In July/August 2022, working as Expedition Leader for World Challenge, I lead a group of 23 people on an expedition to Cambodia.
For photographs of this expedition see Cambodia – August 2022
This expedition is arranged by World Challenge
27 Jul 2022: Arrival
We arrive at Phenom Penh International airport. After customs and immigration formalities we go to collect our baggage to find three bags are missing. We report this and are assured they will be sent on to Siem Reap, our destination for today and the next few days. We leave the airport and are greeted by our ground agent who takes us to our coach transfer to Siem Reap.
28 Jul 2022: Orientation day in Siem Reap
Today we get to know the city and purchase a sim card for our mobile phone. We quickly learn how to barter and use the tuk-tuks to get around. In the afternoon we collect the lost luggage from Siem Reap airport and take a trip to the Kampong Khleang floating village and then a sunset cruise on the Tonal Sap lake. We return and, in small groups, explore Pub Street for our evening meal.
29 Jul 2022: Kulen Mountain Trek day 1
Today we begin our three-day trek in the Kulen Mountain. We start from Svay Leu pagoda follow the flat trail for 2km. The trail starts to incline and become more rocky. We continue uphill, through jungle, for a further 3km until Wat Chas pagoda. The final section is 4km to Sangke Leak village along flat footpath once again to our camp site by the river.
30 Jul 2022: Kulen Mountain Trek day 2
From Sangke Leak village, we take the easy flat footpath for 5km to Anglung Thom village. The footpath then turns sandy and wet for a further 3.5km between Anglung Thom village and Damrei Krab. After Damrei Krab village the trail starts to ascend and become jungle. We continue along the path for 3km until Sras Damrei pond. After the pond the path flattens out again and becomes rocky for the last 3.5km to Wat Preah Kral pagoda and then to our camp site by a stream and rock pools where we relax and bathe. In the evening we have a barbeque.
31 Jul 2022: Kulen Mountain Trek day 3
The first 2km of the trek is along rocky footpath to a large reclining Buddha from 16th Century. After stopping, we continue along the well established path for a further 4.5km eventually coming to Phnom Kulen waterfalls. After the lunch stop, we follow the steps downhill for 5km, passing Preah Angshop pagoda after 2km, and eventually ending at the car park at the base of Kulen mountain where we take our transport back to Siem Reap.
1 Aug 2022: Angkor Wat
Today we explore the Angkor temples at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thon.
2 Aug 2022: Travel to Sen Monorom
We have a 12-hour coach journey today, arriving in Sen Monorom later than expected. We go out in search of anywhere still open for dinner and find a lovely pizzeria and karaoke bar!
3 Aug 2022: Elephant Valley Project day 1
We transfer from Sen Monorom to the Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri. The organisation’s key focus is conservation of Asian elephants by providing a safe environment for them to live in with conditions that mimic the wild, and alternative livelihoods for elephants owners and community members which deter the use of the animals in traditional forms of tourism such as rides and shows.
We will spend the next few days here in close company with the elephants.
In the afternoon we take a trek through the jungle for our first close-up encounter with some of the elephants here.
4 Aug 2022: Elephant Valley Project day 2
Today we take another trek through the jungle to observe more of the elephants here including their new baby! Then we learn how to cut, propagate and replant the bamboo to expand the amount that is a staple of the elephants diet.
5 Aug 2022: Elephant Valley Project day 3
Our final day at the project and we make clay bricks that will be used for a new building here. Then we return to Sen Monorom and dine once again at our pizza place.
6 Aug 2022: Travel to Phenom Penh
Another long coach trip, 10-hours, from Sen Monorom to Phenom Penh.
7 Aug 2022: Phenom Penh – S21 prison and Killing Fields
We visit the S21 prison and the Killing Fields memorials. In the afternoon we take a journey to Silk Island.
8 Aug 2022: Free the Bears
Today we visit Free the Bears. Located inside the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, just outside of the capital city of Phnom Penh, Free the Bears is a sun & moon bear sanctuary. We make food sticks for the bears and feed them and then have a tour of the facility.
We return to Phenom Penh for our final night in Cambodia before our journey home tomorrow.
9 Aug 2022: Depart
A final day in Phenom Penh before our short evening flight to Bangkok and then our long overnight flight to London.