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Short trips off the beaten track

Short trips off the beaten track

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Discover the beauty of Cambodia’s rural villages on a two-day trip to Kampong Cham province.

Looking to discover more of Cambodia than the riverside bars of Phnom Penh? A small boutique touring company has set up to offer day trips and detours to help expats make the most of their free time outside the city.

Mango Cambodia has a small team of passionate locals and discerning westerners to tailor new experiences in sociable, fun group tours.

“It’s the perfect way to meet new friends, particularly for solo travellers,” said Mango’s Anji Loman Field.

The company has a commitment to fair trade, using  local suppliers wherever possible and paying a fair price for goods and services. “So when you book a Mango tour you know you are supporting local people and enterprises,” she said.

Tours offered during July are for a maximum of eight people and a minimum of six.

On July 3 is a full day of cycling through rural villages and farmland close to the city. Visitors can drop in on silk weavers and enjoy a home-cooked lunch before relaxing on a sandy beach or swimming in the Mekong river.

On July 10, a day-long tour will take people through the former capital city of Odong, which was the capital of Cambodia between 1618 and 1866. Odong mountain, with panoramic views of the
countryside and a stupa with a stunning display of 3,000 Buddha statues, will give a moment’s pause for thought as you imagine what it must have been like to live and work here in the past.

Kampong Chhnang is a provincial town located in the heart of the country. It was known as a centre of pottery some 5,000 years ago, and is still famous today for its undecorated clay pots. Embark upon a river journey to discover a floating village of houses, schools and shops.  

Phnom Tamao and Phnom Chisor are on the itinerary for July 17, checking out the sanctuary where exotic animals have been confiscated from traffickers. Later, visit Tonle Bati for a picnic by the lake before exploring the Angkorian temple of Phnom Chisor.

A two-day weekend break to Kampong Cham province costs US$99 a person, touring the city’s Wat Nokor, a modern day Theravada Buddhist pagoda which is integrated into the walls of an 11th-century Mahayana Buddhist shrine made of sandstone and laterite. The combination of modern and old is unique to this temple. Also on the menu is a trip to Phnom Srei and Phnom Pros, two temples sitting atop their respective hills with a valley separating them. The hills are the subject of many local legends.

Next morning, tourists can cycle through the idyllic rural island of Koh Paen. The gentle ride takes you along dirt roads through villages, farmland and pagodas. The islands’ charming children love to call out and high-five people as you cycle by. Stop to enjoy some of the home-grown pomelo and tea at a village house and chat to the locals.  The early afternoon will be spent discovering the sights of Kampong Cham, from its vibrant market, temples and old lighthouse to the Chinese fishing nets strewn over the Mekong.

To book, contact [email protected] or call 023 998 657.

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