Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Jungle trekking in Cambodia

We woke up from a poor nights sleep in the indigenous homestay hut. The bed itself was comfortable enough, and we weren't bothered by bugs... it was the dogs barking! No idea how everyone sleeps around there. Like in Mexico, they must have an afternoon siesta!

But... we had some hiking to do! 

Our guide Tee, showed up at about 8:30am. 

Kevin, with the little guy, Cad.

Chae with her son Cad (2).

Our other guide Pat showed up as well... so, two guides for two people. Lots of support!

We set off at 8:50am.

The Bunong indigenous people are clearing some land for agriculture.

Deforestation is a big problem in this area. The government is now trying to protect the land, something that the Bunong people have wanted to do for years. The forest is now about 50% gone, due to both legal and illegal logging, and the government is a little late to the party. Even with the laws, they are usually not enforced.

Our guide Pat, with his pink backpack and pink hat!

Notice he is also wearing sandals. The other guide Tee, was wearing flip flops. And here we are with our $200 hiking boots! He says their feet are tough and used to it. They get the odd scratch, but nothing to worry about. We will stick with our hiking boots!

The trail goes through a lot of bamboo areas.

Scenery along the way.

This area has been cleared for banana trees.

And highland rice.

We needed help to cross the river.

The rocks were very slippery!

We all made it though.

There were a few short uphill sections.

Look at this huge old vine!

We came across one of the elephants from the day before. 
She came over to see if we had any bananas for her!

The mahout is never far away.

We sat down to take a break, and Pat started weaving a piece of grass.

He made us each a ring.

And we got married in the forest.

With our Bunong wedding rings!

We went through a giant bamboo forest.

And an overgrown section.

Pat used his machete to cut our way through here.

And we came out at an area that had been recently logged.


This motorcycle has been customized to carry very heavy loads.

Avocado trees.

We met a French couple who were on a trek with another company.

There are a lot of tourists here from France. It must be because Cambodia used to be a French colony, although most of the French influence has totally disappeared. Cambodia has been an independent country since 1953.

Pat made Ruth a trim band for her hat.

Notice Ruth behind the waterfall.

The trail went under an overhang so you walked right behind the waterfall.

Very cool!

It clouded over close to lunchtime.

Another waterfall we stopped at.

Our lunch spot.

Pat cooked us a traditional fresh fish Bunong meal over the open fire.
The big piece of bamboo has soup cooking inside of it.

Fresh fruit.

Ruth went for a swim while lunch was being made.

Lunch is served. Soup, salad, fish, and rice (inside the takeaway container).

Ruth spotted this beautiful emerald green butterfly.

Interesting fungi with some weird cotton like stuff growing under it.

And a caterpillar that looks exactly like the tree bark!

Another couple of kilometers after lunch and we came out onto a dirt road where they called our ride to pick us up. I didn't have the distance tracker on the phone, but I think we did about 13 kms (8 miles). Not quite the 18 kms that was advertised, but we were fine with that. The heat takes a lot out of you!

Back at the guesthouse, a couple of cold beers went down really well!

We paid $80 USD ($107 CAD) each for the two day excursion including the hiking, all food, the overnight stay, and the visit with the elephants the day before.

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2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful day! I would love that entire hike. The green butterfly is amazing!

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    Replies
    1. It was a great hike, we learned a lot about the nature of the area and of the indigenous Bunong people and had some of their traditionally cooked food, we couldn't have enjoyed it much more, except if it were a little cooler would have been nice.

      That was such a beautiful looking butterfly.

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