Mondulkiri: A wildlife experience

Editor’s note: Below is another adventure submitted to us by Paola Vega (she’s on Instagram, too!), documenting her adventure in Mondulkiri. Follow

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The eastern region of Cambodia is a place unknown to many. Yet becoming more and more popular. Mondulkiri province is now an upcoming backpackers’ destination full of wildlife and nature.

I took a mini-van from Phnom Penh directly to the town of Sem Monorom. I then walked to the office of an Elephant Sanctuary that I contacted prior my arrival. My intended purpose of coming here was to volunteer a few days and this place offered a great deal.

The first night I had to spend it at a really nice hotel called Nature Lodge. Completely immersed in the essence of the region; wide open green spaces, beautiful sunsets and clear night skies. The next day the “Mondulkiri Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary” welcomed me with their arms open. The first two days I followed them on their trekking and elephant tour just to get to know the whole organization better and to grasp their essence. After, I spent three days helping at the sanctuary with various projects.

The place is a real paradise for the elephants, they have a massive land where they can roam freely, and the best part is: they are not chained or ridden on. They really take care of them at the sanctuary. The visitors have the chance to feed them and then bathe them. And if you do the two-day program you even get to sleep one night at the sanctuary in a nice jungle-hut. A really unique experience.

Also, the jungle trek is a great way to see more of this beautiful region. There are many waterfalls and plantations around worth seeing. And at the end of the day, you feel so accomplished for walking 20k up and down hills.

I had a great time during my stay in Mondulkiri and I will recommend it to anyone who’s in Cambodia. If you are a nature and animal lover this place is for you!

Things to do in Kampot for 3-day trip

Editor’s note: Below is another article by our favorite traveler, Langda! Check out his recount of his camping experience and suggested things to do in Kampot below.


People say “Work hard and play hard”, and this quote has become one of my favorites. After spending most effort achieving things at work, I rewarded myself with a camping experience at Kampot for 3 days 2 nights along with Small World team and several other new friends. I was inspired by natural and recreational places and activities there and think it would be useful to share my experience of things to do in Kampot, specially to workaholic travelers who are staying in Cambodia and making a plan to escape from Phnom Penh during the weekend. With this article you will learn how to go to Kampot, the things you can do there, and how much budget you should prepare for.

Boat in Trapang Sangke Community
Boat in Trapang Sangke Community

How to go to Kampot from Phnom Penh?

Kampot province is not far from the city. It just takes about 3 hours from Phnom Penh city, which is just a few nap takings to me. We rent a minibus which can put up to 25 people with a professional driver included. The price is about 270$ for our case (3 days and 2 nights). In case, you do not have that much of people, a couple or a group of 5 people, you might consider taking a minivan which is very affordable, between USD 7.00 and 8.00, which you can book online here

This is the mini bus that we rent. And it was taken inside the Wat Sampov Pram.
This is the mini bus that we rent. And it was taken inside the Wat Sampov Pram.

First thing to do in Kampot

Our first place to visit was Bokor mountain, formerly known as French colonial hill station resort then a site of a royal home for summer vacation. You can also reach the top of mountain by motor. Besides getting fresh air and catching cloud (fog) experience on the mountain, there are 5-star hotel and casino, Thansur Bokor Highland Resort, there to enjoy. One of the best spot view you should not miss there is to visit Wat Sampov Pram, five (pram in Khmer) rocks represent the ship (sampov).

The picture of the rocks you will see at first when you enter the temple
The picture of the rocks you will see at first when you enter the temple

From the entrance of the temple, keep walking to the right direction, from there you find a spot which is a bit dangerous there since there is no holder protection when you come close to the top; yet it is worth going there because you are able to see the beauty of the green forest in full HD. There are more things to do in Kampot’s Bokor mountain actually.

kampot bus on bokor mountain beautiful spot
Me in that dangerous but stunning spot I mentioned 🙂

Sleeping in a tent at Kdark La Tente is one of things to do in Kampot

Next, we headed to our booked accommodation, Kdark La Tente, which is one of the best options I would recommend for a camping experience in Kampot, only if you are not a fan of staying at a fancy guesthouse or hotel. It is just 21km from the town. Personally speaking, I think in order best enjoy the trip in such a beautiful paradise like Kampot is to sleep in a tent and experience the following activities wake up and see the beach while brushing your teeth, play football in an open area, catch the shrimp at night, and openly share your impression to the other fellows around the bonfire at midnight. You are allowed to do all of these things at Kdark La Tente, and it costs only USD 5.00 per person per night. The tent itself can stay up to 3 or 4 (4 people for the big one) people. For reservation, I strongly advise you book ahead for such a demanded place via their Facebook page here.

