By Female Savvy Traveller

After visiting the beautiful Koh Mak island in Thailand, we were heading back to Cambodia, planning to visit Kampot town for 2-3 days for relaxing few days next to the Kampot river. Instead of travelling for hours on end, we decided to stop over in the Cardamom mountains for a night.

Given our limited time, we chose to visit a site that was easily accessible by public transport. Trapeang Roug Community Homestay perfectly fitted the bill: close to the main road from Koh Kong to National road 4 and a half way between the two places. If you are reading this and wondering about a place being close to the main road – worrying about the noise, pollution and traffic, this main road does not see much of traffic even during the busy part of the day, and during the night there are almost no cars on the road. So, this is not an issue rather an advantage if you have limited time and plan to use public transport for your trip.

The site can be easily found as it is close to the bridge over Trapeang Roug river. We had to ask around a bit to find the office of the community co-ordinator for the tourism project… but as he is the only English speaking person in the village it was obvious to everyone who we were looking for.

Mr. Vibol made us feel very welcome. As we arrived he was teaching English to children in the community, so he had to organise with one of the other teachers to help cover his activities so he could take us to our homestay. As we were hoping to unwind in a peaceful place, we chose to stay in one of the homestays along the river, little out of the main village area. We were welcomed by a lovely family who has a truly fantastic homestay.

It is almost impossible to describe the lush green areas surrounding the house, little shelter next to the river where you can just relax and enjoy the slow pace of this tranquil place. If any of you have been to Kampot (where we were heading to), basically this little village delivers the same peaceful surrounding, plus truly welcoming local host family that provides delicious locally made food for a fraction of the price of staying in Kampot!

To our surprise, our homestay had an indoor upstairs toilet, total luxury for Cambodia. So, both my friend Jeni and I felt like we have hit the jackpot with this homestay.

As we arrived in the late afternoon, there was not much to do other than to sit with a book and enjoy the river views. As the sun started to go down, we had the chance to see the spectacular sunset – with the sun coming down opposite us over the river. Everything turned yellow, orange and red as the last few fishermen collected their daily catch and headed home. Meanwhile, our host was preparing our dinner. As I am a vegetarian, homestay meals sometimes can be tricky. However, our host was trained by an NGO was very skilled and completely understood my need for vegetarian options. The food that arrived 30min later was delicious, tasty and smelt amazing. The taste matched and at times exceeded our expectations.

As we were finishing our dinner, it started to rain. It was time to retire to our room. Thanks to the luxury of having a 1st-floor indoor toilet, we did not have to step out into the rain.

The next morning we were up early, eager to look around and enjoy the place before we hit the road again in a few hours. As we did not have much time to explore the village the afternoon before, we decide on a local breakfast in one of the noodle stalls along the main village street, and what a surprise! Probably one of the best noodle soups I ever had in Cambodia, and with the price tag of $1.25 this was a bargain also.

The evening before we organised with Mr. Vibol that he will rent us their kayak to explore the local area on the water. The water was cool and inviting, so we started by having a swim in the river before going upstream to see more of the local area.

A truly relaxing experience. We started to regret that we have not planned a longer stop at the Trapeang Roug Community Homestay … as in many ways we were heading do similar activities for more money and with a lot more noise and people around in Kampot. However, as we had already pre-booked our accommodation in Kampot, we could not extend, only having 1 night and 1day in this place.

Soon after our swim, we headed back to our homestay where the family waited for us with another delicious meal to be served before our departure.

It has been a very brief visit to this project, but I will be definitely back for a more relaxing time along the river and wholesome local food. If you are wondering where to go in Cardamoms, I would recommend this place for easy access, truly affordable prices and welcoming community. There might not be as many frills here as some other project with large international donor investments… instead, this place offers sincere Cambodian hospitality, plentiful places to relax along the Trapeang Roug river and genuine local homestays.

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