This bird sanctuary is one of only a handful of places in the world where it’s possible to see the extremely rare sarus crane, as depicted on bas-reliefs at Bayon. Reputedly the tallest bird in the world, these grey-feathered birds have immensely long legs and striking red heads. Sam Veasna Center arranges birdwatching excursions (from US$130 per person with a group of five) out here, which is probably the easiest way to undertake the trip.
The sanctuary is based around a reservoir created by forced labour during the Khmer Rouge regime, and facilities are very basic, but it is an incredibly beautiful place. Bring your own binoculars, as none are available.
The bird sanctuary is just across the border in the Phnom Srok region of Banteay Meanchey Province, about 100km from Siem Reap. To reach here, follow the road to Sisophon for about 72km before turning north at Prey Mon. It’s 22km to the site, passing through some famous silk-weaving villages.