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Be prepared: the dos and the don’ts for a trip to Knong Phsar

Va Sonyka / Khmer Times Share:
Knong Phsar has recently been a hotspot for travellers in Cambodia. Supplied

Camping domestically has become the new trend for young travelers within Cambodia since the pandemic outbreak which blocked international travel. Knong Phsar is at the top of the list of eco-tourism destinations as shown by the number of people heading out there every weekend.

Pictures of lush green mountains and fluffy clouds parked motionlessly over the mountain tops have flooded social media, urging more and more hikers wishing to enjoy the same experience.

Knong Phsar shares three provincial boundaries; Kampong Speu, Koh Kong and Pursat. Hikers from Phnom Penh usually visit Knong Phsar via the Kampong Speu entry point as it’s the closest one to reach from the city.

Sek Sopheak, who recently visited Knong Phsar in May shares his thoughts and expe­rience for newbies who wish to reach the top of Knong Phsar. He left at 8am and it took two hours on his motorbike from Phnom Penh to Kampong Speu province. Arriving at 10 am, he continued on imme­diately. After spending one hour riding on a tractor and then trekking for five hours, Sopheak successfully arrived at the campsite close to 6pm, making the whole journey from point A to B, a good 12 hours.

He said novice hikers should either get information from experienced hikers or purchase the Knong Phsar community guide before venturing out to avoid possible dangers or struggles they might face during the trip. Here are some tips from Sopheak before setting out to Knong Phsar.

Knong Phsar has recently been a hotspot for travellers in Cambodia. Supplied

WHAT TO BRING: “It’s cold and humid at night, so you’re advised to stay in water­proof camping tents. Since you only have the ground to sleep on, I suggest you bring along a mattress, pillow and blanket,” said Sopheak. However, he reminded that these items should be lightweight.

GROUP OR SOLO? : It is safer, cheaper and more fun if you get a few friends to come along. Sopheak said: “I went with 10 friends and we shared the expenses. I spent only $10 for hiring a tour guide and the tractor.” He explained one tractor can carry 10 people at one go. It is recommended to engage a tour guide for every four persons.

FOOD: You will not find food vendors on the top of the mountain as there are no inhabitants there. “I packed some bread, 4 litres of water, brought a pot and a pan to cook rice and boil water. My friends brought some canned food and light snacks,” Sopheak said. “You could ask villagers who live in the community below to make you some food before you head up the mountain, however, you should not expect too much.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS TO TAKE: The weather is hot during the day, cold at night and in the early morning. Due to extreme weather changes throughout the day, Sopheak carried a small first aid kit with Paracetamol, vitamin C, insect repellant, something for diarrhea, plasters for minor injuries and a few other items he deemed necessary. Remember to keep it simple.

HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD TAKE: Sopheak said: “Without much information about the route to the mountain top, my backpack weighed 11 kilogrammes which I really struggled with when I had to climb.” He said as the trek is 4 hours, the ideal weight should be less than 10 kilogrammes. The basic necessities for trekking is food, water and a tent.

CLOTHING: It’s too hot to wear jeans, said Sopheak. He said: “It’s good if you can find sports pants or athletic pants.”

He said only three outfits are needed for a one night, two day trip. “Don’t forget to bring along a long sleeved shirt or wind­breaker to keep you warm. Additionally, you should bring a raincoat in case it rains.”

DON’T OVEREAT: “You will feel lethargic and will struggle to climb up the mountain if you eat too much,” said Sopheak. He said, you should avoid eating foods that might make your stomach feel uneasy or might cause diarrhea as there are no toilet facili­ties on top of the mountain; only a small stream. Sopheak suggested trekkers eat less and drink more water as it is important to keep your body hydrated always.

A GUIDE IS A MUST: There are many safe places to camp on the mountain and these arrangements are made by your tour guide. Once you arrive at your campsite, be ready to be awed by your surroundings, however there are more wondrous sites that you will want to check out which are magnificent, so having a guide will help you reach those places.

The breathtaking scenery of Knong Phsar. Supplied

“We spent two hours to get from our campsite to the top of mountain for the view of the lush green mountains and fluffy clouds which you see on social media,” said Sopheak. Without a tour guide, it is difficult to find these as they are hidden from direct view, he said.

BE ADVENTUROUS: To see the breath­taking sunrise in the morning be prepared to be up by 4am. It takes at least two hours to reach the spot if nothing untoward happens. “You will be mesmerized by the flora and fauna around you when arrive. However be mindful as some insects, crea­tures or plants you see might be poisonous so never reach out to touch them. Always check with your guide,” said Sopheak.

For more information about Knong Phsar eco-tourism community, please contact the community office via 096 6 231 428.

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