Caves of Cambodia

by Liz Price

There have been few caving expeditions to Cambodia. The best studied area is in Battambang province in northwestern Cambodia. This is the largest karst area. Another important area is in the south around Kampong Trach and Kampot. A third area which is north of Stung Treng has not yet been investigated. There are other limestone areas according to geological reports, but none have been studied by spelaeologists.

The reasons Cambodia has not attracted spelaeologists in the past are due to the instability of the country resulting from wars, the Pol Pot regime and also the dangers from landmines. Pol Pot’s insane regime during which thousands of Cambodians were killed only ended in December 1978. A civil war then followed for the next 20 years. Thousands of mines were planted, along roads, in rice fields, in fact almost everywhere. Thousands more Cambodians died from the fighting and from the landmines. Peace only resumed in 1991 when King Sihanouk returned.

Cavers then started visting the country. At the end of 1995 a German expedition led by Michael Laumanns looked at caves in Kratie and Kampot. In 2004 I went to Cambodia as a tourist and went to the “Killing caves” at Battambang. In June 2008 I joined a small scale expedition of 3 led by Michael Laumanns to explore the caves and karst of Battambang province.

More recently it was hoped there would be a trip to Stung Treng area, but this is still in the pipeline….

See the expedition reports on the Books page.

Photos of cave fauna and bats in Cambodia.

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