Explore Cambodian wildlife and eco-systems of Trapeang Roung Community in Candamon Mountains
The Cardamom Mountains are a biodiversity hot spot for international tourists. Based on the banks of Trapeang Rung river, one of the last remaining wildlife corridors in the region. Trapeang Roung Community ecotourism site allows for easy access to the unspoiled biodiversity of the region with opportunities for you trekking, boat trips to explore the otherwise inaccessible part of the Cardamons, as well as offering many amazing places for a lazy day relaxing in the hammock at the river bank. During the heat of the day, you can just jump in for a refreshing swim.
Trapeang Roung Community Based Ecotourism site (CBET) was established to protect the forest from illegal logging, hunting and clearing for farms which threaten the ecosystem. It was founded in October 2008 in order to provide sustainable alternative livelihoods to local people while reducing threats to local natural resources.
Initially supported by several international NGOs, the project has gone through many changes in the last 2 years. Currently, the project is solely run by the local community without any external support.
Mr. P, one of the community leaders in charge of running this project says: “It has been very difficult for us over the last 2 years. Previously we received support from international organisations to run our project, training the local community and support the development of the ecotourism site. Now, we are totally on our own. This has been challenging for us, as the committee members work as volunteers to help to run this project… some people left, but now we are rebuilding this project.
In many ways, now we can really work with the community to design tourism services that truly help local people. Our village is easily accessible, so it is not very difficult or expensive for tourists to come here, which makes it easier to visit than other places in the Cardamon mountains. Currently, most of our visitors come for a homestay but there are also other options available to them like trekking or boat trips. We hope that more tourists come and visit so we can show them one of the most amazing places in Cambodia, our village and community.”
Illegal logging and wildlife poaching are major issues in most communities in the Cardamon mountains. Like few other projects in this area, the only way to help communities to deal with these issues is to offer families another form of employment, or alternative income. Sustainable community-based tourism plays an important role in ensuring that people and their local biodiversity can co-exist in harmony.
Trapeang Roung site is a completely community run CBT project based in the southern part of the Cardamom Mountains. The region remains one of last remaining wildlife corridors, and home to leopards, elephant, sun bears, gibbons, and Siamese crocodiles. However it is important to point out that most of these species are not easily accessible to the vast majority of the tourists visiting this area, as a large part of the Cardamon mountains fall within the Core Zone of the Protected Area (similar to national parks) that has been dedicated to wildlife protection and research, and therefore are inaccessible for tourism.
The Cardamom mountains are threatened by illegal logging, hunting and clearing for farms which also threatens the ecosystem. Trapeang Roung village is easily accessible by public transport and can be used as a base to explore the local area. The area offers stunning landscapes, and views across the valley, with the Trapeang Roung river dividing the village into two halves.
Even though, the village is not very developed it has all the necessary amenities like local shops, several local restaurants, small stationary shop, schools and pagoda. So, even if you are staying in the area for several days you can find new places to try the local cuisine. The village has also a small locally run guest house, that is mostly frequented by local Cambodian tourists.
Local homestays are well equipped and offer great comfort. Most of the accommodation is in traditional Khmer style wooden houses on stilts, with either indoor or outdoor toilet. From our visits, the difference in the choice of local homestays is mainly based on their location – either on the banks of the river, or within the middle of the village itself. If you are after peaceful location and tranquillity of the rural village, we would recommend you request a homestay on the river bank outside of the main village area.
Most homestays offer:
- Clean and safe accommodation
- 1-3 bedrooms in a traditional house with bed, mattress, mosquito net, cotton sheets, blankets, pillows
- local style toilet and shower
- Electricity 24/7
- Provide drinking water,
- Parking: car, van, motorcycle
Most of the homestay’s along the river will also have a small wooden shelter overhanging the river, where visitors can relax during the day and spend a lazy afternoon reading their books or swimming in the river.
The food is of very good quality, as the local community received training from an international NGO, so expect fresh vegetables and fish.
Trapeang Roung Community can either be a short stop on your way from the Koh Kong town or Thai border to Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh or Kampot or a few days visit to the Cardamon mountains.
The site is both attractive to the adventure seeker and adrenalin junkie seeking the next big adventure, as well as those who just want a relaxing weekend in unspoiled natural beauty.
The Trapeang Roung river is clean and easily accessible to people of all swimming abilities. When you get tired of the beautiful scenery, relaxing by the river and enjoying lovely local food, you can just ask your host family to organise a short/long boat trip on the river. In addition, most local families practice subsistence fishing, so there are lots of opportunities for you to join one of their fishing trips. At the moment these are not structured activities, but if you speak with your host family or CBT co-ordinator they will try to organise these trips for you.
The site has several trekking options available, however, due to limited limber of tourists and fluctuation during the rainy and dry season, these experience are only available if you pre-book them. The community has an English speaking guide who will accompany you during your trip and will make sure that your trip is well organised. As often these trips are custom planned, the prices for the trips depend on the number of people and time of year/accessibility of the area, please send us a message and we will connect you with the community to organise these trips.
- Trekk trough Phlov Rul rok to Phnom Roung, for one day. This trail is recommended for a good trekker, you will go to the top of Phnom Roung mountain ( Cave mountain) with gorgeous scenery along the way and lots of things to see and explore at the top, including spectacular views, waterfalls, bat caves, wildlife and medicinal plants.
- Sunrise and sunset at Kbal kampong rapids ( 1 night ): relaxing trip to the Kbal Kampong rapids is a nice way to experience the river and see the beautiful sunset and sunrise on the way. This is a perfect time for spotting birds, civet cats, monkeys and hearing the calls of gibbons. You could also visit the remote village of Veal Tapoo by boat ride and see the strange pineapples that grow on the rocks, sampling wild fruit along the way. At the rapids, walk around with nature and take a swim.
- Visit the impressive waterfall Py Chhorn in the Cardamom mountains. Trek through the jungle with a local guide who will point out the interesting site along the way
Trapeang Roung Community Based Ecotourism site (CBET) is located in the Southern Cardamom Mountains, 150 km from Phnom Penh. Trapeang Roung village is located on Highway number 48 on the road to Koh Kong and the Thailand border.
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