Over the last few years kayaking opportunities in Cambodia have increased. You can do kayak trips in remote Ratanakiri province on the beautiful Se San River, in the even more remote Cardamom Mountains at a community based ecotourism project, or on the rivers near Battambang and Kampot.
Here we give you an overview of the best kayaking trips in Cambodia, including links to websites and telephone numbers of companies offering kayak tours.
Enjoy the peddling!
Probably the best area for kayaking in Cambodia is the Se San River in north-eastern Ratanakiri province. The Se San River enters Cambodia from Vietnam. The river meanders its way through Ratanakiri and Stung Treng province. More than 200 km west the river joins the mighty Mekong. The tour organized by DutchCo (yes, you guessed it, run by a Dutch couple) reveals scattered villages rarely seen by tourists. Most of these villages are only accessible by the river. Kayaks therefore are a sublime way of transportation. Included is a short jungle trek, where the guide takes you to a remote impressive waterfall and visit hill tribes.
On this 2-day journey you will spend around 5 hours peddling a day, so the trip requires some physical endurance, although the peddling is quite easy. You will spend the night in small tents pitched on a spot along the river.
Want to enjoy a peaceful trip down the Sangker River? Here’s one original way to discover Battambang: head on down to the Green Orange Cafe and take a kayaking trip. See Battambang from a unique perspective, keep fit and help a very worthy organization all at the same time. Green Orange Kayaks – so called because of the famous Battambang Province green skin oranges – is an NGO that provides free education at a school to the rear of the Green Orange Cafe. This is located in Ksach Poy, about eight kilometres on the southwest river road to Wat Banan, on the outskirts of Battambang. The kayak trip goes back to the city, as the river meanders its way through the Cambodian countryside. It is perfect to discover the rhythm of life around the river gardens, houses on stilts, fishermen and children playing in the water. Priced at a reasonable $12 (which goes towards the running of the school) you will get picked up from your hotel, given safety instructions and equipment (children sizes also available), an 11 km kayaking experience and then finally return back to your hotel in town.
Chi Phat is situated in the heart of the Cardamom Mountains, the second largest continuous rain forest in Southeast Asia. With mountains, rivers, evergreen forests, mangroves, low land swamps and cultural sites, such as an ancient burial jar and wooden coffin site, Chi Phat and its surrounding area offers a large variety of attractions and activities.
Chi Phat has a fleet of 10 new sit-on-top kayaks, both single and double, which can be used for all river tours described above and for individual exploration of Chi Phat’s surrounding waterways. Kayaking is one of the best ways to spend a relaxing afternoon on the river, allowing you to take in the nature at your own speed.
Just 3 kilometres north of Kampot is Les Manguiers resort, a well thought-out oasis with gardens, mango groves and amidst rice paddies right on the Toeuk Chhou River. You can have a lazy stay here, but the more active will want to enjoy a trip with one of their canoes (for free) or hire kayaks, which are available to scoot around on the river.
The Toeuk Chhou River at this point is a lazy, meandering, jungle-lined snake, with mangroves and rural villages sprinkled along its banks. Fishermen beat the waters and children play by the banks. As you paddle downstream past the old colonial riverfront houses, you emerge into a wide river mouth where ethnic Cham people populate the islands, going about their fishermen’s lives as they have for centuries.
There are also daily opportunities to schedule a trip with Les Manguiers’ motorized boat launch. These trips can either go downriver towards the sea, or upriver, with the possibility to enter the “Green Cathedral” (a loop route into a narrow tributary with amazingly luxuriant tropical foliage).
Highly recommended is a night trip when the river is aglow with fire flies.