City like Phnom Penh is a melting pot of everything. However, Let’s all agree that urban life is not that great. It is suffocated or at least filtered with pollution. Air pollution, light pollution, and noise pollution, you name it. If you love the hustle bustle of the city, then it is good for you. If you don’t, then it’s a complete nightmare for you. Traveling within the city could be a headache with all these cars, motors, and tuk tuk going in the same direction which is the central of the city.
But do you know that you can escape from it long as you want? This is why you should head in the opposite direction to the outside of Phnom Penh. There are a few places you can run away to, but among all, Kirirom stands on top of the list that we would like you to have a look at.
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Things to do in Kirirom | Experience the Mountain of joy
Kirirom National park situated at the southern part of Cambodia. It is about 112 Km from Phnom Penh if you travel on National HighWay 4. Kirirom, or mountain of joy as translated into native khmer, lies 675 meters above sea level covering the size of 283.75 km2. The location and size of Kirirom makes it one of the closest and best nature getaways. Each year, Kirirom welcomes thousands of both local and foreign visitors and allows them to fully experience the mountain of joy. Whether you are a newbie to the place or a regular visitor, here are some activities you can try out at Kirirom.
Visit Chombok Village
Spending just about 10km from Kirirom park entrance, you will reach Chombok Village. You are traveling on 283.75 km2 size of land so don’t you worry. It is still in the park area. Chombok Village is home to the Chambok Community-based Ecotourism site, a place where you can truly authentic experience of living. If you wish you to spend a night or two there, there are 51 homestays in the village waiting for you. The price common price of the stay per night is 4-5 USD. Homestay with the local, tasting local food, riding cow cart, are some of the things that the community have to offer you. But the trip is not completed yet if you skip its famous spot, Chombok Waterfall.
Trekking to see the 40-meter high waterfall is an ideal trip for those who travel with limited time as it will take between 30-60 minutes depending on the experience of the trekker. You can spend some bucks on a local to accompany you trekking or you can just simple go on your own. There is nothing to worry about because the path is easily accessible by foot and there are usually one or two trekkers sharing the path. Plus, there are signs everywhere so you won’t get lost.
It is wise to start the journey in the morning and pack some light food and some swimsuit with you. If you travel at the right time which is the rainy season, you have a higher chance of seeing and swimming in the cold clear water. Remember those foods you are told to bring? Those giant rocks are your table and chair now, so take your food out and enjoy. Those rocks could also be your bed too if you are into napping near the mist of waterfall listening to the sound of nature.
Camping is another way to get the best of Kirirom national park. However, Kirirom is still a wilderness with or without the presence of tourists. The point is to be cautious about where you camp. There are several safe spot to do that. You can try those offered by Vkirirom Resort or at the center of the park where there are more fellow humans. If you want somewhere more quiet but still safe, you can venture a bit deeper into the forest to a place called Thmor Loy.
Picture a scene from the viral instagram video where a person unzip his/her tent out to the foggy forest. That is similar to what you will experience when you unzip your tent at Thmor Loy as it is literally a cliff. Be prepared for the cold temperature if you plan to camp anywhere in Kirirom National Park as this tropical forest doesn’t follow the tropical temperature at all. Temperature could drop as low as 15 degree celsius.
Survival and Primitive life
Are you a fan of mine craft? If that is so, get ready to fall in love with Kirirom. Your roof is the sky. Your wall is the tall grass, pine tree, and a bunch of unknown trees. You bed is the puffy soil and your pillow is the rock. That is where you supposedly spend the night at. How does that sound to you? Camping as mentioned above is the best way to experience survival and primitive life. You are living with no electricity, no water running system, no cooking sources, and even no bathroom.
How are you going to survive? The answer to it is a total thrill. Reading a couple guide about survival in the forest or asking around could help you out. All it takes to survive is a good preparation. Bring your own light food, something as easy to cook as instant noodles or canned food. Don’t forget your camping accessory such as torch, lighter, knife, some first aid kit.
For the bathroom part, that is a homework for you.
As you know Kirirom is rich in nature. It has everything from paddy field to palm tree to numerous of pine tree. Thus, if you do not want to skip a beat of it, you can hop on a bicycle and get your legs to work your way through. We are not talking about the short bike trip within Kirirom area though. We are talking about biking all the way from the city. It might sound implausible because of the condition of the road.
