The South-Western province of Koh Kong sits on the boarder of Thailand. The fairly quiet town, not particularly pretty either, doesn’t get many tourists, other than those who travel across the boarder. Wanting to see the more rural side of Cambodia, I decided it may be worth a visit.
When I arrived at my hostel, the heavens opened and a storm stopped me from leaving for the afternoon. It did however mean I met Alex, Josh and Leo. All on the same wave length, we organised a two day jungle hike with a local guide and night in Botum Sakor, the biggest National Park in Cambodia.
Sunday 26th March
Our adventure began with an hour boat ride into the heart of the jungle. A short, but fast paced trek, as the guide decided to run up the mountain, we reached a beautiful waterfall. Stopping here for a swim and lunch, we were also treated to an incredible view of the Kah Bopow river. Just before we started our descent, it started to rain like I’ve never seen rain before. The drops were three times the size of those in Britain and when I thought it couldn’t rain more, it rained more.
Completely soaked, we made it down the extremely slippery mountain and back onto the boat. Strangely I really enjoyed the very wet hike!
With the rain now drizzling, we took another ride to a small fishing village. In the village I ended up playing ‘it’ with three of the young local kids (aged roughly 3, 6 and 10), while also being taken in by a Monk who gave us fruit and randomly Sprite. This was a highlight of the trip for me. Later in the afternoon, we arrived at our accommodation a little shack in the forest. The shack wasn’t only home to bugs and mosquitoes, but also a pack of wild dogs, who surprisingly were extremely friendly. With our clothes and shoes still soaked through, we built a fire to dry everything off. When the rain started again, our Bear Grylls moment was over.
Dinner consisted of rice with egg and aubergine, which I devoured before going to bed. This in itself was an interesting experience as for the first time I slept in a hammock. Thinking I would end up on the floor in the night, I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable and stable it actually was.
Monday 27th March
Even in the jungle my body clock still decided to wake me up at 6am. With the boys and our two guides out of it until 8am, I had a few hours to spare.
After breakfast, we hopped on canoes and paddled up the river to the next part of the jungle, as well as another waterfall. With the water currents and lack of stability of the canoes, it took longer and was harder than we anticipated. Two minutes into our hike, Josh called out for me to stop. Unsure of what was going on I backed off from the route. Ahead was a small, but highly poisonous snake. Up until that moment, other than a few of the scary looking spiders, I hadn’t really contemplated how unsafe the jungle was. The rest of the hike, I didn’t take my eyes off the floor.
We explored the waterfall, ate noodles and vegetables before canoeing back to the boat. We were then taken back to the mainland and hostel, where I finally took off my wet clothes and showered! The evening was a little shaky as after exploring the town, Josh and Alex found their room was infested with bed bugs. This is definitely one of the hardships of backpacking, for the price you pay sometimes you get dodgy rooms and facilities. It’s why I always give my room a thorough check before sleeping in it. I also have a sleeping bag liner for when the sheets don’t look as clean as they could be. However even being cautious doesn’t mean you’re out of the red zone. Unfortunately the blanket in the hammock also had bed bugs and I ended up with bites all up my arms 🙈. But if I really want to see a different, more realistic side of Cambodia, moments like this need to be taken on the chin.
Jessica Storm ✌️