12-Day Cambodia Trekking Tour
For those who enjoy multiple adventurous activities, this trip offers some great opportunities. We follow the Mekong River and enjoy a close encounter with the rare and unique Irrawaddy dolphins near the famous sunset town of Kratie. The northeast offers real potential with protected community forests, remote rivers, traditional villages, elephant riding, ethnic minority tribes, and overnight jungle trekking and both in Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri we get to experience all of these and more. We survey the mighty waterfalls that thwarted the grand designs of French imperialists in Stung Treng (and which now mark the Lao border). Onto explore Mekong flooded forests at Ramsar Wetlands by kayak.
Destination: Phnom Penh – Kratie – Monudlkiri – Ratanakiri – Stung Treng – Siem Reap
12 Days / 11 Nights
Day 1: Arrive to Phnom Penh. (-/-/-)
After welcoming you at the Phnom Penh Airport, a Cambodian Pride Tours representative will transfer you to a comfortable hotel in the city centre for overnight.
+ Accommodation: hotel in Phnom Penh
Day 2: Phnom Penh to Kratie. (B/-/-)
Your friendly English speaking and knowledgeable guide greet you with a traditional Khmer welcome. We hit the road to the bustling provincial city of Kompong Cham. En route, there is the chance to pause at Skuon, affectionately known as ‘Spiderville’, where it is possible to sample the local delicacy of the deep-fried tarantula. We arrive in Kompong Cham and enjoy a local lunch in Kompong Cham. During the dry season (Jan-May), we can visit the bamboo bridge built across the mighty Mekong River connecting the mainland to Koh Pen Island. Our road journey continues on the eastern side along the Mekong passing through rural villages, farms, fishing spots, pagodas and beautiful sceneries. There is a lot of chance to photograph. We then reach Kratie and check in a comfortable hotel for the night.
+ Accommodation: Hotel in Kratie
Day 3: Kratie Rural Lifestyle & Dolphin Watching. (B/-/-)
Today, we learn about local lifestyles of the Kratie as well as their local productions and witness the one of the most endangered wildlife that habitat upriver at Kampi. We start with a visit to a traditional cafe shop near the market. This is where you will learn about the lifestyle of Khmer men and women in which most men hang out at the cafe while women are working or doing shopping at the market nearby. Next, walk through the central Market of Kratie where you will see the local trades and see some of the old colonial building which remains from the French colony. Visit Wat Rokakandal which has a very unique wooden carving about 300 years of age. Afterward, we learn about local productions including a mushroom farm, rice wish key making, and brick factory.
Get back to town for lunch break and rest from the hit at your hotel for 1-2 hours.
Later in the afternoon, we go to Kampi, one of the many deep pools where the rare freshwater Irrawaddy river dolphins gather to feed. We board a local boat and cruise out into the mighty Mekong for a chance to encounter with gentle creatures. Viewing is almost guaranteed, although it is easier to see the dolphins in the shallower waters of the dry season, than in the swollen river of the wet season. After enjoying an hour or more of dolphin viewing, we travel back to Kratie.
+ Accommodation: hotel in Kratie
Day 4: Kratie to Mondulkiri. Bou Sra Waterfall & Coffe Farm. (B/-/-)
After breakfast, we leave behind the sleepy town of Kratie and travel southeast towards the small junction town of Snuol, our gateway to the wilds of Mondulkiri. We turn left and leave behind the surfaced roads of civilization to take on the red earth roads of hill country. The first half of the journey from Snuol is flat, passing through patches of lush forest and areas of cultivation and plantations. After Kau Sima district, the road snakes up through the mountains that give Mondulkiri its name of ‘where the mountains meet’. We reach Mondulkiri and check in to a comfortable hotel. In the afternoon after lunch break, we leave Sen Monorom and head east towards the double drop waterfall of Bou Sraa, one of the most famous in Cambodia. It is possible to access both drops and there are swimming opportunities. Along the way, we may stop at a Pnong minority village to learn a little about their way of life. On our way back to Sen Monorom, we make a stop to visit local coffee growers (Unique product in that province). Here, there is not only coffee, but there are almost every fruit that you can imagine fruit planting in Cambodia including strawberry and durian. As Mondulkiri is know as the best land and weather for farming and living. Afterwards, you can taste the original Cambodian coffee or fresh-fruit shake at it’s own restaurant.
