Stay a few days
A rural retreat just under nine kilometres from Stung Treng town, off Route 7 on the way to Laos, Mekong Bird offers well-designed, tree-shaded wood cabins with river views, and plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding rivers and forests.
The cabins are all ensuite, some with air-con and hot-water showers, and all with decks overlooking the Mekong and comfortable mattresses on four-poster beds with mozzie nets. Some new cabins are set back from the river, and have obstructed views.
If luxury living is your thing, you may find things here a little too rustic. The accommodation is simple, but we adored it, not just for the views and peaceful setting, but for the gentle, unforced atmosphere and gardens absolutely bursting with flowers and birds.
And that was before we even got to the restaurant. According to the manager, the restaurant here is so good that people travel in from around the province to eat here, and we can’t say we’re surprised. We tucked in to one of the most delicious Thai beef and crispy noodle salads we’ve had for a long time for dinner, and a gorgeous serving of light, golden crisp-edged pancakes with sugar and lime was beautifully served on a platform overlooking the river for breakfast.
The menu was extremely well-priced, with most dishes around the $3/$4 mark, and mostly made of Khmer and Thai dishes, including Phad Thai, soups, salads, noodles and rice-based dishes. This is very much worth making the trip out of Stung Treng for, even if you’re only staying there for one night.
The French manager, who speaks fluent English, French (evidement) and Khmer, also leads tours up the river and into the surrounding areas. You can also take up the chance to go camping. Kayaking tours start at $20 per person, depending on how many people are in the group, while camping trips start at $16 per person (for a group of four), which includes tent, bedding, dinner, boat trip and a night guard. Solo travellers pay a disproportionately higher amount, so it might be worth rounding up a fellow traveller on the way.
They also organise birding trips up the river, with half- and full-day tours taking in the flooded forest, Mekong islands, waterfalls, sunsets and some chances to catch some of the region’s stunning birdlife. Prices start at $9 per person for a small tour (group of four), and $31 per person for a full-day tour (group of four).
We sincerely rued our schedule on departing.
Address: Thmey Village, Stung Treng (off Route 7 to Laos)
T: (012) 796 699;
Coordinates (for GPS): 106º0'11.63" E, 13º34'48.19" N
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Room rates: Under US$10
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
Restricted view. River view: $15. Fan-cooled, cold water.
|Deluxe double room|
Includes hot water and air-con.
Nicky Sullivan is an Irish freelance writer (and aspiring photographer). She has lived in England, Ireland, France, Spain and India, but decided that her tribe and heart are in Cambodia, where she has lived since 2007 despite repeated attempts to leave. She dreams of being as tough as Dervla Murphy, but fears there may be a long way to go. She can’t stand whisky for starters. She was a researcher, writer and coordinator for The Angkor Guidebook: Your Essential Companion to the Temples, now one of the best-selling guidebooks to the temples.
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