Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Adventure Destination

Adventure Destination

Adventure Destination


{smoothgallery folder=images/stories/news/specialsup/advanture}
CAMBODIA’s Cardamom mountains, the largest tropical forest wilderness area in mainland Southeast Asia, are not only a biodiversity hotspot but are emerging as an adventure destination.

The township of Chi Phat in the Cardamoms is becoming the place to go for everything from mountain biking, trekking and kayaking to wildlife spotting, bird watching and waterfall discoveries.

The Cardamoms, in the country’s south-west, are one of the last remaining elephant corridors and large predator range in the region. The mountains host more than half of Cambodia’s 2,300 bird species and are home to 14 globally threatened mammal groups.

The western edge of the Cardamom region abuts the Thai border, while the easternmost part ends about 100 kilometres northwest of the capital of Phnom Penh.

The region’s area covers 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) with the highest point in the range (and in Cambodia) being Mount Aural, at 1,813 meters (5,946 feet) while there are five main rivers that run through the Cardamoms, creating dozens of waterfalls..

The Cardamoms contain a broad variety of landscapes and ecosystems ranging from dense evergreen rainforest to lowland swamp forests, elevated grasslands and coastal mangroves.

Biologists predict that the area holds unrecorded biodiversity. Trips to Chi Phat reveal hornbills and monkeys to the casual observer. Gibbon calls are commonly heard in the forests surrounding Chi Phat

“The southern Cardamom mountains are an exceptionally beautiful area,” says Frans Betgem co-founder of Khiri Travel, which specialises creating innovative itineraries in Thailand and Indochina.

“The locals can see the long-term benefit of turning from logging and hunting to ecotourism. Backpackers are arriving. Although Chi Phat is not an easy proposition at the moment, Khiri Travel has started to include it on specialist tours through Cambodia.”

Khiri Travel is supporting the efforts of the Wildlife Alliance which started the community-based ecotourism (CBET) project in Chi Phat in 2006.

Chi Phat comprises four villages on the banks of the Phipot River. Wildlife Alliance says that Chi Phat received 829 tourists in 2009.

The “Friends of Chi Phat”, a select circle of travel agents was formed to support responsible tourism of the green variety. The Friends’ aim is to build programs of activities in the area for study and adventure groups who want to book in advance.

The Friends also support the Chi Phat CBET committee with advice and training.

Wildlife Alliance and its community based ecotourism partners have created a dedicated website to the Chi Phat area of the southern Cardamoms.

For further information visit:  www.mountainbikingcardamoms.com

MOST VIEWED

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release