Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Cambodia's Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
Our latest trip to Asia kicked off with a 5-day stay in the western Cambodian city of Siem Reap, gateway to the famed World Heritage-listed Angkor Wat temple complex. We spent a couple of days wandering around these wonderful ninth-Century ruins, visiting not just Angkor Wat but other temples including Bayon, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and Neak Pean.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
Not too many bird were about but the highlight was good numbers of Hainan Blue-Flycatcher, a species that had eluded me until now.

Hainan Blue-Flycatcher
Blue Rock-thrush was plentiful.

Blue Rock-thrush
Lineated Barbet was also common.

Lineated Barbet
Another nice find was several Forest Wagtails along the forest paths at Angkor Wat. The huge numbers of tourists here and elsewhere around the ruins are nowhere to be seen on the quiet paths through the forest patches that surround the temples. This image was the best I could manage.

Forest Wagtail
I flushed a bird in the forest at Angkor Wat which could only have been a male White-throated Rock-thrush. My favourite temple was Ta Prohm, where a scene was Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed. The way the huge figs and other forest trees are reclaiming this site is quite spectacular.

Ta Prohm
The Angkor site is huge and ideally two visits should be allowed.

Little Grebe
This Little Grebe was spotted near Neak Pean Temple, which is surrounded by wetlands. The rainy season ended recently in Cambodia so there is plenty of water about.

Bayon Temple
No shortage of beautifully intricate carvings on temple walls.

Temple carvings
We stayed in a nice boutique hotel in the heart of Siem Reap, with plenty of ambience and good food about.
Siem Reap Hotel
Siem Reap market
Our balcony overlooks a patch of wetland and forest with birds including Grey-eyed Bulbul, Plain-throated Sunbird, Taiga Flycatcher and Asian Brown Flycatcher.

Plain-throated Sunbird
Nearby is a large colony of Lyle's Flying-Foxes in the city centre.

Lyle's Flying-Fox
We visited the Landmine Museum outside Siem Reap. Ex-Khmer Rouge soldier Aki Ra set up this facility. He has personally removed 50,000 land mines, some of the 3-5 million left in a country ravaged by decades of war. Aki Ra explains in this missive about what it was like as a 10-year-old who was forced to join the murderous Khmer Rouge.

Land Mine Museum


  1. I hope your trip included a visit to nearby Prek Toal where many rare birds can be seen. At Angkor Wat I especially enjoyed spotting Black Bazas, Besra, Green-billed Malkohas and the Red-breasted Parakeets dropping figs on tourists at Ta Prohm.

  2. Thank you for the comprehensive information. It should not be confused between Angkor city and Angkor Wat temple. I think Angkor city was built by Surya II, but not Angkor Wat, which was built by his successors..