The Koh Pao estuary is unique not only in its raw beauty, but also in the fact that not many people know it even exists. This waterway is born in the Cardamom Mountains, one of south east Asia's largest and more pristine forests, and ends in the waters of the Gulf of Thailand, running alongside the Thai-Cambodian border. It boasts plentiful wildlife, such as otters and dolphins, and the views of the surrounding, jungle-clad mountains are truly fantastic.
Sadly, a large-scale sand mining operation, aimed at fulfilling Singapore's endless thirst for reclamation sand, took place in the area from 2008 to 2016, when a campaign by the environmental activist group and local fishing communities, supported by activists from other parts of the country, managed to force the governments of Singapore and Cambodia to formally stop the extraction and exports of sand. Activists and local fishing communities are welcoming Cambodians and foreigners alike to visit this beautiful and remote part of Cambodia, with the aim of showcasing its beauty to the entire world and to lobby the Cambodian government so that it formally declares this area as protected and off-limits to any destructive large-scale 'development' projects.
We can run tours to this beautiful and wild part of Cambodia any day of the week !!!
ITINERARY FOR THE TRIP
Day 1 - Guests meet with the English-speaking coordinator/s of the trip at around 2 pm in the city of Koh Kong (also known as Khmerak Phumin), allowing guests plenty of time to get there from Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, or even Trat in Thailand on that same day. After a quick talk with guests in a cafe, in which we introduce to guests what our tours are all about, we will leave Koh Kong at around 3 pm for a 45 minute ride with boat up the awesome Koh Pao estuary, with the awesome views of the surrounding jungle-clad mountains of the Cardamom forests.
Once guests arrive in the quiet and seldom visited Island of Loy, it is time to get our kayaks out and paddle down the tranquil waters of the estuary, and, if guests wish to do so, taking a swim into the warm waters of the estuary (no crocodiles here!!). Leaving our kayaks behind for a little while, we will do a very short trek to the Chhay Smach Ongkam waterfall, then kayak back to see the beautiful sunset.
After returning to Koh Loy at around 06:30 to 7 pm, in time for food & refreshments.
At around 7 or 07:30 pm, guests who wish to do so are invited to join us in search of fireflies in the surrounding mangrove forests, always an unforgettable experience!. Night is spent either on a hammock or in a tent on a platform overseeing the Koh Pao estuary.
Day 2 - After an early morning start guests are taken up the Koh Pao estuary for a short trip to the Kbal Chhay rapids, where they can take a quick dip in one of the pools of water. Experience the beauty of seeing the mist coming off the jungle clads mountains on both sides of the estuary. Guests are then taken back to 'base' for a quick breakfast, then take another trip up the Mae Teuk estuary, right next to the border between Thailand and Cambodia. Before returning to Koh Kong city, we will pay a quick visit to the village of Koh Pao, where fishing communities living there are trying to rebuild their lives afater the indiscriminate sand mining of the last few years has come to a halt.
Arrival at Koh Kong city is expected around midday, in time for some food and some rest before guests. Guests who aim to return to Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville on that same day can do so by taking the last bus leaving Koh Kong city at around 2 pm, and guests wanting to cross into Thailand will have plenty of time to do so too.
Cost of the trip is $75 per guest, and it includes trips by speed boat & kayak, dinner / breakfast at the village of Koh Loy, accommodation in hammock or tent, and guiding services.
(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 ;).