The night in Koh Kong was fairly uneventful – small town, nothing to do! We grabbed some dinner at a restaurant called Fat Sams, run by an old Scottish guy. We had a craving for some western food after a lot of noodles and rice, including a chicken parmigiana the size of Andrews head.
The reason for being over this way was to go to Chi Phat village in the Cardamon Mountains, so we got the early bus to Andoung Tuek, to be collected for a two hour boat ride through the jungle to the village. It was everything we had hoped for – the whole village runs as a centre of Eco tourism and the proceeds of your trips etc all go directly back into the village. We were assigned a lovely guesthouse right by the riverfront and after a wander around the village being greeted by all the children in the whole place, we had a plentiful meal served up by the locals.
On our first full day, we spent the morning on a kayak heading up the river. The weather started out hot and sunny, but soon the threatening thunderstorm starting sweeping in and we hid under the tree cover on the banks to wait out the storm. Once the weather cleared for the afternoon, we walked 3km to the nearby Chey Chray Rapids for a swim. We also were asked to pose for about twenty photos with some novice monks who were also there, so that was weird! The thunderstorm returned that evening with a vengeance, so we got a full pyrotechnic display of lightning, thunder rattling the roof and rain threatening to wash everyone into the river. Or at least it sounded like that under a tin roof!
The next day we were up early as we had booked a guided trek. The next six hours had us trekking across grassland and through forest, over hills and into rivers with our guide Mau. Our first port of call was the stunning O’Spot waterfall (Dragon Fish River Waterfall), which he led us right through. Behind the water was a colony of about a thousand bats, squeaking and fighting each other for room. Awesome!
We continued across the expansive grassland, spotting herds of water buffalo and a pair of hornbills before arriving at the O’Teuk Vet waterfall (Holy Rover Waterfall), the highlight of the trip. There are six or seven falls all around a basin, leading into a deep, and cooling, plunge pool. Of course, we had to jump in and swim through them, before enjoying our packed lunch. Eating rice, fried egg and pork with no cutlery is not so easy, but we managed without making too much of a mess!
Returning in the heat of the day, we both melted and fortunately returned via the rapids for another swim. The best entertainment as well in watching moto drivers driving their mopeds across a rapids!
We went for dinner at a tiny local restaurant with a couple of other travelers and decided to get a bottle of local distilled rice liquor. Potent, to say the least! Neither of us have any eyebrows left and smoking while drinking would very likely cause spontaneous combustion! But, when in Rome…… Or Cambodia……
Our trip out of Chi Phat was less serene than the riverboat, as we opted for the shorter, but less comfy, moto ride. After cramming us and four motos on what might loosely be termed a “ferry”‘ we had an exhilarating forty minutes of whizzing along red mud roads through the sugar cane fields.
Sadly, it’s back to reality as we need to go and get Vietnam visas and stock up on bug spray in Sihanoukville. Just what we wanted to be doing on our five year anniversary!