Phnom Ta Mao is located in Tropiang Sap Villag, Tropiang Sap commune, Bati district, about 40 kilometers south of Phnom Penh, off National Road No. 2. Turn right at the sign and travel another 5 kilometers down a dirt trail. The site features mountains, the biggest national zoo and ancient temples. There are five mountains at this site – Phnom Tamao, Phnom Thma Dos, Phnom Pdaov Pun, Phnom Chhoy and Phnom Bang. The entire site covers 2,500 hectares, most of it is the protected forest area. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Department of Foresty has taken over 1,200 hectares for planting trees and the zoo.
Phnom Ta Mao National Zoo covers 70 hectares and is under the supervision of the department. It features 84 varieties of birds, quadrupeds and reptiles. The animals, which include alligators, elephants, lions, tigers and bears, were collected by the Ministry of Agriculture. Some were recovered from people illegally trafficking wildlife in Cambodia.
The two ancient temples of Phnom Tamao are:
– Tamao Temple (Phnom Tamao)
Tamao temple was built in 11th century, during the reign of King Suryavarman I and Udayadityavarman II (AD 1050 – 1066) as a place for Brahmans to worship. Tamao Temple was made of silt stone and red solid brick, but is now nearly unrecognizable. The temple is located near Tamao pagoda on the top of Phnom Tamao, which is about 30 meters high.
– Thma Dos Temple (Phnom Thma Dos)
Thma Dos Temple is nothwest of Phnom Tamao on the 35 meter-high Phnom Thma Dos. The temple was built in the 11th century and is constructed of silt stone and red solid brick. Much of the temple is 7.5 meters squar and 13 meters high. Its design is adapted from Khliang style. This temple is more popular with visitors than Tamao temple.