Cam­bo­dia has nev­er exact­ly been a hotspot for moun­taineers or rock climbers. The high­est peak only reach­es slight­ly over 1,800 meters and sport-climb­ing spots are vir­tu­al­ly non-exis­tent. But, hey, if you find your­self vis­it­ing the coun­try there are a cou­ple of spots worth check­ing out.

Mount Aur­al
Cambodia’s high­est moun­tain, Phnom Aur­al, reach­es over a mile into the sky and takes a cou­ple of days worth of trekking to reach the top. The thing about Cam­bo­dia is there’s a lot of stuff there that can kill you, both from nature and man. The tem­per­a­tures bounce between extreme highs and lows depend­ing on the sea­son and the mos­qui­tos are rav­en­ous and car­ry some dead­ly dis­eases like malar­ia. Trust us, you don’t want to catch that one.

There’s also the threat of land­mines to keep you on your toes. Over 64,000 land­mine casu­al­ties have been report­ed since 1979. Grant­ed, the coun­try has cleaned most of them up over the years, but there are still some pret­ty dan­ger­ous places in rur­al areas. Most climb­ing trips, includ­ing ones up Phnom Aur­al, require a guide who knows what to look for.

One of the coolest rea­sons for climb­ing Phnom Aur­al is the land­scape. It’s an extreme­ly remote area of the coun­try, vir­tu­al­ly untouched by man. You’ll trek through bam­boo forests, rice fields and a wildlife sanc­tu­ary with some of the country’s rarest species all around you. You’ll also get to spend a cou­ple of night out under the stars.

If you’re more a fan of rocks than moun­tains, Cam­bo­dia has recent­ly seen the open­ing of the country’s first offi­cial out­door rock climb­ing spot—Climbo­dia. Most of the routes at Climbo­dia aver­age some­where between 5.10a and 5.12 in dif­fi­cul­ty, but there are a few easy routes to keep the kids or begin­ners busy.

A lot of the routes are already bolt­ed, but there are still untouched crags where you might be able to cre­ate your own. We can’t imag­ine that’ll last long, though.

The climb­ing spot is locat­ed out­side of Kam­pot to the east and is pret­ty easy to get to. If you want to go, though, you’re going to have to pay. Climbo­dia is part of Phnom Kbal Romeas Nat­ur­al Her­itage Site and doesn’t allow pub­lic access. Indi­vid­ual climbers pay $10 per per­son for access if you’re not sign­ing up for one of Climbodia’s climb­ing pro­grams, and you prob­a­bly aren’t if you’re a seri­ous climber.

You’ve also got to wear a hel­met, which you prob­a­bly should be doing anyway.

It’s not a huge area, so if you get tired after a cou­ple of days climb­ing, they’ve got some oth­er awe­some activ­i­ties for you. The guides here are trained in abseil­ing, cav­ing, and via ferrata.

Due to safe­ty con­cerns and a desire to pro­tect the nat­ur­al wildlife, climb­ing in Cam­bo­dia is pret­ty restrict­ed. If you’re there explor­ing the area on vaca­tion and get the itch, these two places are your best bets. So few have done it before, that you’ll feel like a rock pio­neer on jun­gle routes.