Ecotourism Camping in Cambodia
Female Savvy Traveller
WHY TRY CAMPING IN CAMBODIA
Official camping spots are becoming more common in Cambodia, although the trend of camping is still quite new and small. The principal question remains, why should you choose to camp in a country where quest house or homestay accommodation can be as cheap as $5 per person per night?
HERE ARE OUR REASON FOR CHOOSING CAMPING EXPERIENCE IN CAMBODIA:
- Cambodia is fast becoming hotspot for ecotourism. If you want to experience the wilderness of some of the most remote part of the country the only option available to you is camping.
- Disconnect from the world. Camping offers you a new experience and real opportunity to re-connect with nature and wildlife. Camping sites are about as close as you can get to some of the most beautiful places in Cambodia.
- Get away from technology. Yes! We all need to disconnect from the expectations of being online 24/7. Most places are out of reach, with no mobile or internet connection.
- Connect with your loved once – Spending time with your friends or family is one of the most important things you can do; for your own and their wellbeing. Camping is a fun way to spend time with those that matter most in your life.
- Food tastes much better in the outdoors – typical camping food is some of the best-tasting food and it tastes even better in the fresh air. Cooking with open fire is magical, it cannot be done well on the stove at home.
In general, there are 2 options when it comes to jungle overnight stay in Cambodia – traditional camping and “hammocking”.
What do we mean by hammocking?
Its’ officia.l definition is: “Hammocking – The act of laying in a hammock and enjoying the swing of nature pushing you gently into a slumber.”
In our case, this means sleeping overnight in a hammock instead of the traditional tents most of us know from back home. If any of you spend some time in South-East Asia, you will see hammocks everywhere- next to the road, in local cafes and almost every Cambodian home. It is a national part-time leisure activity, and everyone is at it.
Hammocking is also a local version of a camping, and might be more suitable for a jungle overnight stay then tradition camping as we know it, especially if you are planning to camp during the rainy season.
- You are off the ground – no creepy crawllies!
- During heavy rain, your hammock will not get flooded.
- Minimal weight – travelling very light in case you have to carry your backpack.
- Easy to set up – very useful if you are arriving in the dark, rain or there is a poor visibility.
- For some people, like us it is not the most comfortable way to sleep – no space to toss and turn!
- It requires magic touch or experienced camper to set up the hammock during the rainy season, you do not want to wake up with rain pouring down on top of you. So, there is a trick to plastic sheet positioning above to ensure that no water comes in during a heavy rain..
- Mosquitos – this is the main problem when sleeping outdoors and especially in a hammock. Luckily some hammocks come with a built in mosquito net.
CAMPING IN CAMBODIA
Cambodians are becoming more in tune with their environment and nature, more camping opportunities are becoming available for local and international tourists.
Most camping sites are currently available in community-based ecotourism areas, they are similar to national parks, we know from Europe or USA, they are usually run by local communities. As part of the protection efforts to preserve the local biodiversity and eliminate illegal logging of timber, local people provide ecotourism services to visitors.
Some of the best places to stay are:
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In general, camping facilities in Cambodia are very basic, so do not expect potable loos or fancy bathroom facilities at your camp site. Therefore, it is advisable to bring all necessary equipment, unless you have booked all inclusive camping experience.
9 out of 10 times you will be at the camp site on your own, which is probably one of the most amazing benefits of camping in Cambodia… solitude, nature and silence. But do not worry, most sites will have a security guard or your tour guide (if you are doing multi day trekking trip ) watching over you during the night, to make sure your safety is being looked after.
WHAT TO PACK:
- Mosquito repent
- Long-sleeve top and thin trousers for evenings/ trekking to minimise the mosquito bites.
- Lots of drinking water
- Good walking shoes
- Rain clothes that breathable, as it might rain and be hot at the same time.
- Bring brown/dark clothes as the road/path will be muddy in the rainy season or dusty in the dry season – from our personal experiences, it is difficult to wash the red colour soil of white T-shirts.
- Check the weather! Some parts of Cambodia like Mondulkiri or Ratanakiri can get very cold and you will need warm clothing. Do not assume that you are in tropical country it is always hot, it can easily get very cold during the night.
- Torch – best is to bring head-torch if possible.Basic first aid kit
WILD CAMPING IN CAMBODIA
Wild camping (also known as free camping or ‘stealth’ camping) while touring or biking around Southeast Asia is a dream many of us have, but it can be intrusive to local people if done lack of sensitively and without permission of the local people living in the village or commune.
From testimonies, we’ve managed to compile some information on the de facto “rules” on wild camping in Cambodia.
Wild camping is very rare here, there aren’t really laws about it, however there do appear to be some general rules to abide by if you want your wild camping experience to go smoothly.
In Cambodia, unlike in forests in the UK or USA where there’s little population, many wild camping destinations are often populated.
Always speak to locals and get permission to camp if you’re in an area with people or villages nearby – chances are that they will welcome you to their homes with open arms.
Temples can offer a great place to pitch a tent. Ask the monks if they will allow you the honour of staying in their temple. It is usually a very safe option, sometimes It is possible to sleep right under Buddhas watchful gaze.
That would almost guarantee a relaxing nights sleep.