Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains are one of the last places in South East Asia with large expanses of intact lowland rainforest, where contiguous forest connects mountaintops to the ocean, pristine rivers cascade to the sea, and wildlife is still in relative abundance.
Asia Adventures, in partnership with Wildlife Alliance, offers a series of multi-day treks and mountain bike tours into the unspoiled, forested Cardamom Mountains. You can find various natural and cultural sites in the forest such as waterfalls, ancient burial jars, bat caves, and wildlife animals like elephants, hornbills or flying squirrels. These multi-day tours lead you deep into the forest and include sleeping under the stars.
Early start as you leave Phnom Penh and transfer by public bus about 190 kilometers (118 miles, 5 hours) to the riverside community of Andoung Teuk. Board the Chi Phat Community boat for a 2 hour upstream journey along the Preak Piphot River. During this ride, be on the lookout for birds and mammals coming to the water's edge to drink. Upon arrival in the small, remote community of Chi Phat you meet the eco-tourism staff and get a short introduction regarding their hard work within the community. Afterwards have lunch and discuss the activities for the following days. Then check-in to your home-stay, a traditional Khmer home with basic facilities (mosquito net, fan, toilet, bathing area), and meet your host family. You will then walk to the nearby Chhay Chrey rapids with a local guide (about 2km, 1 mile) where you can relax in the cool refreshing waters. On return to the village you will have dinner after which it is an early night to be prepared for an early start the following day.
Meals included: L, D
Waking early whilst it is still dark you meet your community guide and forest cook, board your motorboat and cruise along the cool waters. As the sun rises and you are entertained by the skies changing colors you can enjoy your breakfast. Soon you turn off the Preak Piphot River and sail up the secluded and winding Stung Pruit River. After an hour the motorboat cuts its engines and you transfer to a traditional row boat and continue upstream. Now being engine-less you can really appreciate the silence of the surroundings and hear birds from the thick forests lining the river. This is the ideal opportunity to see the area's birdlife as well as watching out for other wildlife such as monkeys and flying squirrels. Eventually the rowboats arrive at a small clearing where you disembark, and begin your Cardamom trekking. Here you disappear into the forest, follow the winding and undulating trail which is full of exotic sights, scents and sounds, including gibbons calling from high up in the tree tops. Lunch is taken next to a scenic river and you will be amazed at how quickly your forest cook sets up the campfire and prepares a hot, basic but tasty meal. After relaxing the trek continues, on route the guide will point out various signs of wildlife and various plants. Try the delicious forest leaves and fruits which he suggests. In the early afternoon you reach your low-impact campsite and hammocks are strung up. Later on, you may wish to walk to Veal Ta Prak the nearby grassy clearing / watering hole. Here you can look out for hornbills, parrots, wild pigs, deer and monkeys. Hike back to the camp where the forest cook will have prepared your dinner. The rest of the evening can be spent around the campfire exchanging stories and gazing up into the starry night.
Meals included: B, L, D
Trekking Distance: 10km (6 miles)
Another early start as you return to Veal Ta Prak to spot more wildlife animals. Back at the camp you will have some breakfast and continue your Cardamom trekking tour as you follow old logging trails back to Chi Phat. Much of today's trekking is through secondary forest as most of the valuable primary forest was logged during the wild and tumultuous 1980's that this area witnessed. After some time you leave the shade of the trees behind and descend across open, parched and sandy grassland. Back in Chi Phat you will have lunch. In the afternoon you are free at leisure and may wish to visit the nearby rapids for a refreshing swim. After freshening up, a tasty dinner will be served at the Community Ecotourism Office and then you can wander around the village and experience rural community night life.
Meals included: B, L, D
Trekking Distance: 13km (8 miles)
You may wish to rise early this morning in order to walk down to the river and watch the magical sunrise and the villagers slowly waking up. After breakfast you bid farewell to Chi Phat as you journey back by motorbike taxi to Andoung Teuk. On arrival at Andoung Teuk you will catch bus and return to Phnom Penh, allowing you time to reflect on the wonderful and unique Cardamom Mountain trekking experience you have enjoyed in the seldom visited mountains of Cambodia, and taking away very fond memories.
Meals included: B
• Accommodation in Chi Pat (Basic no a/c)
• Community boat Andoung Tuk / Chi Pat
• Local guides in Chi Pat
• All necessary entrance fees
• All necessary boat trips
• Bus ticket from Phnom Penh to Chi Phat
• Bus ticket from Chi Phat to Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville
• Hammocks for sleeping in the forest
• Daily drinking water
• All meals as detailed in the above itinerary (B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner)
• Services not detailed in the above itinerary
• Travel to tour start location (Phnom Penh)
• Cambodian Visa fees
• Drinks with included meals
• Expenditure of a personal nature
• Discretionary tips
• Travel insurance
• Any payment / money transfer charges
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