Explore Battambang and the northwest Kompong Chhnang and around Pursat Battambang and around Sisophon and around Share Still mostly inaccessible and unexplored, the Cardamom Mountain range is an area of outstanding natural beauty, its primary jungle rich in flora and fauna. A biodiversity study in 2000 established the presence of nearly 400 different species of animal, including tiger, Asian elephant, gaur and a population of critically endangered Siamese crocodiles, previously considered extinct in the wild. It’s setting itself up to be an eco tourist destination but for now things are still a bit disorganized. A trip into the hills is best done with a local guide – ask at the tourist office in Pursat – as the roads are not well signposted and there can be problems with collapsed bridges. It’s a pretty journey as the road climbs steeply through the forest, crossing tiny gorges and streams. Ou Dah, 56km from Pursat, is an attractive spot with rapids and a small waterfall in the jungle-clad hills. Alternatively, at Chrok La Eing, 73km southeast of Pursat, there’s a cascade and river for a swim. Bear in mind though there’s also a high risk of malaria in the mountains, so take precautions against mosquito bites.