One of the most talked about locations for adventurous tourists to visit in Cambodia in the last year or so has been the community of Chi Phat, which sits in the Southern Cardamom Mountain region. Their pioneering community-based ecotourism project, supported in large doses by the NGO Wildlife Alliance, has really caught the imagination of travellers looking to get under the skin of rural Cambodia. In Chi Phat the community have been working hard to put in place homestay and guesthouse accommodation, which are clean though pretty basic (most have squat toilets and ladle-shower facilities alongwith fan-cooled rooms with beds and mosquito nets though power usually switches-off at 10pm), as well as dining facilities at the community headquarters in the village. On offer to visitors looking for rural adventures are mountain bike trails, guided trekking routes and boat trips taking in waterfalls and rapids, ancient burial jars, birdwatching sites, bat caves and the surrounding protected forest. They have more activities planned for the future including candlelit dinner on floating rafts, and will soon link with another community project at nearby Trapeang Rung, which Wildlife Alliance are also encouraging. Chi Phat can be reached by road and by river from the main road to Koh Kong NH48, in a few hours from Phnom Penh. If, after your rural adventures you feel like some home comforts, the upscale 4 Rivers Floating Lodges at Tatai are less than an hour away.
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