Mount Aural: Cambodia’s Highest Peak
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Mountain Stats
- #1 highest peak in Cambodia
- Mount Aoral
- Phnom Aural
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Natural Form and History
Natural Mount Aural Cambodia - Natural history
Aural is the highest peak in Cambodia, sitting in the Eastern section of the Cardamom Mountains. The peak is located in Aural District, Kampong Speu Province, which makes up most of central Cambodia. Aural is approx. 150km away from the capital city Phnom Penh.
Natural Mount Aural Cambodia - Climbing history
This destination belongs to the Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary. Although most tourists may not be too familiar with Aural due its remote setting, passionate trekkers come to conquer the mountain, explore the ethnic culture, and cherish the primitive jungles. The Cardamom Mountain Range, in Western Cambodia, has great off-the-beaten-track hiking on offer.
Natural Mount Aural Cambodia - Current status
Mount Aural is not an overly popular climbing destination. The peak is relatively accessible, and tour service providers are easy to find in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Climbing Experience & Itinerary
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Climbing Experience
The terrain of Mount Aural can be split into 2 district sections; the dusty road and bamboo forests. The road takes an average of 2 hours to complete. It is a relatively pleasant walk which is not seen as a challenge to most climbers. The longest section, the bamboo forest is steep and requires good physical fitness to complete, especially if the weather is humid. It usually takes climbers 5 hours to walk through the dense forest before reaching the top of Aural.
The ascent starts with an uphill road which is used for the transportation of logs. The road is pretty dusty in the dry season and the elevation throughout this section is around 200 meters which is usually not too challenging for climbers. Watch out for trucks winding down the road at high speeds. The road becomes sludgy and sometimes slippery after rainfall. It takes an average of 2 hours for climbers to reach camp 1 from the beginning of the dusty road.
At the top of the logging road, climbers will reach camp 1 which is where the forest starts. Many animals have been spotted in the forest including monkeys, boars, bears, birds and several species of big cats including leopards and the Asian golden cat. Climbers are advised to carry insect repellent as mosquitoes in the forest can become a problem. The walk through the steep bamboo forest takes an average of 5 hours but most climbers choose to have an overnight stay at High Camp, breaking the walk in half, especially during times of hot and humid weather.
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Trail options
There is 1 main trail that leads climbers to the top of Aural. The trail takes an average of 6-7 hours of walking time to complete, with an overnight stay at High Camp before reaching the top, the next morning. Most climbers complete the hike without trouble since the terrain isn’t too challenging. However, the monsoonal climate can disrupt progress in the wetter months.
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Support facilities
Guides and porters
Food & water
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Safety & Accessibility
Heavy rains make the peak extremely challenging to climb during the wet months and many mosquitoes put climbers at a risk of contracting malaria. The drier months tend to be more hot and humid, especially around mid-day. The temperate during the dry months ranges from 20°C to 40°C while the temperate during wet season ranges from 15°C to 25°C. Most hikers choose to climb Aural from November to March, which are the drier months. Climbing during the dry months ensures an easier climb due to less challenging weather conditions and lesser mosquitoes and other insects. Although, the weather is still unpredictable even during the dry months and rainfall can still occur.
Malaria: Mosquitoes are mostly around during the wet season. Unfortunately, malaria is prominent in Aural and in the surrounding area. Hikers are recommended to climb Aural when there are less mosquitoes around, which is during the drier months. Climbers should always carry insect repellent and sleep with a mosquito net to minimize the risk of contracting malaria.
Heat exhaustion and dehydration: Climbers are advised to carry more than enough water to last them for the duration of the trip and to drink plenty of it. Heat exhaustion can be avoided by taking regular rests during the hike.
The Mount Aural hike isn’t recommended for solo travellers. It’s best to go in small groups.
Permits, Fees, and Regulations
Permits are not required to climb Mount Aural.
Tourist Police: 097 778 0002
Getting there and away
The Phnom Penh International Airport is the nearest airport. The preferred way to travel to the starting point is by taxi or privately hired car. Climbers can also choose to take several local buses although this will take several hours more.
The distance covered from Phnom Penh Airport to the starting point is around 150 km. Depending on the traffic coming out of Phnom Penh and the road conditions, the journey can take around 3 hours by road.
Be sure to discuss rates with guides beforehand to avoid any scamming.
Climbing Mount Aural Cambodia - Special Tips
Tips for amateur climbers
Hiring a knowledgeable guide is a great way to experience everything that Aural has to offer.
High Camp is a great place to meet fellow climbers, eat food around the fire and relax in hammocks (BYOH).
Tips for advanced climbers
There is not much in Aural to challenge advanced climbers.
Tips for women
Women travellers should avoid hiking alone. Note that, although Cambodia is considered relatively safe and hassle free, local women dress conservatively and doing the same may help avoid unwanted attention.
Tips for responsible / safety-conscious climbers
There are reports of a lot of illegal logging in the Cardamom Mountains, despite being a protected area. If possible, spread your tourism dollar towards businesses that are promoting an environmentally sustainable approach.
Tips for trail runners
If you’re super fit, you can attempt to climb Aural in 1 day.
We’re yet to hear about trail running events in the Cardamom Mountains.
Tips for nature lovers
Many animals have been spotted in the forest. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the monkeys, boars, bears, birds and several species of big cats including leopards and the Asian golden cat.