The magnificent Areng Valley and the surrounding National Parks of the Southern and Central Cardamoms of Koh Kong are iconic for two key reasons: 1) They are home to countless species of wildlife, such as Siamese crocodiles, dragon fish, wild elephants, several species of wild cats, great hornbills, etc, and 2) the Areng Valley has been saved from being destroyed by a highly destructive and uneconomic hydroelectricity project.
Home to close to 2,000 members of the indigenous 'Chong' group, the valley measures 20,000 hectares and offers visitors the chance to participate in several cool activities, such as kayaking on the lookout for crocodile (these don't bite!), cycling, trekking, or spending a night camping by the side of the awesome Areng River relaxing to the sound of the surrounding jungle. Though you do not need to be a pro to participate in our tours, be reminded that the required level of fitness needed to participate is medium. Also, note that we are sometimes forced to vary slightly the activities described in the itinerary below, due to unforeseen events such as heavy rains, rivers flowing too hard, etc.
Day 1 - Our adventure starts from the Veal 2 intersection, 30 km shy of Koh Kong city, at around 1 or 2 pm (times vary according to the bus company you are using to reach us!). Then we will go by motorbike to the Areng Valley via the small village of Thmo Bang, and stopping by at the stunning Chhay Ta Hing rapids for a short swim. Expect to start Kayaking around four pm, and be ready to be on the lookout not just for the Areng Valley's awesome birdlife and odd snake, but also to catch a glimpse of the sacred, and critically endangered Siamese crocodiles that live there (don't worry, these awesome creatures are not human eaters!).
Dinner, cooked by local communities, is served around 7 pm, and those guests who feel like it, can take another trip by kayak to see some of the amazing wildlife that visit the Areng valley at night. Nights are spent on tents on of the numerous sand banks of the area, by the side of a warm fire, or on hammocks by the side of the river if water levels are too high.
Day 2 - After an early morning start, guests are taken back to the village of Chumnoab, where breakfast is served in one of the local homes of the indigenous Chong people. As stated above, these resilient people have hard to fight hard for their right to remain in their ancestral lands despite the threat of a dam forcing them out, and will welcome you with open arms. Then, time for taking motorbike through the whole valley to the village of Chumnar. The road is mostly flat though it is not paved and there is a few bumps along the way. Expect to see extremely low level of traffic (zero cars which is nice ;). Make sure you have your camera or smart phone ready to document the beauty of the jungle-clad mountains surrounding the Areng Valley. At around 2 or 3 pm, we will leave the motobike behind, and start a trek into the foot of the Cardamom mountains, towards the beautiful 'Tapang' waterfall. The trek takes anything from 60 to 90 minutes and is not too physically demanding. On arrival, guests can take a dip into the cool waters of the waterfall, or take a walk in the vicinity of the area. Our second night is spent camping by the side of the waterfall, either on hammocks or tents.
Day 3 - After early morning breakfast, time to trek back to pick up the motorbike and travel back to Chumnoab. Departure back towards the National Road
is around 11 am, which gives you enough time to make a quick visit to the beautiful rapids of Chhay Ta Hing for a swim, before arriving at the Veal Piir intersection. Guests who wish to do so can travel back to Phnom Penh, Sinhanoukville, Koh Kong city, or onto Thailand.
(if you fail to get an answer after a few hours, chances are that our main coordinators are in the jungles, out of signal. If that is the case, we will get back to you in once we are back to civilization ;).