The Mekong Discovery Trail project was launch in 2006 in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and a Dutch development organization (SNV). This was aimed at having tourists experience the Mekong River by organising different activities such as kayaking, biking, traditional home stays, trekking, dolphin spotting and camping on the Mekong’s beach. Unfortunately funding for the project ran out in 2012. However, at Cambodian Pride Tours, we are committed to carrying on the legacy of this project and together with local guides provide you with same level of experiences of the life of local people and wildlife.
River: Explore the mighty Mekong as it courses through northeast Cambodia’s historic heartlands.
Life: Explore Khmer culture in northeast Cambodia at its most authentic and get a taste of traditional rural life
Adventures: Kayak through flooded forests, trek to lofty temples and put your moutain bike skills to the best in northeast Cambodia.
—Who and What:
The Mekong Discovery Trail takes you into the heart of the Mekong where the beauty of the river and the friendliness of the people create unforgettable river life experiences in northeast Cambodia.The Mekong Discovery Trail is a network of safe, ecotourism journeys through some of the most natural and least populated parts of the Mekong.
There are many options along the 180 km trail, which runs between Kratie and the Cambodian/Laos border. But remember to allow enough time to go with the flow of river life. Along the trail, you will have the opportunity to see critically endangered Mekong River Dolphins. Take a relaxed cycle through cheerful villages and rice fields. Enjoy an exclusive Mekong Camping under the stars on the banks of the mystic Mekong is truly unforgettable. By using the Trail, you will also be assisting river communities, some of the poorest (but most welcoming) in Cambodia.
—Mekong River dolphin spotting
The Trail offers many opportunities to view critically endangered Mekong River Dolphins. Less than 100 of these animals are left in the Mekong. Well managed ecotourism is part of the solution to increase their value to local communities and ensure their long-term protection.
—Learn about seasonal farms & local productions
Kratie and Stung Treng Provinces are famous for their sticky rice (krolan) and pickled fish (nem), as well as delicious tropical fruits and fresh fish that are included in local dishes. Taste some while you travel along the Mekong Discovery Trail. You’ll find a recipe for the famous Fish Amok in the Trail guide book.
—Home Stays and Wat Stays in Local Communities
A very personal way to experience the home life and daily rituals of Khmer villages is to stay in homes or Wats. Home stays and Wat stays are available at several places along the Trail. The Trail guide book provides a few tips about etiquette to make it easier to connect with the local cultures.
—Trekking in the Forests along the Mekong River
There are opportunities to trek through fringing forests that line the banks of the river, and to enjoy wonderful views over the maze of islands and braided river channels north of Stung Treng. A local guide will assist with navigation and make the experience so much richer.
—Fish the mighty Mekong
The Mekong River is home to over 450 different species of fish from giant 300kg Catfish to Rays. Explore the remote and wild Mekong River in a fishing adventure that will bring you to the waters where the big fish and stingray lurk.
—Mountain Biking & Motor Biking
One option along the Mekong Discovery Trail caters especially for experienced and intrepid mountain bike riders who are prepared for an ‘off the beaten track’ experience. You will travel through some of the least disturbed and most remote parts of the Mekong, and stay overnight in guesthouses and home stays in rural villages along the way.
—Kayak through the Mekong flooded forests
Enjoy paddling to explore the remote flooded forests of the Mekong, Ramsa wetlands. It stretches south along the Mekong River from the border with Laos to Stung Treng and Kratie. Only accessible by boat, it is a haven for critically endangered mammals, birds and fish and a unique riverine flooded forest system that is a photographer's dream.
—Mighty Mekong Falls
Survey the mighty waterfalls that thwarted the grand designs of French imperialists.
—Camping under the stars on the banks of the mystic Mekong
Experience the Mekong from a different angle, staying on a Mekong island beach in the wetlands areas. See flooded forest, nesting river birds and rare Irrawaddy dolphin. Escape the crowds. The Mekong camping is a stylish adventure that opens up overland travel between Kratie and Stung Treng.
While Cambodia is best known for the mighty Angkor Wat temples, beyond these temples the natural beauty of the country is waiting to be discovered. Cambodia offers many opportunities for adventure travel, ecotourism, and community based tourism such as: trekking in tropical forests; homestays with ethnic highlanders; sighting rare wildlife; water-based adventures on rivers and beaches; cycling along dirt roads through traditional villages, and more.
Community and ecotourism in Cambodia is sustainable tourism by helping to protect this wildlife as well as the natural environment and local cultures while offering opportunities for much needed employment and sustainable development to poor, often remote, local communities. A much welcomed alternative to the exploitation of the wildlife and local natural resources.
