We are travelling to Cambodia next week (first time!) we'll be there for 23 days. We want to go trekking for 2-3 days in a national park, jungle... somewhere off the track. We heard about Chi Phat and some tour activities around there with ecotourism. Just wondering if anyone can recommend it? and know the prices? I have emailed them, but haven't got a reply yet.
or if you know any other good places for hiking trekking in Cambodia? We would like to find something around Siem Reap or in the south maybe. We don't want to plan our route day by day, we'll see how we go. We'll arrive in Phnom Penh, go to Siem Reap, maybe Battabang, then somewhere trekking and finish in Sihanoukville and 1 or 2 islands to return home from Phom Penh.
Unfortunately we dont really have time to travel north east, I read there are good places up there!
Any advise would be great,
Thanks a lot!
Since you don't have enough time to NE of Cambodia, Chi Pat remains your best option. Here is a link from another travel forum that answers some of your questions: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1532269-i16965-k4345787-Chi_Phat_The_most_amazing_place_I_have_ever_been-Koh_Kong_Koh_Kong_Province.html There is no mention of the homestays which I believe are 3$ per night, certainly no more than $5. Have fun.
#2 chimera has been a member since 29/11/2013. Posts: 5
Highly recommend Chi Phat I am about to return there for 3 week stay having spent time there the last two years.
They are not very good at emails but no need to worry about accomodation there is plenty and the only place that might be booked is the eco lodge itself
There is a web site http://www.ecoadventurecambodia.com/ but I am sorry I can not remember prices but they seemed reasonable
Hope to see you there
Here is my experience in 2013:
We arrived at 11 at the central office and we found nobody who spoke English.
The office is covered with information about results achieved by CBET: active since 2008, it has 14 guides, 10 cooks, rangers, eco-lodges, massages are all part of the organisation.
They told us to come back at 14:30. We met the responsible, an unwelcoming woman.
We had a nice homestay experience with a mother and her daughter.
Trekking experience, we chose the two days one night option to the waterfall (option 4).
It included the Pineapple Rock (which we didn't see), the O'key community (sitting for 5 minutes on the veranda of a house).
Despite being called Cardamome Mountains, you will walk most of the time flatland, with forest and pastures.
Nobody introduced us our guide until a minute before leaving. He didn't speak English. By meeting other tourists we found out most of the guides do not speak English. This has strongly influenced our overall experience. For most of the time the guide has walked 20 meters ahead of us and didn't say anything about what we saw around us.
During the meals the guides ate far from us and always spoke between each other.
I am surprised that after 5 years no progress has been done in this directon. While being an eco-initiative, the project should take in account also the tourist experience.
Speaking with one of the responsible of the projects, he told me that the guide training is insufficient. They do not only have problems with English but they lack communicative capacities with tourists, only 6-7 guides speak good English. Several solutions have been explored but not implemented:
- government certification of eco-guide
- invite tour guides from abroad
- open a bar so that tourists can hang out with other tourists and get to know their guides
I believe that for longer treks a guide who speaks English should be guaranteed, but maybe there is not the willingness from the side of the organisation.
Everyone told us about the wonderful food, I found the food just ok. Basically it's rice with meat vegetables and eggs.
The second day we just walked on a road for motorbikes, with nothing attractive to see.
The fare system appeared unfair to me as well: CBET asks for a commission on every service. 7$ commission on a ticket that costs 5, 7$ on a motorbike that costs 5. The 15$ wildlife donation were facultative on the website, but are already calculated.
I do not recognise all of your negative comments having been a regular visitor to Chi Phat for 4+ years. There are occasion when the reception/office is closed during the day for lunch but it is rare at other times not to be able to find someone who speaks English and the one thing I have not seen is an unfriendly welcome given to arriving guests (true it can take time to get sorted)
A lot of work has been done with the guides recently and whilst not all speak English most do and this year they have undergone training to improve their role as guides and to improve their English. It is very rare that I hear complaints about the guides even those whose English leaves a bit to be desired (yes very occasionally) and on the whole the guides are a great bunch
I can not speak for the food on the trecks but I always eat with the host family of local friends and I can assure you that the food is excellent
Travellers have always met in the evening at the CBET centre to drink and share experiences and there are other places in the village to meet friends and drink - however they are not western bars they are Khmer bars. There is no problem and never has been about being able to meet and get to know your guides over a drink in the evening
I agree there can always be improvements but what you need to understand is the whole concept behind the scheme which is to provide villagers with an alternative to hunting and destroying the rain forest and replacing local guides with foreigners would be counter productive