The morning of August 5, 2011 dawned cool and misty in Trapeang Rung commune in southwestern Cambodia. But a buzz permeated this normally sleepy village along Road 48. Representatives of government authorities, the private sector, and Wildlife Alliance gathered around the commune’s new community-based ecotourism (CBET) office to celebrate the opening of Trapeang Rung to visitors.
Trapeang Rung is located in the heart of the Koh Kong Conservation Corridor, which Lonely Planet featured as one of the top ten regions in the world 2010. The corridor is now a “must-see” locale on any Cambodia traveler’s itinerary, and The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Sydney Morning Herald all have highlighted the jungle and coastline’s natural wonders and biodiversity.
Wildlife Alliance has been working with villagers to foster and drive the growing international interest in the Cardamoms as a green tourism destination since 2007. Based on the success of community-based ecotourism in Chi Phat, we began work in Trapeang Rung in 2008 to ensure the conservation of the natural wonders in the areas, allowing the community to benefit from the protection of it. Before we began work in the commune, its residents had few options other than illegal hunting and slash-and-burn farming that was destroying the rainforest. Tourism offers them the chance to work legally as guides, chefs, and guesthouse operators - earning a sustainable living, providing for their families, and building valuable business skills while preserving the environment around them.
Today marks the day that Trapeang Rung CBET is officially “open for business” with a formal ceremony with participation from the Ministry of Tourism, the Koh Kong Provincial Governor, the Commune Chief, Wildlife Alliance, and other tour operators in the region. As Wildlife Alliance Program Manager, Lesley Perlman, said in her speech, “Today Wildlife Alliance joins with Koh Kong province in celebrating our mutual goal of promoting the beauty of this amazing province and opening its doors to national and international tourists. “
Visitors to Trapeang Rung can enjoy trekking through remote jungle, rough-and-ready mountain biking tours, visits to 500-year-old burial jar sites, swims through magnificent waterfalls, wildlife and bird watching, evening boat rides, and nighttime fishing for river lobsters. Bring your sunscreen and sun hats!
Interested in an adventure and exploring Trapeang Rung, Chi Phat, and the rest of the Cardamoms? Learn more at EcoAdventureCambodia.com!