Rumble in the Jungle.
Left during the rumble and tumble of the rain today with our new guide, "Fishing", in the lead. We were wet as shags in a heartbeat before following some nice country and bush being part of the Phnom Bokor national park, rolling hills for most of the way to our village home stay in Chi Phat. Not a lot of folks to see and meet today, quite opposite to the Mekong Delta, but definitely beautiful jungle with some occasional wet plains allowing views out to the Cardamon Mountains being the feature of the day.
We met a few friendly local Khmer people at a couple of stops along the route later in the morning. They were quite similar to the country folks in Central to North Vietnam that I'd met very early on during the long ride home (along the Ho Chi Minh Trail).
At the 90 km point we had to change our bikes for mountain bikes supplied by the support company before saying "goodbye!!" to the best road so far to, "hello!!" to the worst road ever slugging in out in the mud onto the ecotourism village in Chi Phat.
The Chi-Phat commune (Khmer pronunciation: "cheephat") is located deep within the Cardamom Mountains at Koh Kong Province, south-west Cambodia. The commune consists four villages:Chi-Phat, Komlot, Chom-Sla and T'k La'o. The commune population is estimated around 3,000 inhabitants (2010). The residents make their living mainly out of agriculture, fishing and tourism. Ecotourism efforts in recent years have made Chipat a popular destination for foreign visitors and local Cambodians alike.
If you have a desire to go off the beaten track for a touch of ecotourism then come to see Chi Phat in the Cardamon mountain Mountains as a place to go. Their local village tourism have this to say;
"Trek, cycle, kayak or boat in the Cardamon Mountains to discover the real, peaceful Cambodia, far from the crowds.
Guides, once poachers, lead you on jungle treks to waterfalls, grasslands and mountains that they know well, but few others have seen."
In 2007, Wildlife Alliance started a program in the Chi Phat area in the Cardamom Mountains to educate and help the community make their living from tourism instead of animal trafficking. There is still a long way to go to protect the wildlife in Cambodia, protect the nature and make communities more sustainable. But the change has started and it is expanding.
Chum Reap Sur Lea Hey
(Hello and Goodbye)
Truck, Troy and Giles (endangered species) in the Cardamon Mountains, Cambodia.