Posts Tagged With: Tatai

The Rainbow Lodge: Long Weekend, Part Two

Hello lovely readers!

Last time we left off,  Sean and I were boarding a boat to head up the river from Tatai to our lodge in the rainforest. (Flashback: It was our three-day weekend at the end of August. We had just driven through beautiful rolling hills, and are now in the coastal Southwest of Cambodia.)

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Sean snapped a quick photo of me boarding the boat. Careful balance is a must!

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As the boat roared off, we were swept into another world. The wind in our hair, the cool water lapping at our fingertips, the bobbing of the shallow boat as we all swayed back and forth, it was a “Wow, Cambodia” moment. (To avoid any confusion, that is Biscuit, the Chihuahua. It is Russ and Sasha’s dog, not ours!)

I really felt like we were in a film. After coming out of the populous capital of Phnom Penh, where there are people and motos flowing through the streets, it seemed like we were on some exotic vacation far from home. It was all rainforest as far as the eye could see.

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Turning off the motor, we coasted up to the jetty of The Rainbow Lodge. It is located in the South Cardamom Protected Preserve, one of the most pristine rain forests in Southeast Asia. It is said that there are tigers, elephants, and crocodiles, but I have never heard of any being seen. What did we see? Some gnarly spiders, unbelievable mushrooms, and lots, LOTS of bamboo. This jetty became my favorite place at the lodge—the gateway to the water park that is this gorgeous river. The lodge had free flippers (snorkeling fins), kayaks, and life jackets for you to borrow so that you can surf up and down as far as you please. The flippers were my favorite; I felt like a freshwater mermaid…

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Once we got off the boat, we headed up the hill to the lodge….
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Everything was made out of wood, which was a lovely change from the concrete and asphalt of the city. It felt like the structures themselves rose right out of the forest. This was the social area, where you could read, eat, drink, or relax.

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Dinner, which was included in the price of the lodge, was just divine.  (I swear they didn’t pay me to write this review.)

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I snuck away from dinner to take a photo of the magic.

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The next morning we awoke to the beautiful view outside of our bungalow window. If you look closely, you can see the river through the trees. It seems far away, but is really only a short walk. Like I said, no one in sight!

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Each of us (three couples) had our own private bungalow. It was so quiet and peaceful, I would love to go back.


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Morning sunlight.

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A view from our bungalow in the crisp morning air.

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Breakfast. Amazing, locally grown coffee, in a french press!

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One of the days we took the kayaks up river to find a waterfall we had heard about. On the other side of the river, a local woman took her boat downstream.

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At the helm of the boat, on top of the world.

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We found the waterfall! It was hidden up a creek through the thick of the jungle. We were able to climb around the on the rocks, take a mini-waterfall-shower, and even take a great photo using our ten-second timer. (You would never know Sean had knee surgery only three months ago, the way he was scrambling around!) Also, major shout-out to Sasha, who is a gorgeous Momma-to-be in her bikini!

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After the rumpus, we got back in our boats to paddle home. They say there are tons of snakes in the jungle, so I made sure to inspect our kayak extra thoroughly. (We had a recreational kayak, not a sit on top like Chino and Sasha’s. Recreational kayaks scream snake hide-out!)

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Before we got back to the lodge, we stopped at a place in the river where the rocks made for a good docking place. We took one final swim and played fetch with Kampot for a while.

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Back at the lodge, we were some tired doggies! This picture is for my sister—it’s the “Wandering Buffalo”. We each picked up these rubber buffs in Wall, South Dakota this summer. I promised to photograph him in a variety of interesting places…

You may think that this marks the end of our adventure in the jungle, but an adventure is not an adventure without which of the following:

A. A mind-blowing hike
B. Machetes
C. Car Trouble
D. Raging Waterfalls
E. All of the above

I hope you picked E. Check back soon for the scoop!

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Categories: Cambodia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Kim And Sean’s Big Adventure To The Coast: Part One

I have been chomping at the bit to share our most recent adventure with you. As teachers, we work the basic 9-5 (or more like 6-5) job, Monday through Friday. When the weekend rolls around, we’re normally too knackered (a word I’ve adopted from our Kiwi friends here) to do anything but lay around the pool and catch up with our friends. When we got our first three-day weekend, we were set on venturing out of the city. I love Phnom Penh, it’s awesome, but there is so much more of Cambodia to see.