Day 5: Mondulkiri – Eco-friendly Elephant Experience at BEP. (B/L/-)
Today, we will have a full day visit one of the Eco-friendly elephant project, called Bunong Elephant Project (BEP) where elephants are being rescued from hard work like pulling the tree out from the farm and carry heavy things up the mountain. We travel by road out of Sen Monorom to one the hilltop where we will start walking around 40 minutes through the valleys and forests to the project fieldwork. You will be introduced to the herd of elephants and get to know more about their history, character, behavior, body language and relationship with mahout family. You will be able to feed the elephant buckets of bananas. At noon, the elephant must be taken to pastures for at least 2 hours in order to make sure they get enough food for the day. Elephants eat up to 300 kg of vegetation per day in order to sustain themselves. While the elephant is grazing, you will have a lunch break. Then, you will learn more detail about the elephant and the community from the elephant guide.
In the afternoon, the mahout will bring the elephant to the river for a wash. You are welcomed to get in the water and give them a hand. Afterward, we leave the elephants and start walking out a different way towards a village where your driver is waiting for. Closer to the village, there is a big hill so you will challenge yourself.
+ Accommodation: hotel in Mondulkiri
“Cambodian Pride Tours has been supporting elephant experience with Bounong Hill Tribe in order to reduce their use of elephants in hard working activities; such as pulling trees or clear up forests for farming. The more tourists arrive the more they understand about taking care of their elephants. With our elephant experience you help the elephants and their keepers.”
Day 6: Mondulkiri to Ratanakiri. Yeak Loam Crater Lake. (B/-/-)
After breakfast at your hotel in Sen Monorom, we leave behind the wilds of Mondulkiri and hit the road towards the red earth of Ratanakiri. We travel north on the newest highway that connects Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri via Koh Nhek. Along the way, there is lush jungle hugging the road and locals claim to see tigers on this stretch whereas some parts of the jungle are giving way to clusters of pine trees and rolling grasslands. The scenery is unique for Cambodia and dotted with traditional indigenous hill tribe villages. We arrive to Ban Lung town of Ratanakiri and check into a comfortable hotel. Later in the afternoon, we enjoy the refreshing waters of the beautiful crater lake of Yeak Loam, set amid a pocket of lush jungle.
+ Accommodation: hotel in Ratanakiri
Days 7-8: Ratanakiri – Overnight Jungle Trek.
* Trek lenght: 23km – Difficulty: Easy-Medium
* 4-6 hours trek per day (2B/2L/1D)
Follow Kachoch hill tribe ranger for a hike that will take you in to Kaoh Piek forest which the southern of Virakchey National Park. Starting on the dirt roads to Vun Sai, the banks of the Sesan and O’Lalai rivers, visit small settlements, stay overnight in the jungle, and submerge in a beautiful forest. This 2-day trek does not only focus on nature, but also engage with indigenous communities, learn about local farming and lifestyle. Different sceneries will be presented to you like beautiful panoramic views, mixed forest, secondary forest. Sleep may not be the same without the fire flies speaking across the night sky, but at least you’ll always have the memories and dreams of your time.
+ Accommodation: hammock with mosquito net & hotel
Day 9: Ratanakiri – Indigenous Lifestyle. (B/-/-)
After breakfast in Ban Lung, we head south passing through the rubber plantations to Borkeo where we will see the old gem area in the forests. Our journey continues to discover one sample of Jarai cemetery. After a very local lunch at Andong Meas, we visit Jarai Village which home to a traditional Jarai burial ground complete with carved effigies of the deceased. Jarai is one the eight hill tribe ethnics in Ratanakiri. Family groups are buried side by side and elaborate ceremonies held after a period of mourning. We return to Banlung by road. Along the way, there are opportunities to stop at minority villages to learn a little about their way of life, traditional silk weaving and farming.
+ Accommodation: hotel in Ratanakiri
Day 10: Ratanakiri to Preah Rumkel – Mighty Mekong Falls. (B/L/D)
We leave behind Banlung and travel southwest towards O’Pongman before veering north towards Stung Treng before we cross the river by bridge to Tala Borivath and continue north to Preah Rumkel. We will be welcomed in to a local family on the bank of the Mekong River for a traditional. In the late afternoon, We survey Sopheakmet Waterfall; that thwarted the grand designs of French imperialists (and which now mark the Lao border). If time is available we will take the boat across the river to visit Hang Khone, which is the southernmost tip of Laos. The French used this as a ferry port where goods were then transferred back to the ferry by train before they continued their travel by river. Sunset here is some of the most beautiful sunsets across the Mekong River.