Kampot Kdark La Tente Bon Fire
The tent, bonfire area and me with the ball
One of things to do in Kampot is to sleep in a tente
Shoot from the kitchen angle right after my breakfast

Visiting Mangrove Community is one of the things to do in Kampot

This is probably one of the must do things in Kampot. For day 2, we went to visit Mangrove Lodge called Trapang Sangke Community. From this visit, we have learned how mangrove life is being threatened by deforestation practiced by rich and powerful people according to the chief of the community. And this has affected the life of the fishermen there which forced them to leave their home for Thailand and Vietnam for better living. Thus, this community is created with the purpose of raising awareness of how important mangrove is to both people and underwater life.

Chief community was sharing about mangrove protection
Chief community was sharing about mangrove protection

After the sharing session, we were given a chance to experience growing mangrove by ourselves. To do that, we need to buy young mangrove tree which costs 1$ per tree. Also a boat rental, USD 15.00 including return, is needed to go to a growing area. These are provided by the community.

The boat that is to take us to the planting area
The boat that is to take us to the planting area
One of things to do in Kampot is to plant mangrove trees
Mangrove planting activity

After mangrove planting activities, we crazily threw away dump to one another like in a gun war.

Most exciting place to do in Kampot

After finishing our lunch at the community, we then headed to the Arcadia water park, a place that allow you to best enjoy swimming in Kampot river with the trilled tube and more. These activities should not be missed from your things to do in Kampot. To play those toys, we need to pay USD 5.00 each. Life jacket is provided. And there are 4 different kinds of you-have-the-guts activities such as blob & rope swing, water slide, pontoon and Russian swing. Is there any other things to do in Kampot?

The photo of the 4 thrilled activities in Acardia water park. Source is from TripAdvisor’s users.
The photo of the 4 thrilled activities in Acardia water park. Source is from TripAdvisor’s users.

Experiencing Kayak and Paddle boat in Kampot

This is the most popular to do thing in Kampot that you should not miss. The last but not least of our Day 2 was to see the sunset while kayaking. We visited Bopha Prey Guest House, which is located on the other side of the river (Acardia’s). This is a good place as  starting point for kayaking around the river there. We rent a canoe kayak while some might prefer paddle boat and drive along the river. Each costs USD 5.00/hour. Besides sea foods, this restaurant also serves finger foods at an affordable price. This was the exhausting day for me because of heavily swimming and kayaking.

Bopha Prey Guesthouse
Bopha Prey Guesthouse

Try out Zipline across Kampot River

On the third day, which was the day we have to back to Phnom Penh city, we visited River Park, to enjoy experiencing zip lining across the river. It costs USD 6.00 per person. To be honest, I was not impressed by this because the distance of the line is too short for me to notice the best view of the river.

Kampot River Park Zipline starting point
Kampot River Park’s Zipline starting point

Visiting Kampot Pepper Farm

After that we ended up our trip by visiting Sothy’s pepper farm and having lunch there before leaving Kampot for Phnom Penh. From the farm, we got to see and learn the process from growing, harvesting, and packaging Kampot pepper. During such a hot weather I enjoyed drinking coconut there a lot. Also, the better part is to eat fried crab with Kampot pepper.

The entrance of Sothy’s pepper farm
The entrance of Sothy’s pepper farm
The process of picking different types of pepper (grey, red, black, and white)
The process of picking different types of pepper (grey, red, black, and white)

Finally, I hope you enjoy reading this article and find it useful to make decision on your trip of what to do in Kampot either for your holiday or a quick escape from the Phnom Penh city at your weekend. Stay tuned for our more articles of other things to do in Kampot.

Read more of places you can go after Kampot:

Phnom Penh to Koh Rong Samloem

Editor’s note: Below is another article by our favorite traveler, Hugo! Check out his recount of his adventure from Phnom Penh to Koh Rong Samloem below.


I am living in Phnom Penh since 6 month now and I try to leave the capital at least once every two weeks to take some fresh air, this time: direction Koh Rong Samloem! Thus, with my friends, we left Phnom Penh with a night bus and arrived in Sihanoukville early morning. That was the 4th time I was going there, as this is really close to Phnom Penh, however I still don’t really like Sihanoukville. This city is for me neither nice nor beautiful, this is just the only way to reach the islands that are great, this is why I am not staying there, even for a night!

Once arrived we took a Angkor Speed Ferry boat with BookMeBus, the only boat company I never experienced, and it is definitely the best company to go the islands! They were exactly on time, their staff is really nice, they give you fresh water, boats are new; they have a great and clean open-rooftop, toilets and brand new life jackets for everyone. Furthermore I learned that they are the only one allowed to stop at Long Set Beach in Koh Rong, which can be really useful for those that wants to arrive directly there.

With my friends we arrived in Koh Rong Samloem and we booked at Freedom Island Bungalow for one night. Those bungalows are cheaper than many other in Saracen Beach (between 25-30USD) and are really great, big beds, clean bathroom and a nice terrace to chill with a drink at the end of the day. Those bungalows are located on the right part of the beach, so you don’t have the fits in the white sand, but place is quiet and not crowdie at all. Therefore I recommend those bungalows for people that want calm, clean and cheap place and don’t care that much on walking 3 minutes to reach the big Saracen Beach.

