Unexplored Cambodia

Tourism, as a double edged sword, can as much benefit a country as it can destroy it. When a place is still unknown, it only attracts the most daring travelers. However, once it starts being discovered and there are more and more visitors, eventually it begins opening its doors to mass tourism, and losing the mystery that once had been the reason for so many people wanting to travel there.

But fortunately, Cambodia has not yet reached this point. Still, most travelers see it as a single destination and just visit its main tourist attractions, like the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, or Sihanoukville.  Despite that belief, Cambodia is the kind of place where the joy of traveling can reach its maximum splendor, with lots of soft adventure possibilities,  destinations well off the beaten track of mass-tourism, places to experience true authenticity and local life, as well as eco-friendly accommodation and community tourism approaches.

Before it was eclipsed by Sihanoukville, Kep was the main seaside destination in Cambodia, and now it is slowly being re-discovered by foreign travelers.  It is known to have very friendly inhabitants and a wonderful countryside made up of rice fields, salt marshes, pepper plantations, rock formations, local villages and pagodas. Many say that a visit to Kep is not complete without eating its major delicacy; crab meat. However, few people turn their heads around to stare at the amazing wildlife that Kep hides, and the Kep National Park offers a wide variety of activities to enjoy.

Sleepy Kampot timidly reveals its colonial charm to those who deign to visit it. Slowly, over time, more and more is going on there, like a small art-scene, a relatively large expat community, and nice cafes and bars along the riverside promenade, which also offers the best sunset in town. Even if the local life is very rich, it is slowly becoming a relaxing but lively destination for travelers. The sad story of Bokor National Park is fascinating, and it is possible to discover it walking around the ruins of the French colonial hill station, established in the 1920’s. Last but not least, Kampot is famous for growing one of the finest peppercorns in the world.

As earlier said, Cambodia is a hub for ecotourism and sustainable development projects, and this is visible in places like the Koh Kong province, which, during the Khmer Rouge regime, was closed to the outside world, because of a lack of infrastructure. After this, and reaching a point of political stabilization, many Westerners opened up numerous eco-friendly and community tourism-based accommodation options. This is one of the biggest provinces in Cambodia and hosts part of the Cardamom Mountains; a wildlife treasure and an ecotourism paradise, with several mangrove forests, the biggest jungle in Southeast Asia and an untouched coastline.

For animal lovers, the Mondulkiri Province is home to more wild animals than anywhere else in Cambodia, especially elephants. This area is also a focus of sustainable tourism activities and wildlife sanctuaries, where several wild species are protected in their natural habitat.

Apart from offering a lovely mosaic of cultures and traditions, Ratanakiri -the Jarai, Tompuon, Brau, Kavet or Kreung are just some of the ethnic groups that live here- this province is a natural wonder of volcanic lakes, waterfalls and forests, especially in the Virachey National Park.

Kratie lies on the banks of the Mekong. When dusk falls, it shows one of the most beautiful sunsets in the whole country. It is a happy little town that still preserves the rich architectural legacy of the French colonial period. This is the main place to observe the Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins, a seriously endangered species. Opposite Kratie Town, lies the unique Mekong island, Koh Trong; a small paradise of countryside and white-sandy beaches (only 8 months a year, outside of the rainy season). One of the best ways to enjoy the charming local life of Koh Trong is sleeping in one of the community projects that Easia Travel offers.

The Angkor Archeological Park is visited each year by millions of tourists, but few of them visit Koh Ker or Preah Vihear temples.  Koh Ker, 127 km from Siem Reap, was capital of the Angkorian empire from AD 928 to AD 944, and, there are more than forty monuments that emerge from the middle of the jungle. On the other hand, 500m high, in the Dangrek Mountains, rises Preah Vihear, with stunning views of the Cambodian plains.

Cambodia is one of the most unexplored countries in Southeast Asia, which means that it still hides remote beaches, wild jungles and villages where the locals have rarely ever seen a foreigner, and this is reason enough to visit it.  Easia travel offers a wide range of customized tours offering access to the most unexplored sites of Cambodia in a sustainable and eco-friendly way, satisfying, as always, the personal desires of our travelers.

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