Tonight, you will stay in a traditional Cambodian home under mosquito net at one of the local families who live on the bank of the Mekong River; experience bucket shower like Khmer people.
+ Accommodation: homestay
Day 11: Stung Treng – Kayaking Through Mekong Flooded Forests. (B/L/-)
After breakfast at homestay, it’s time to say goodbye to the family. Then, we enjoy a short boat trip down to O’Svay where we will start our paddling tours to explore the Ramsar Wetlands area. It stretches south along the Mekong River from the border with Laos to Stung Treng. 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. With only birdcalls announcing our presence, we maneuvered our way leisurely downstream for a couple of hours. Our paddling tour of the forest continue until one point that you feel enough, then we return back to O’Svay by boat before we travel by road to the provincial capital of Stung Treng. We check in to a comfortable local hotel for the night.
+ Accommodation: hotel in Stung Treng
Day 12: Stung Treng to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. (B/-/-)
Before leaving behind the remote Stung Treng, we might visit Stung Treng Women’s Development Center (open Monday to Friday). STWC or Mekong Blue is where the project focuses on developing life skills that assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and illiteracy for vulnerable people, especially women in their region. You will learn about Cambodian silk weaving and their production, which allows not only preservation but also the cultivation of the hundred-year-old tradition of silk-weaving. At the end, you can shop for souvenirs. We can either drip you in Phnom Penh or Siem Rea for your next destination.
This itinerary is written based on our tour research expeditions. It should be read in order to get a good general impression and NOT as a detailed hour by hour itinerary. As we care about your safety and always want to increase customer’s experience, Cambodian Pride’s team can change parts of the tour due to weather terrain conditions depending on the season and customer requests. If the program is changed upon customer’s request, possible additional costs will be charged directly to customers.
During the trek:
For overnight in the jungle, you will be staying in a covered hammock with forest furniture to relax and eat our meals (each hammock has its own mosquito net attached). Sometimes we even build a roof tent above our hammocks depends on the weather. There are however no facilities to support camping in the forest so we organize an expedition from local villagers to take in our food and equipment. There will be also cooks, rangers and English speaking guide. These guys will cook and prepare hammock for you in the forests. Though everyone of the group will need to help carry some stuff like a hammock and a bit of water. The toilet facilities are rudimentary and ‘back to nature’ in style and bathing is in the stream.
What food is provided during the trek?
All meals are provided with the trek as mentioned in the itinerary. Please note that there is no possibility of cooking different food for individuals. Please let us know at the time of booking if you are a vegetarian.
Is there Malaria?
Like much of rural Cambodia, the site has mosquitoes that may carry malaria.
Malaria can be potentially fatal if contracted and as such clients are advised to seek medical advice concerning malaria avoidance prior to visiting the site. Avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes is the most effective way to avoid malaria.
Many travelers to Cambodia also choose to take malaria prophylaxis, a medication which prevents malaria in the case of infection. If you become ill after leaving the site, be aware that you may have malaria and need to seek immediate medical advice.
What happens in the case of bad weather?
Cambodia experiences a dry season and a green season. The dry season occurs each year from about November to June. The wet season comprises the remainder of the year, with rain and flooding occurring in varying degrees of intensity. Hence we will only be running treks for 8 months each year. During this period, we plan to take back to back treks, however, at certain times it can be difficult to walk up and down the mountains. If the weather is particularly bad then there could be some blackout dates during this period. We will endeavor to take treks with limited interruptions.
What to bring
We recommend bringing with you the following:
- A set of neutral – coloured cloths of natural fibers (cotton)
- Long trousers
- Long sleeved shirt x 2 (A clean set for the night)
- Walking Boots
- Walking Socks
- A hat
- Fleece Jacket or sweater
- Sandals or flip flops
- A spare pair of socks
- Some Personal toiletries
- Sun scream
- Insect repellent
- Swim Suit
- Travel towel
- Torch or headlamp
- Personal first aid kit including any necessary medication such as anti-malarial pills.
- A small day-pack to carry your camera etc…
TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
Dare to adventure