Free (donation or local produce purchase appreciated)
Lunch at local family
During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Cheung Kok Ecotourism Village ceased to exist in the sense that it no longer accepted visitors. There were no foreign tourists in Cambodia anyway, but it was also closed to any other visitors.
Cheung Kok is not the typical rural Cambodian village, the layout is quite different from what you normally encounter. Khmer villages tend to center along a main road or river, whereas Cheung Kok has a kind of small grid system that forms the village with traditional wooden houses, and surrounded by rice fields.
It has a very cozy feel to it and is one of the prettiest small villages you’ll ever see in Cambodia.
How to visit
As there are informative panels posted around the village, you can visit independently, and do your own little tour, dropping in to see the artisans at work if they are around. The information signs tell you where to find a krama weaver, the silk maker, the palm sugar producer, and a palm leaf weaver.
However, it’s much more fun to book a tour with local guide Aline, who speaks perfect English and will tell you lots of information and stories, which you otherwise would miss out on. The one-hour tour itself is free, but of course you’re expected to make a donation or buy some of the local produce from the shop at the entrance of the village. It’s by the way difficult not to purchase something there as the local handmade artisanal products (silk, krama’s, palm wine, palm mats, and more) are beautiful and of high quality. All profits from the store go directly to the community and support ongoing projects. Call Aline at least a day in advance: +855 (0)69 555 115.
It’s also possible to extend the tour by taking part in activities like a hands-on crafting lesson, and enjoy a tasty, traditional Khmer lunch with a host family for just 16,000 riel.
If you really want to taste Cambodian village life, book an overnight homestay in one of the traditional houses perched on stilts. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the slow pace of village life with some amazing local Khmer food. A short walk from the village is a beautiful hand-made bamboo shelter, perched perfectly on the edge of rice fields and a small lake – a perfect spot to relax when spending more time in the village. You can also use a bicycle to travel to Phnom Pros/Phnom Srey mountains (across the main NR7 road) for sunset or to the old Buddhist Wat Nokor (along NR7 towards Kampong Cham).
The accommodation is modest: sleeping on a mattress on the floor with an overhead fan. It only costs 20,000 riel.
How to get there
All Kampong Cham tuk-tuk drivers know Cheung Kok (to them maybe better known as ‘AMICA village’). A tuktuk from Kampong Cham will cost around 20,000 riel.
Alternatively, you can hire a moto or bicycle for the day. From Kampong Cham take National Road 7 towards Phnom Penh. At about 7 kilometres from town, about 100 metres after the right turn towards Phnom Pros pagoda (and Phnom Srei), opposite Ampil Health Centre. There’s a small NGO Amica sign indicating the way. Down the dirt road, it is a 10-minute walk or 5-minute moto ride to reach the village.