Thom-Ma-Cheat Guesthouse, Chi Phat

By Claire vd Heever Jan 13, 2012

A no-frills eco-lodge

If your journey to Chi Phat is an all-day affair like ours – on bakkies, boats, tuktuks and buses before finally clambering onto a long tail boat to Chi Phat itself – you’ll probably experience a similar sense of delight when you first glimpse the remote village around a bend in the Preak Piphot River, in the heart of the Southern Cardamoms Forest. Basic rooms with mosquito nets, clean-ish linen – and even a towel – seem heavenly after a long day on the road and, after a cold shower, a hot plate of fried rice and a few cans of Angkor beer, they may even feel heavenly too.

Chi Phat is at the centre of a community-based ecotourism initiative which was set up by Wildlife Alliance in 2007. It was set up to provide alternative income to locals who formerly made a living off poaching and unsustainable logging. Today, Chi Phat is gaining a reputation as an eco-tourism destination where former poachers lead guided treks and other villagers share in the earnings by provide accommodation in guesthouses, their homes or providing other visitors’ services. A village committee decides how profits are spent and reinvested.

Cost: Five US dollars for a room in a guesthouse with fan and separate bathroom. Three dollars for a a homestay for one, five dollars for two. Better-equipped bungalows beyond the village start at 20 dollars.

Finding it: All accommodation is arranged on a rotation basis at the CBET (Community Based Eco-tourism) office, five minutes’ walk from the pier, on the right hand side of the main street. Treks, bike and boat trips are also arranged here, and WiFi and meals are available.

Contact: +855 (0)9 272 0925 | Email | Website

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