Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mekong Discovery

I highlighted the new Mekong River Discovery Trail a few weeks ago in this blog, but here's our take on it for the Hanuman Tourism newsletter Som Leng, which was published last week.

Mekong Discovery Trail

The mighty Mekong River cuts through the heart of Cambodia and the upper stretches around Kratie and Stung Treng are home to some of the world's rarest river dolphins. Many of our trips already include a visit to view these shy creatures at Kampi pool near Kratie, but now Hanuman has joined forces with the Mekong Tourism Development Project and the Ministry of Tourism to help promote the Mekong Discovery Trail.

Stretching from Kratie to the Lao border at Voen Kham, the trail is a community-based ecotourism project to introduce visitors to life and culture along one of the most wild and beautiful parts of the Mekong River. Highlights along the trail include: mountain biking around the peaceful island of Koh Trong opposite Kratie, home to friendly fruit farmers and a small Vietnamese floating village; the 100 pillar pagoda of Sambor, the largest temple in Cambodia, where it is possible to spend the night learning more about Buddhism or watch a traditional village show; kayaking through protected wetlands that are home to rare bird species; the chance to take a dip in secluded waterfalls or gentle stretches of the mother river; a homestay in the traditional village of O Svay; and boat trips through flooded forest with a picnic on a remote stretch of sand.

Some of the activities are already available, including cycling around Kratie and along the riverbank (using our own Trek mountain bikes for now), the pagoda stay at Wat Sor Sor Moi Roi, homestays at O Svay; and boat trips along scenic stretches of the river. We will introduce some of the most interesting elements into some new tour options such as Pakse to Phnom Penh or overland trips to Ratanakiri. Please be aware that this trail is still in its infancy, so facilities are basic, but for those that want a real Cambodian experience that brings them closer to life on the river and the wonderful Khmer people, then this is a unique opportunity. A homestay in O Svay may not be for everyone, but it is perhaps more interesting than staying in a bland hotel in Stung Treng. It is also possible to view river dolphins at O Svay, which gather in pools near the Lao border. Sitting on a sandbar, sipping a cold drink, watching rare dolphins glide past, is a memorable experience indeed.

Although not officially part of the trail, Hanuman is also able to offer trips that include stretches of the river to the south of Kratie towards Kompong Cham. Attractions here include: the port of Chhlong, one of the best preserved colonial-era towns in the Cambodia; Wat Roka Kandal, one of the oldest pagodas in the country, located on the edge of Kratie; the pre-Angkorian hilltop temple of Wat Hanchey, with impressive views of the Mekong; and Wat Mohaleap, one of the oldest surviving wooden temples in Cambodia. Some of our senior team recently travelled the trail and will be devising some new community-based tour options to promote sections of the Mekong Discovery Trail ready for Autumn 2008. Link: Hanuman

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Andy

Do you know a good link for this? - www.mekongdiscoverytrail.com now seems to belong to domain squatters.

Many Thanks

John

March 2, 2010 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.mekongdiscoverytrail.com/html/home.html

It works for me!

Andy did you ever go on this adventure trail again?

- Kalaw

October 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM  

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