Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nice but no wow factor

It's a wooden welcome to Chambok
The main 40-metre Chambok waterfall, seen from a break in the tree cover
The first stop on our recent fam trip with the Cambodia MSME project was at Chambok, which sits on the edge of the Kirirom national park. It's often touted as a model for the community-based projects around Cambodia, as it was one of the very first, but essentially it has a 40m waterfall, a sweaty 3km trek to get there, ox-carts and homestays, oh, and a bat cave. And that's about it. The people are particularly nice and friendly, the lunch we had was okay, the waterfall in the wet season must be pretty spectacular and all the proceeds go back into the community but it's much more of a project that would excite Khmers rather than foreigners, who expect more bang for their buck. Entry costs $3 for foreigners and 1,000 riel for Khmers. It might make a nice break from Phnom Penh for a day but there are better places south of the city in my view.
The waterfall at the end of the 3km mostly uphill trek
A look at the waterfall from as close as I can get without getting covered in spray
Signs imploring the locals to love their forest
Keeping the forest spirits happy
This sign highlights the positive aspects of bats in a nearby bat cave
My ox-cart driver on the way up before we began trekking. Her name was Pisey.
We passed through many bamboo sections. Bicycles are also available.
My young ox-cart driver on the way back. Her name was Nou.
These two residents of the homestay don't look convinced
One of the Chambok homestays. There are a few in the nearby villages.

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