VC06A Wild Cambodia ( 7 days / 6 nights )
Stung Treng - Rattanakiri - Kratie - Kampong Cham - Phnom Penh
Day 1 Arrival at Laos – Cambodia Border – Stung Treng
Arrive at the Cambodia/Laos border and after visa processing, meet with the Cambodian local tour guide and travel down to the boat dock where we will board a boat and navigate for an additional half an hour to the Cambodia/Laos border Community-Based Tourism, Preah Rumkel (the boat is a little bit noisy so it is suggested that everyone should use earplugs or something similar to minimize the sound. Travel by boat for around 30 minutes, 4pax/each, lifejackets provided). Some key highlights of the Preah Rumkel Community-Based Tourism are the flooded forest, endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins, unique biodiversity and the people. Upon arrival, one can stroll around to observe local livelihood, play volleyball with the locals, take a leisurely boat ride to catch a glimpse of the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins in Anlong Cheu Teal Pool or take in a traditional performance by Mlop Baitong children (traditional performance is optional at a cost of 30 - 40 US$).
Overnight in Preah Rumkel. [Dinner]
Day 2 Preah Rumkel – Sopheak Mitt Waterfalls – Preah Rumkel
Our journey today is quite interesting and some highlights include a boat trip, trekking through the forest and more. After breakfast, get ready and we will board our boat for around 7km/1hr cruise against the current witnessing heart-stirring and scenic views on the river, as well as catching a glimpse of various birds. Our journey today is to head for Sopheak Mitt Waterfall where we will spend time to relax and enjoy the serene atmosphere and to enjoy our packed lunch (packed lunch arranged by the community). Before reaching the falls we will dock and start our trekking for approximately 3.3Km, up and download the hills, crossing streams, snaked through the jungle (dependent on individuals’ physical strength, some may finish the trekking trip early than others. The rest of the day is free to relax). In the dry season from December to May, the water level of the Mekong River is low and the water as well as the waterfalls is very clear and wonderful.
Overnight in Preah Rumkel [Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner]
Day 3 Preah Rumkel – O’ Svay – Stung Treng Women’s Development Center - Ratanakiri
Arise early to witness a breathtaking sunrise over the horizon and to see local fishermen start their day. After breakfast in the commune, board a boat and navigate to another community-based tourism site, O’ Svay via a beautiful Ramsar Wetland (the boat is a bit noisy and takes around 20mn, 4pax/each, lifejackets provided). En route via Anlong Chheuteal, there is a chance to witness the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin. Upon arrival at O’Svay, a car will be waiting to pick us up and travel direct to visit Stung Treng Women’s Development Center (SWDC) before continue heading for Ratanakiri (140km, approx. 2.5hrs.) There is a possibility to have lunch at Mekong Blue Restaurant (please advise one day in advance whether or not to have lunch so that the center will be able to prepare beforehand) and visit the center afterwards. Established in January 2001 by Mrs. Ngoun Chantha who used to work for Medicins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) and Partners for Development (PFD), SWDC evolved into a training and development center aimed at providing vulnerable women with basic literacy, health/nutrition and childcare education. A visit to the center is both an opportunity to learn about the process of sericulture being carried out by the women and a chance to contribute to the improvement of the local livelihood by purchasing the silk products made by these women. You will have an opportunity to discover the silk production process from the growing of mulberry tree and feeding the silkworm to the silk dying and weaving. (The Center is open from 07: 30 to 11:30 and from 14:00 to 17:00, Monday to Saturday. If a group arrives on Sunday, we will skip this center and drive directly to Ratanakiri. After check in at the hotel, we will continue to visit the magnificent Yeak Lom Lake and trek around the lake. Yeak Lom Lake was formed by a volcanic eruption around 4,000 years ago and is 50 meters deep, 800 meters across with a walking path around 2500 meters long and places to swim in the very clear and beautiful water.
Overnight in Ratanakiri [Breakfast]
Day 4 Ratanakiri (Ban Lung)
Today you will take an early morning excursion to a bustling ethnic-minority market. Return to the hotel for breakfast before driving to the weaving handicraft village at Choeung Phnom. Visit the crystal clear Lumkut Lake and another market at Borkeo. Later in the morning, stop by the gem-mining region of Borkeo District and visit a Tumpoun minority village before continuing to Aundong Meas for a boat cruise on the Se San River where you will explore Charai ethnic graveyards in an abandoned forest. Enjoy a picnic lunch before returning to Ban Lung in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Ban Lung [Breakfast, Lunch]
Day 5 Ratanakiri (Ban Lung)
In the morning, drive to Lom Phat to visit an old abandoned airport parched with bomb craters, a Laotian pagoda, and villages of ethnic minorities of the Charai, Laotian and Khmer people perched along the banks of the scenic Se San River. In the late afternoon, visit the Eisei Patamak Hill for a panoramic view of town and the statue of a reclining Buddha.
Overnight in Ban Lung [Breakfast, Lunch]
Day 6 Rattanakiri – Kratie
In the morning, we will leave Ratanakiri Province for Kratie (290km, approx. 5hrs drive) and stop en route stop to visit Kampi Pool to watch for the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin. Upon arrival in Kratie, board a local ferry heading to the last destination of the day, the Koh Trong Community Based Tourism Site. Koh Trong is an island situated in the middle of the Mekong River directly opposite Kratie Town. There is a 9km circuit road around the island’s perimeter which provides opportunities for visitors to leisurely cycle or to take an ox-cart through traditional Khmer villages, fruit orchards and rice fields while observing the rituals and routines of traditional village life. Afternoon is one of the best times to explore the island. Keep an eye open for traditional rooftop decorations as the numbers on the top of the roof indicate house’s construction year. Some houses even date back to the 1960s. The highlight of the tour includes leisurely cycling or ox-carting on shady trail around the island, visiting a Reforestation Project where you can plant a tree with your name (option), tasting a national renowned Koh Trong pomelos, visiting a floating village and pagodas and of course interacting with the villagers. Today, we will stay overnight at a home stay. Dinner at village. (A traditional Khmer home stay is equipped with only basic facilities such as a pillow, mattress, blanket and mosquito net (no AC) as well as sharing the sleeping area and bathroom.
Overnight home stay at Koh Trong [Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner]
Day 7 Kratie – Kompong Cham – Phnom Penh
After breakfast, visit the old colonial town of Kratie before driving south to Chhlong, a small town dotted with fine French buildings. Proceed to the provincial town of Kompong Cham to visit the local market before heading to the capital Phnom Penh. [Breakfast]