The route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/157782665
The chat: After a luxurious rest day, it was time to get back on the bike and head for the wilderness of the Cardamon mountains. Most guidebooks describe south cambodia as pancake flat, but after today’s experiences I would beg to differ – even a 500m climb becomes everest like once you’ve strapped 50kg of luggage on in 38degrees temperatures!
Luckily today’s route was fairly short, so not too much of a shock to the system, although I remained on high alert for elephant sightings during the ride – apparently 100 elephants live in the jungle we were cycling through, and some of the locals reported they had been tearing down trees and huts, and confronting buses, so I was a little concerned that our tandem would come off worse in a face off.
Thankfully no elephants were seen, although there were some pretty large and colourful snakes making there way across the road. We arrived in Trapeang Roung, a small, isolated rural village at lunch time and headed out for a kayak (tandem, obviously)!
Trapeang Roung is one of 2 villages in the South Cardamons involved in village – led eco tourism (see http://ecoadventurecambodia.com/ for more details). The initiative was set up by an Israeli ranger and uses village members (including ex poachers and illegal loggers) to run a sustainable eco tourism programme. Tourists can stay in homestays (ours was a clean but basic wooden house with no electricity or water), where you live with a local family. We had a great kayak down the river, but other options available included lobster fishing with local fisherman, jungle treks and mountain biking.
We ended the evening eating dried smoked squid (an acquired taste) and drinking local beer some of the villagers accompanied by a soundtrack of Cambodia’s best karaoke. A memorable evening.