Our next stop was in the remote province of Mondulkiri in the village of Sen Monorom.
It’s New Year, so everyone has a little offering in the front of their houses, and lots of rice wine will be consumed!
We got off the mini bus in town and decided to walk to the Nature Lodge, an eco lodge based on the principles of fair trade where we had pre-booked. We thought it was a lot closer than the 2km it turned out to be. In the heat of the mid day sun with a 100% humidity and our baggage on our backs it felt even longer.
This stop turned out to be absolutely wonderful. The eco lodge is out of this world. If you are visiting Cambodia…check this place out. http://www.naturelodgecambodia.com/
It is quite a journey getting here, but once you are here, it is absolutely worth it. It is one of those places where could spend entire days just lying around in hammocks, catching up with your reading & writing, making new friends in between trying all the Asian and Mediterranean food on the menu and making sure you haven’t missed any of the cocktails and fruit shakes from the bar! I finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and would definitely recommend this book – a wonderful read (thank you Sush!)
Coming up here I had a feeling I would meet friends from home and I did. Steph and Kim are two girls from Byron, a coastal town I am quite familiar with in NSW! What is amazing is that Steph went to high school at the top of my street in Sydney. Truly a small world.
They are two amazing girls and we spent many evenings in deep conversation over cocktails and banana cake! Steph lives and works in Phonm Penh in a program called Daughters providing an alternative life for victims of trafficking. They belong to a community that advocates getting back to the basic principles of Christianity…and live lives that are truly inspiring and an example to many! If you wish to check out her work, click on this link. http://www.daughterscambodia.org/
Liz and I had a little cabin to ourselves and shared the outdoor toilet set in a beautiful garden with all of the other guest. All of this cost us $2.5 a night, except for when we camped in the tree house…that was free!
While it was tempting to do nothing at this amazing eco lodge,we signed up for a jungle trek with the local hill tribe people to visit the waterfalls and get a taste of the Cambodian Jungle!
It was hard trekking in the heat of the Cambodian sun but we were rewarded by our lunch time swim at the waterfall and an opportunity to meet the hill tribe people. They were involved in a ceremony to bless a new house and greeted us with dancing and an invitation to try their very potent rice wine! Ok…I wimped out here.
We made another great friend here in Christie, a traveller from Canada who has also taken almost a year off to explore 3 very different places. She has just finished a stay at an Ashram in Canada and is now teaching here in Phnom Penh for 3 months before spending the next 3 months in Paris! We are planning on catching up for drinks this week as she is also back in town now!
Christie and I also shared some interesting conversations as she works at an Arts and Cultural centre in Banff, Canada that amongst other things provides programs for creative writers! I’ve got some great ideas for combining a visit to the Rockies with my love for writing! Check out their website if you are interested in being creative or environmental leadership! http://www.banffcentre.ca/
I think I might be visiting Christie in Canada one day! And so, after 3 days of absolute bliss, we spent the dawn of the New Year with our new friends, drank a toast to the New Year (Coffee and Baileys..mm) and said good bye to Mondulkiri!