An exploration of Cambodia’s south; Hilltop temples, jungle rivers, mangrove forests and coral islands
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Tigers, leopards, gibbons, elephant, Siamese Crocodiles and best of all the ‘Free the Bears’ enclosure, all the animals you hope you’d see in the wild but probably won’t, looked after by Wildlife Alliance at Phnom Tmau, our lunch stop on route to the sleepy river town of Takeo.
Phnom Da is the oldest Angkorian temple in Cambodia and reached by boat, speeding across the Mekong floodplain. That night it’s river lobster for dinner in a stilted restaurant above the water.
Chambok is a collection of villages nestling in the foothills of The Kirirom escarpment, where the rain that falls on the plateau above cascades to the plain below via spectacular falls, the destination for the afternoon hike. Dinner is in the community restaurant where we hear how the tourist initiative is bringing back forest to the hillsides and helping the villagers. After which it’s a well-earned rest in a local house home-stay.
Day 3 & 4
Our drive to Tatai skirts round the Southern Cardamon Mountains to where we meet the boat that takes us to the river lodge for the next 2 nights.
The big adventure is to kayak through the jungle to the Tatai River Falls, suitably provisioned we’ll have a BBQ lunch on a rocky ledge under the trees, swimming in the clear cool green water.
We kayak through the maze of waterways that lead into the Peam Krasaup Mangrove Reserve. At low tide the twisted tree roots form a tangled web. At high tide the lush green foliage rises out of the muddy estuary providing a roost for the kingfishers that hunt these waters.
Day 6 – 8
The Koh Thmei Resort is set back from it’s own beach at the Eastern end of the island an hour by boat from the fishing village of Koh Tang. The verandah of our hut perched above a strip of sand, overlooks the channel that separates us from Koh Say, the next deserted coral island.
These are lazy days. Swing in a hammock and gaze out to sea, spotting porpoises and listening to the lap of the waves. Snorkel over coral reefs bursting with life. If you’re questing for more adventure, we’ll paddle across to deserted beaches and build a BBQ on the sand.
Indulge yourself with a couple of nights at the gorgeous Knai Bang Chatt Resort overlooking Kep Bay and Bokor Mountain, to finish your Cambodian adventure in style.