In Kuwait, there was Kuwait City, and that was pretty much it. I never felt like I was cheating myself on the weekends because I was doing all that there was to do, and I was loving it. Here, there is so much vast, untrammeled beautiful places, that they whisper to me in my sleep, taunting me.

When we accepted this job, I began to Google and fall in love with the Cardamom mountains.

We were planning on catching a bus to the coast, but our friends offered us a ride in their car to head out into the mountains to a lodge on the coast. (Yes, you can do both “mountains” and “coast” in one weekend!)

So, we all packed into their Mitsubishi Pajero and headed to Koh Kong.

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It’s a four-and-a-half hour drive, and really got stunningly beautiful about halfway through. If you look at the map above, you can see all of the environmentally-protected areas. I never knew Cambodia had so many reserves and parks myself until we got here.

The most popular part of the coast is Sihanoukville, which is near Ream National Park on the above map. To get to Sihanoukville it’s about a two and a half hour drive. The Cardamom Mountains, where we were going, take up the left-hand side of the country along the Thai border. Koh Kong is a small town along the border, and the lodge we were staying in was a twenty-minute drive inland. We were meeting another couple there, who also work at the school.

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Our friends Chino and Anna have a lovely puppy named Kampot. I am kind of falling in love with him and his goofiness.

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Cambodian countryside.

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We took a bathroom break on the long drive at a small roadside cafe. I love Cambodia’s calico sky.

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We found a new litter of puppies at the cafe. They were such cute little things! I want to get a dog so badly, but know it would be tough on both us and the doggy due to all the travel we do. I think I’ll just offer to babysit Kampot as much as possible!

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As we rolled into the Koh Kong area, Chino and Anna pulled off the road and told us we would be able to spot the lodge in the forest. I was confused about what they meant, but, lo and behold, we saw the teeny bungalows peeking out of the wilderness! You can only access the lodge by boat, but I will talk more about our arrival later…

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The pull out where we spotted the lodge. We are loving Cambodia.

Before we headed up the river to the lodge, we decided to get lunch. We had been driving since 8am, and it was around noon. We drove up to the coast and took a dirt road along one of the tributary rivers to a place called the “Crab Chack” (… or “shack” to us Western landlubbers). We had heard about how divine the seafood along the coast was, but I truly had no conception of what we were about to experience.

IMG_6716The Crab Shack was a little hideaway on the coast with hammocks, tables, and a few tourists sipping beer alongside the locals.

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You could walk along the beach, where Anna and Sasha looked at the beach glass. I was on a sensory overload. I didn’t know where to turn or what to do, it was all too much to soak in. I kept telling Anna and Sasha that I felt like I was on some tropical vacation that I would have to leave in a week and never see again, but then realized that I will be living here… for quite a while.

Then the food came.

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And what a feast it was. Anna told us to order the prawns with garlic. Each plate was heaped with the largest prawns I had ever seen. You would then create a dip made of fresh crushed Cambodian pepper and squeezed lime. The pot at the top of the photo held rice, which made it a symphony of flavors and textures in your mouth.

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I had never had such prawns in my life. They were so meaty, it was mouthfuls of shrimp. Never before in my life did I ever think I’d say, “Wow, that was a delicious mouthful of meaty, tender, juicy shrimp.” No tartar sauce needed here, folks.

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While we were eating, Sean spotted quite a beastly arachnid above our table.

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Here he tried to take another picture of the spider, but instead got a great shot of the atmosphere and mood of our lunch. Love the guy in the back.

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I was sad to leave the Crab Shack, but know that we will be back.


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Then it was time to head to the lodge… but this step of the journey must wait for another day. As it was our first ‘big journey’ out of the city, we took 300 pictures in 3 days. We were a little out of control. Instead of cramming all the pictures into one long post about the weekend as a whole, I thought you’d enjoy shorter, more focused posts to keep it interesting and palatable.

Check back in a few days to see where this boat takes us!

Categories: Cambodia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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