Jan 20, 2020 — day 48 — 1h48m — 24km — Σ 2,974km — cbet — waterfall — homestay
In Cambodia, some of the remote villages have so called community based eco tourism centers. These are operated by the villagers and most – if not all – of the income goes to the people in the village. We found a nearby one named Chambok CBET, so we decided to try it out.
Before we left the main road, we sat in a cafe and ordered fried eggs and coffee. Bengül went out to buy a bagette to put the eggs in. The village is close to the Kirirom National Park and the road was half paved and half dirt. At the junction of the paved and the dirt road, there was a luxurious resort for people visiting the national park.
When we reached the village, we saw kids leaving school for their lunch break. At the eco-center, several women were preparing food for visitors (many women in the village participate in the cooking rotation). A local guide (one of several, from the village) greeted us and led us to one of the houses in the village. Our hosts lived in one of many designated houses in the commune. Our room was very simple: a mattress on the floor, a mosquito net, and a fan. We were going to have our dinner and breakfast back at the center and pay for everything there. We were told, all of the money paid goes back to the community.
After leaving our bags behind, we went to the trail leading to the waterfalls nearby, which are one of the attractions in this area. There was also a bat cave on the same trail but we didn’t dare. The water level was low in the creek, but there were still many swimming holes to try out and the water was warm enough.
We spent quite a bit of time there by ourselves and on the way back we followed the creek bed. To our delight, a great hornbill made a show, flying between trees and posing for a few minutes.
At dinner time, another group joined us and we had a big meal of rice, curry, vegetables and fruit. After dinner, a youth group performed traditional singing and dancing. At the end of the performance we all danced together to a mixture of traditional and modern music. The kids were quite energetic.