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A forest with concrete appeal

The resort’s novel ‘pipe houses’
The resort’s novel ‘pipe houses’. PHOTO SUPPLIED

A forest with concrete appeal

A resort recently opened in Kirirom National Park is hoping to attract visitors with an unusual accommodation option – big lengths of cement pipe

A mid the misty green pine forest of Kirirom National Park, lengths of concrete pipe are being laid. Not for water or sewage. Visitors are going to spend the night in them.

Five “pipe houses” are being fitted out with doors, windows, beds, curtains, fans and safes as a novel accommodation option at the vKirirom Pine Resort, which opened in February this year.

The interior of one of vKirirom Pine Resort’s bungalows
The interior of one of vKirirom Pine Resort’s bungalows. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“No other resort in Cambodia has pipe houses like ours yet,” said resort spokesman Keo Daro, who said the rooms would be ready by the end of the month.

“Our resort wanted to build the pipe houses to make the resort more attractive by providing a new experience. We have already had many people call very interested in staying in them.”

Alternative accommodation options at the resort include four upmarket bungalows, five traditional Khmer-style huts, camp sites and four “luxury tents” that have double beds and bathrooms expected to be available by the end of the month. Off-season per night rates range from $15 for a campsite up to $125 for a four-person bungalow. The pipe houses will cost $35.

The resort also has a 160-seat restaurant, a volleyball, netball, futsal, dodge ball and badminton court, mountain bikes, a nine-hole Frisbee golf course and equipment for “bubble soccer”, in which players heads and bodies are encased in inflated plastic balls.

VKirirom Pine Resort’s bungalows sit amongst the pine trees.
VKirirom Pine Resort’s bungalows sit amongst the pine trees. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Kirirom, located about two and a half hours drive from Phnom Penh, was established in 1940 and has historically been a favoured destination for residents of the capital looking for a break from the city.

The Japanese company behind the resort – A2A Town (Cambodia) Co Ltd – was granted a nearly 10,000-hectare economic land concession in the national park in 2012.

Unit manager Huor Chinhaov said the vKirirom Pine Resort was only the first stage of a A2A’s planned 700-hectare multi-use development. Down the road, the company plans to establish a university and sell off parcels of land for business and residential uses.

In the meantime, he said that the resort’s development was not without its challenges.

“We are facing a few problems; right now, not many tourists know this place and the access road is ruined at some points,” he said. “However, I hope that the number of visitors will increase after the resort is completed.”

More information at vkirirom.com

KIRIROM NATIONAL PARK

Kirirom National Park – also known as Preah Soramarith National Park – is located 112km from Phnom Penh, off the road to Sihanoukville, on the eastern edge of the Cardamom Mountains. Kirirom means “Happy Mountain”.

The park was created in 1940 by the Water and Forestry Department covering 4,401 hectares on a plateau that ranges from 300m to 1,000m above sea level.

The late King Father Norodom Sihanouk visited the park by elephant for the first time in 1944.

At that time, he expressed his love for the natural scenery such as pine trees along with the waterfall and native animals.

“This pine tree exists in France, but I wouldn’t have expected that the pine tree also exists in Cambodia,” he said.

Sihanouk named the place Kirirom Plateau and ordered that the Water and Forestry Department build a holiday house for him – the house still stands today – before beginning the construction of roads and bridges to encourage tourists to visit the area.

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