Due to launch in December this year, Betreed looks set to become one of the most exciting and fun adventure sites in Cambodia. Lost in the forests to the north of the Beng Per Wildlife Sanctuary, Betreed has been founded by a couple who have lived in Cambodia for more than 40 year between them. Long based in Rayvieng to the south of their current site, and north of Kompong Thom, they moved their entire lives deep into the forest in 2014, and have since been plotting hiking routes, constructing treehouses, and building a zipline.
We were able to join them pre-opening as part of their research on what works and doesn’t work. They wouldn’t even let us pay for the wood varnish they asked us to bring from the outside world (not even a mention of cookies when we asked what they needed!).
This is a site for the robust of heart, body and mind and adventurous of soul. You will be sleeping in a treehouse, though there should be a working toilet — in the tree! — by the time construction is finished, and also a shower down below.
Meals are taken with the family in their home, though there is a larger wooden house being built which will have a kitchen so that guests can cook for themselves if they want to. The family does not drink, so alcohol is not served. You’re no doubt free to bring your own, but we would assume, as a matter of basic manners, that you wouldn’t drink it in or around the family home.
But, to be perfectly frank, you’re not going to miss it — and believe us, we like a glass just as much as anyone else.
The hiking trails are of varying length and difficulty. There is a lovely short one that takes in an ancient temple that is still shrouded in vegetation. A more robust eight-kilometre hike up the hill beside the site centre provides a great opportunity for wildlife spotting. We found evidence of wild pigs and banteng — an increasingly rare wild cow — and spotted gibbons, green peafowl, a giant black squirrel, snakes, and hundreds of birds. In fact, the bird song in all its diversity and complexity was one of the loveliest parts of the adventure.
They have also spotted silver langurs, slow loris, civets, yellow throated martens, many species of deer, porcupines, ferret badgers (the cutest things ever), and wild boar, among others. The bird list is a whole other thing and much too long to go into.
The 300-metre zipline has been built across a valley and once you get over the jidders gives the most amazing views to the northeast across forest and Tbeng mountain range. Then you have to do it again to get back to where you started! Huge fun.
The family is involved in conservation efforts in the area, working to catch and, less successfully, prosecute poachers and illegal loggers. It is a long, heart-breaking battle as all the precious wood and dwindling biodiversty around them lives under constant threat.
They haven’t worked out a pricing system yet, but this will be available once they are launched this high season. This is definitely one to bookmark and keep an eye on. They will also have set up a means of getting there too.
How to get there
Contact them directly to arrange transport.
By Nicky Sullivan.
Last updated on 31st March, 2016.
The Travelfish newsletter is sent out every Monday and is jammed full of free advice for travel in Southeast Asia. You can see past issues here.