Adventure into stunning Cambodian nature and wilderness areas and discover ancient cultural relics.
The Chi Phat Community (Khmer: ជីផាត,pronunciation: cheephat) is located deep within the Cardamom Mountains in Koh Kong Province. The deep green forest landscape and cascading waterways make this a perfect location for explorers and adventurers. Discover ancient burial sites in dramatic caves deep in the mountains, admire flora and fauna as you trek into the wilderness and sleep under the stars on an overnight adventure with local guide. Stay in a homestay (highly recommended), guesthouse or bungalows, all of which support the Chi Phat Community. Chi Phat is well known globally and after a few days here you will understand why.
The Chi Phat Community has been hosting tourists for over 10 years. Environmental NGO Wildlife Alliance set up tourism here in order to protect wildlife and forest by providing alternative livelihoods for local people. The impact of tourism on the community and forest has been noticeable after such a time.
Chao Chanhean, helps tourists arrange their stay at Chi Phat Community at the Tourist Information Centre. Before this, Chan Chanhead worked as a motodop driver before setting up a homestay which helped him learn English.
“Now so many people have jobs. Over half of the community work in tourism: as moto drivers, homestays hosts and other accommodation, tour guides, cooks….this has been important to create a better life for us. My Mother has a homestay now that I work in reception and my sister has a bungalow business. We keep it fair – so that not everyone can do everything but so everyone can benefit. Before many people had to try find work far away from their families. I feel lucky now as I can look after my family, work on my farm and work in the community too.”
For Ly Solyheang, Community Tourism Chief, one of the biggest impacts has been on the way the community treats the forest and endangered wildlife in the area.
“Before many people from the village would kill animals in the forest – poaching was a big issue. We have beautiful birds, deer, elephants, monkeys, wild pigs…so much. But now that there are more opportunities in the village it stops people needing to kill these animals to support themselves. Same goes for cutting down trees. Also, not just this. In the village people are more concerned about picking up rubbish and keeping the environment clean. So there have been big changes for us over these years.”
Chi Phat Community is a village nestled at the bottom of the Cardamom Mountains that offers tourists the chance to adventure into nature. The project is supported by Wildlife Alliance who also run specialised tours to patrol the forests with rangers or spend the night at a nearby Wildlife Release Station with Wildlife Alliance staff.
Tourism at Chi Phat Community is organised by a team of 7 local people who are elected by the community. The management team are stationed at the Chi Phat tourism information office and restaurant in the village. Here, they can arrange accommodation, food and package tours to explore the surrounding areas.
Although Chi Phat Community is well-know for the opportunity it provides tourists to visit stunning eo areas and ancient burial sites, it is also well set up for tourists looking for a relaxing time. The village has village style restaurants, ‘pubs’, guesthouses, and bungalow. There is something for everyone.
The Chi Phat commune consists of four villages: Chi Phat, Komlot, Chom-Sla and T’k La’o. There are 600 people who live in the community and 50% of whom are employed in tourism. 20% of income from tourism goes towards forest protection programs, building community infrastructure such as bridges and roads and to help support vulnerable members of the community.
Chi Phat Tourism Information Office and Restaurant
The Chi Phat Community has a well-equipped tourist information office with English speaking staff, maps and information to help you plan your time at Chi Phat. There are plenty of chairs and tables to relax here too. Community cooks also serve delicious Khmer style meals from the community restaurant. Visit the office when you first arrive to Chi Phat, it is straight up the main road from the ferry dock.
There are an array of accommodation options at Chi Phat to meet all needs and budgets.
Overnight treks into the forest include a staying under the stars in a hammock with mosquito net. Tents can also be arranged.
Within the village there are 11 families who host guests in their wooden Khmer style home. Homestays offer comfortable private rooms in a family home with a bonus welcoming family! For only $4 a night for a double room – it really is a steal. Each room is equipped with double bed, bedding, mosquito net and electricity. Bathrooms are external to the house with both Western style and Khmer style squat toilets and bucket showers. Houses are elevated on stilts and have areas to relax and ‘people-watch’ from a balcony.
Community Run Guesthouse
There are 14 guesthouses at the Chi Phat Community run by local families. Each guesthouse has 5-10 rooms and offers a mixture of private rooms with shared/private bathrooms ($5/$7).
There are basic to more luxurious private bungalows located a little way from the village run by families from the community. Prices range from $15-$30 for a double room with private bathroom.
Chi Phat Community is well equipped with places to purchase that one item you may have forgot to pack! Stores surrounding the food market sell torches, raincoats, shoes and hats – as well as your usual Khmer snacks, drinks and micealenous goods. The local market has many stalls selling soups and rice – delicious for breakfast.
Explore the village by bicycle or go on an adventure with a local guide. Mountain bikes can be hired from the Chi Phat community office for $10 per day or $5 for a half day.
Kayaks are available for rent for half or full day (big: $10/$12, small: $7/$10).
Staff at the Chi Phat tourist office speak excellent English.
There is a pharmacy and basic medical service in the village.
Spend the night in the village with a local Chi Phat family in a beautiful home. We couldn’t recommend these experiences more! Discover a welcoming hospitality and practice your Khmer and enjoy a home-cooked meal before sleeping comfortably in your private room.
The Cardamom Mountains are for exploring! Go with a local guide to uncover the beauty of the region. Treks can be arranged to suit different fitness levels. Best to go for a few days and spend the night in the forest!
Kayak or take a boat along the river nearby to Chi Phat. A relaxing way to experience the natural beauty of the region
Pre-Angkorian Cultural Relics
Visit caves full to the brim with ancient histories. This region is home to Pre-Angkorian Burial Jars from thousands of years ago that can be visited with on a day or overnight tour with a local guide.
The Chi Phat Community is surrounded by waterways, streams and waterfalls perfect for cooling off. A day tour or overnight tour includes stops at the most stunning natural water features – not to be missed!
Chi Pat Community is located at the bottom of the Cardamom Mountains, Koh Kong Province and around 2 hours from Koh Kong town.
Coming from Phnom Penh
Buses to Koh Kong from major cities can be arrange easily via bookmebus. A bus from Phnom Penh takes approximately 5-6 hours to go all the way to Koh Kong town. However, to reach Chi Pat you will need to get off 100kms earlier at the junction to Chi Pat Community (11.2060755,103.489237). Here, a friendly lady will eagerly arrange a motodop (motor taxi) the rest of the way.
From Koh Kong
Mornings are easiest for arranging transport in Koh Kong. Virak Buntham departs Koh Kong for Phnom Penh at 7:45am and 2pm. Alternatively, try the bus station, outside the market or opposite Acleda Bank on National Road 48 for the cheapest transport to the Chi Pat Junction. Buses coming from Thailand or on their way to Phnom Penh follow this route. The journey is approximately 2 hours and will cost between $5-$10, depending on your method. Stop after the bridge at the junction to Chi Pat and from here take a motorbike taxi.
Junction to Chipat
Motodop from National Road 48 junction are $7 per person and take 45min – 1 hour along some tough muddy roads. You will reach a river, from here take a 2 minute ferry (1000 riel/0.25c) across to the other side. From the banks for the river the Chi Pat Tourism Office is a 5 minute walk along the main road of town.
CHI PHAT – ECOTOURISM
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