Say what? a cycling tour on a mountainous area? You heard it right. It really has been done before and rating are quite high for this activity. Biking on your own is doable but we suggest you get yourself into a tour. Tour often comes with a package of 1 night and 2 days. Package includes food, accomodation (usually camping), and tour guide in the area. Price of the tour starts from 60USD to more. Either way you choose your biking trip, you should be aware of your own capacity whether you can handle that or not. You can also opt for motorbike instead if you feel like cycling is too exhausting.
Spend a night at Vkirirom Resort
Looking for something more leisure and relaxing? Vkirirom resort gets you covered. It has a variety of accommodations for you to choose. Camping, luxury tent, Bell tent, pipe room, Khmer cottage, villa jasmine, villa suite, and bangalow, are just some of the options available that Vkririrom has to offer. The resort itself is still in Kirirom area which means it is surrounded by nature. Each and every accommodation is fully equipped but it is vary depending on your choice. Khmer cottage, Villa jasmine, Villa suite and bangalow have more space for furniture and are perfect for family. Whatever choices you choose, you can all have access to the public areas such as swimming pool and vast size of forest land which is home to a bunch of photogenic scene.
The place is very calm and perfect for chillaxing. Sipping good drink breathing fresh air while reading your favorite book is not something you can have everyday though. Anyway, if you are less into sitting in one place and relax but more into active outdoor activities, Vkirirom is also a matched spot for you to do that. You can try some of these activities offered by Vkirirom. Before picking any of the activities, you should know that “vKirirom is not for the faint of heart”. In fact, you have been warned. On top of that, these activities welcome both residents and non-residents of Vkirirom. As long as you have cash with you, you are good to go.
Ride a Cow Cart
We have mentioned about bicycle and motorbike as your to-go transportation to explore Kirirom. But how about spicing it up a bit? How about a cow cart? For those who are not familiar with rural life, cow cart is basically the tuk tuk here. This transportation is formed by a cow or two attached by a strong string to a wooden cart that is the size of two bathtubs. The cart has enough space for three to four people.
We suggest you respect the limit of the cart as it is powered by cows not gasoline. The cow cart is such a safe adventure, only if you go with a cow cart expert who knows how to control cows. The two-hour journey come with the price of 25USD will take you to see the rural part of Kirirom. Get ready to face the feel shaky a little because of the movement of the cows. You won’t get cow-cart sick though if you just relax and focus more on the surrounding.
If you look for something more wild, spend your 10 USD on the 10 minutes horse riding and see if you are truly born wild and brave. House riding is done in a certain area of Kirirom. Usually the riding area is man made to ensure the safety of the riders. This is not an activity for everyone at all. At least you have to know the basis of horse riding or you can start your first session right there. Do ask for a trainer if you need. Other riding equipment is offered by the resort however, one thing the resort wants you to bring is your braveness.
Double bike is a more team building activity that can be merrier with more people joining. Challenging one another while sightseeing the forest is a perfect deal. This is a definition of killing a bird with one stone. Double bike price starts from 5$ for 1 hour and of course you can go as far as you one as long as your cash match up the hour you hire it.
Kids Mini Zipline
It looks like living in the city for so long makes kids forget to exercise the adrenaline rush as it is often lead to harm. At Vkirirom, inducing adrenaline rush is at the tip of your finger. Head to the kid mini zipline. The zipline is specially designed for kids with a decent height above the ground. Let your kids walk through those wooden bridge tied from tree to tree and have their good time. Don’t even sweat it that your kids will be in danger because safety equipment are attached to each and everyone of them to ensure that the activity cause no harm.
To climb a natural mountain wall is so easy to fine if you are at Kirirom. However, if asked about safety, there is no guarantee at all. This is why we suggest rock climber to give it a try at Vkirirom for its man made wall climbing. Don’t forget to challenge your fellow climbers for some fun. For 1 time climbing costs 5USD only.
To sum up, if we are going to waste an hour or two in the stupid traffic in the city anyway, why not use those time to do something else. Something like heading south of phnom penh to Kirirom. You don’t need to spend weeks in Kirirom, just a day trip is also possible. Bear in mind that life is like a phone. You also need to recharge it. Thus, think of Kirirom as your nearest charging station and allow your soul heal and relax once in a while at Kirirom.