First day, we went to Sunset Beach on the west side of Koh Rong Samloem. To go there you need to take a tiny path that cross over the jungle and you arrived in this beach with transparent water & you are almost alone, what asking for more? After an afternoon spent there, we came back to our bungalow and spend a night drinking mojitos and playing cards, such a great time when your daily life takes place in Phnom Penh.

The second day, we had to leave our incredible bungalow because they were full… We finally ended up in the Hostel by the Sea, the worst hostel I ever experienced in Cambodia… You pay 10 USD for one bed in dorm, you have only one fan for 4 beds, a small disgusting blanket and I am not sure they ever cleaned the sheets… Showers? Can we call that a shower? I am not sure… They are located on the middle of their garbage and it’s just a narrow trickle of smelly and disgusting water not available all day… Finally, after seeing their kitchen, eating there is something you should avoid. I am used to go to hostel and guesthouses and I am never looking for high standard as I always go for the 3-6 USD dorms, but when you pay 10USD for a dorm, at least you want a fan and a proper shower, even more on the sea side. However, as everything was booked we had to stay there.

We left quickly Saracen Beach (which is a bit too big for me), to reach Lighthouse at the south of the island, the walk is a bit more that 1h but is really great and once you arrived you can reach an amazing beach where no one goes, we stayed there playing cards, fishing crabs, reading, incredible! I warmly recommend you to go there, but be careful there is nothing to eat there, we bought some water in the houses nearby but you can’t find anything else.

We finally end up this amazing weekend by a beach BBQ, costly (8USD) but really great! We came back with the same company, Angkor Speed Ferry and reached Sihanoukville, our weekend was really great and I will definitely go back to Koh Rong Samloem!

Hugo

How BookMeBus will revolutionize transportation in Cambodia

Editor’s Note: Below is the coverage of BookMeBus’ PR Guru, Tharum of the Bus5 event held last February 18, 2017.


A startup founded by a group of young Cambodians, BookMeBus takes a small pride to transform the way travellers and passengers book their bus tickets with a few clicks.

Last week’s event “Revolutionizing Cambodia’s transportation using technology,” a marriage of the best of both worlds happened when BookMeBus collaborated with pioneering mobile payment Wing to integrate the payment solution into its billing system, which aims to make it really easier for the bus companies as well as bus ticket buyers.

In her opening remarks at the event, Her Excellency Koy Sodany, under-secretary of state of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, told the invited-only participants that “moving to digital and online is crucial. It’ll take the nation to the next stage. Let’s take a look at people in our neighboring countries, they’re technology and the Internet to book tickets. It’s an advancement. I believe we’ll also adopt this new technology.”

bus5 bookmebus koy sodany

Chea Langda, BookMeBus CEO, said that “this technology has been proudly developed by young Cambodians not to compete with bus companies, but to complement them. We want bus operators to take more advantages from the use of technology. Also, Cambodia would be well-prepared to take on the high growth of the number of tourists visiting Cambodia.”

bus5 bookmebus chea langda

In addition to this, BookMeBus’s Chief Technology Officer Ly Channa also demonstrated its newest brainchild, Bus5, probably the world’s last-minute bus ticketing app. Bus5 will make it possible for both bus operators and passengers to connect in real-time for booking bus tickets, even 5 minutes before departure time.

bus5 bookmebus ly channa

Some key points during the event:

Ministry rep stated:

The ministry of public transport embrace the use of the technology the improve its service delivery. The most recent example is vehicle registration, getting vehicle plate and license.

Wing CEO added,

Wing payment solution and BookMeBus billing system for bus operators is marriage of the best to for Cambodians.

BookMeBus also stated,

BookMeBus is here to complement, not to compete. We want to continue to make easier for anyone to access bus tickets.

Regarding Bus5: It’s like Alibaba’s real-time marketplace for bus operators and customers.

Some tweets during the event:

 

 

What’s up with Bus5?

Bus5 is the newest brainchild of BookMeBus. The Bus5 app is a bus ticketing application that allows travelers to purchase or book bus tickets at the last minute.

Bus5This bus ticket application makes it easier for travelers to find the bus schedules and bus operators that are available within 24 hours.

The best thing about it? You can buy bus tickets in 5 easy steps – in 5 minutes!

What’s behind the name, “Bus5”?

Bus5 simply means having bus tickets in 5 steps and 5 minutes – or less!

What to expect:

  • Route search using 5 steps
  • View search results
  • Viewing company profile and amenities
  • Get an eTicket within the app that is accepted by participating bus companies
  • Buy bus tickets very quickly

But wait, there’s more to Bookmebus’ Bus5! More to come soon!

Subscribe HERE in order to be the one of the first few to hear updates and news about Bus5.

Many thanks, and speak soon!

BookMeBus Team