1. Koh Trong
Koh Trong is a beautiful rural Mekong island, opposite Kratie Town. The island life is very peaceful, surrounded by farmland, beaches, and unique floating village. It’s home the famous sweet grape-fruits and market gardends. The Koh Trong Community-based Ecotourism Site was established in 2008.
A 9 kilometers (6 miles) loop road around the island’s perimeter provides the perfect opportunity to explore the area by bike or horse cart. Visitors come across traditional villages, fruit orchards and rice fields while observing the daily rituals and routines of the traditional village life. The ‘Reforestation Project’ gives you the chance to plant a tree in your name and help to enrich the flora of the island. Furthermore, rest at the Vietnamese pagoda and visit a floating village. Also it is possible to stop at one of the picnic huts spread along the river, experience the diversity of delicious Khmer food and stay overnight at a home-stay with local people in order to experience Cambodian culture firsthand.
2. Koh Phdao
Sweeping riparian landscapes, natural delights, rare creatures, local culture and lifestyles collide to form shapes previously unimagined, located in the middle of the mighty Mekong river about 36 km north of Kratie Town opposite Sambor which is popular with 100 Pillars Pagoda and The Mekong Turtle Conservation Center. It is home to many of CRDT’s projects and an opportunity to meet the local community, learn about their lives and how your visit supports their development.
Koh Phdao Community-based Ecotourism Site was established in 2007 with support from CRDT (Cambodian Rural Development Team). Koh Phdao is the largest island found in the Mekong River, it is rich in natural resources and provides a great biodiversity including the elusive Irrawaddy River Dolphin. Set in a breathtaking river landscape, with dramatic sunsets, Koh Phdao is an unforgettable travel experience.
Visitors can explore the island by bike or ox-cart. It is also possible to go jungle-trekking or relax at the lovely river beach which is accessible during dry season. On top of that guests can help the local community through participating in volunteering activities such as planting and harvesting rice (rainy season only), digging fish and frog ponds, building chicken and duck pens, farming, etc. Additionally, you can participate in Khmer cooking classes. Furthermore you can take a boat and cruise along the Mekong River while enjoying the fascinating landscape. During your trip you will encounter the endangered freshwater Irrawaddy Dolphins. Other offered activities are: watching a traditional Khmer dance performance or staying overnight in a traditional Khmer house and experience the local life firsthand.
1. Preah Rumkel
The Preah Rumkel Community-Based Ecotourism Site was established in 2007 under support from an environmental non-governmental organization, called Mlup Baitong. Preah Rumkel is a small jungle village alongside the Mekong River and provides beautiful places to watch Irrawaddy dolphins. Furthermore, it is the gateway to the Sopheakmith waterfalls, a unique and awe-inspiring feature of the Mekong River in Cambodia.
Preah Rumkel is located in a wetland area in Stung Treng Province, just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Laos border and combines a fascinating mixture of Khmer and Laotian cultures. Due to its isolated location and the lack of urban influences, villagers still uphold many traditional agricultural and domestic practices which have been lost in other parts of Cambodia. While Preah Rumkel’s exotic setting, wild jungle and range of outdoor activities make it the unbeatable escape for adventurous travelers, its rural charm and fascinating cultural heritage also offer a retreat for those wanting to relax and immerse themselves in nature.
The Preah Rumkel community has a lot to offer in terms of wildlife and bird watching. Tourists can not only see the incredible Irrawaddy dolphins playing in the river pools but also watch several bird species in the wetlands. Besides, they visit the magnificent waterfalls where the Mekong River crashes over limestone crags and boulders. Travelers, who are interested in more active holidays, have the opportunity to go trekking and get beautiful panoramic views from the top of the mountains or explore the tropical forest on a mountain bike. Other provided services are: to take a boat through the Ramsar flooded forests and discover the wonderful conservation area, enjoy classical dance performances and be part of unique cultural celebrations, BBQ fresh locally caught fish on the island beach sands (only during dry season, October to April) and try the famous sticky rice wine which is only available at Preah Rumkel community. Finally enjoy the stunning Mekong sunset over the jungle and stay overnight in one of the Khmer home-stays.
One village one product
Kratie is the most famous place for this special sweet grape-fruit
Bamoo Sticky Rice (Krolan)
Sticky rice cooked in coconut milk black eyed peas or bean stuffed in bamboo
Roll hashed fish meat wrapped in banana leaves
Lonely Planet Mentioned
Local tours website operated by two enthusiastic young guides from the Kratie area keen to promote real life experiences.