  If you want to enjoy a drink in the middle of Virachey National Park, then remember you have to bring it along after taking permission from the authority or ask your guide to arrange for the same.
•  Be careful as you may encounter some poachers and loggers and keep a safe distance from them. You need not meddle with their work.

How to Reach Virachey National Park?

The nearest city is Banlung, and to reach there from Phnom Penh, you need to travel in a minivan for 8 hours (483 km - $12-$15) or self-drive in a car for 7 hours 26 minutes ($40-$60). You can then hire a taxi or motorbike from Banlung, which is just 50 kilometers away from the national park. It will take around 2 to 3 hours that will cost you $50 for a round trip in a taxi and $25 for a motorbike for a day.

If you are somewhere near Siem Reap, then you can cover the distance of 355 km between Siem Reap and Virachey National Park by road in just 8 hours ($50-$60). Otherwise, you can take a one-hour flight ($93-$304) from Siem Reap and land on Pakse airport. Also, if you are planning to travel from Phnom Penh airport, then it will take 7 hours ($47-$85) to reach Virachey National Park.

Accommodation and Lodging in Virachey National Park

You can either enjoy camping on hammocks and tents during the trekking. But if you want comfortable accommodation, then you can stay in the hotels near the registration office of Banlung. You can also get to lodge in the homestays within the villages that come along the hiking trails.

Key Details That You Need to Keep in Mind

•  Visiting hours: 8 am to 6 pm
•  Phnom Veal Thom trekking fees: $207.50
•  Kalang Chhouy trek fees: $64
•  Olapeung trekking fees: $160
•  You can hire motorcycles to roam around in the national park.
•  Do not forget to put on trekking shoes and carry a sturdy trekking pole.

Before modernity exploits the pristine beauty of Virachey National Park or some animals get extinct because of the illegal poaching activities, set out to explore this amazing place.

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