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Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

leeds
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Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

I discovered this village at the website http://www.ccben.org/Chiphat.html. I wanted to see the real Cambodia as opposed to just shifting from tourist trap to tourist trap and this was the most amazing place that I visited on my tour of SE Asia.

After a 4.5 hour trip from phnom penh to Anduong Tuek ,I negotiated a $5 ride up the river with a local boatman. I was warmly welcomed at the CCBEN centre, arranged to stay at the eco lodge at $20 per nigh. I could have had a homestay or guesthouse cheaper but I was quite flush at the time and wanted to use my spare cash to support the work being done here.

Let's get one thing straigh now..This is not a place for the average tourist, facilities are few, life is simple,thereare no karaoke bars although I did find one TV. Be prepared to rough it.

Chi Phat is a place where you immediateley feel welcome. You are not the centre of attention, but every1 is friendly and helpful towards you. I did a 2 night trek into the jungle, leeches and mosquitoes galore, no toilets and slept in a hammock under a makeshift bamboo shelter. The guides and cooks made some amazing meals over an open fire with a couple of woks. It was heaven.

Later I met Alung, an amazingly enthusiastic teacher at Chi Phat school. the place is simple and without much basic equipment. I'd taken a stack of pens, pencils, rulers pencil sharpeners etc from the uk and they were really gratefully received. The kids were keen to learn and it was a real joy to visit.

This has to be a place on any intrepids wish list, it only gets a few visitors at a time so you just blend into village life. It's worth thr trip to get the freshly made sugar cane juice at the top end of the village. Forget Siem Reap guys, head for Chi Phat

Kurashiki, Japan
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for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
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1. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

Cambodia is filled with rural villages, although most village folk will not take kindly to people barging in unexpectedly, so you were right to have a guide to take you to see a village. Also nice to hear you brought some supplies for the school.

I will disagree however with your suggesting people forego a visit to Siem Reap while in Cambodia, however, as it holds a vast amount of the country's heritage and should definitely not be missed.

Siem Reap, Cambodia
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2. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

everyones different,I prefer siem reap area.not sure what you paid for the pencils/books ect but you will find it cheaper and better as in supporting the local community to buy your supplies in cambodia,saves on carting them half way around the world also.

Canberra, Australia
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3. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

Good on you galey,

We were going to go to exactly the same place run by CCBEN but heard differing comments about the 'Chi Phat' experience.

Many comments around the "everything you want to do costs $5/10/20 dollars..." and that they felt like an ATM machine for the locals. How did you find the costs?

Your review makes me think now maybe we should have skipped Kep/Kampot and made the effort to get to Chi Phat. (probably woudl have cost about the same in hindsight)

Sounds like my kind of place. lol !

good on you!

enjoy

Rich

Edited: 10:38 pm, March 24, 2011
leeds
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4. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

Hi Rog,

No real problem with costs. When we arrived we were greeted by a member of ccben staff and given a book with all the options of things to do. We opted for the 2 day jungle trek. It was about 50 usd each including a $5 contribution to ccben. We had a couple of guides a chef porters etc so it wasn't bad value really. We had all our meals at the ccben place on an evening. about $3 per 2 course meal. Never felt there were any hidden charges and unlike Phnom Penh and Siem Reap where everybody seemed hell bent on getting money out of you somehow, the chi phat villagers never approached us for money or to buy goods, we always made the first move. I take on board the comments that seim reap has a lot of cambodian heritage, but a day round the temples is enough. Very little info on site and the "dodgy" guide books were amazingly dulll.

Even if Chi Phat had been a bit more pricey I was prepared to pay a bit extra to go to a good cause, You relly need to bob it at the top of your list next time around , one hell of a place if you go with the right attitude, forget creature comforts and don't compare it to westernised "villages"

Go for it Rog, let me knmow when and I;ll come back with you!

Galey

Tallinn, Estonia
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5. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

Galey,

I'm glad you liked it. It IS amazing place, like I said. :)

leeds
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6. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

You was absolutely bang on Qwerty, thanks for all the advice in the past. Brilliant time

Canberra, Australia
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7. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

Thanks Galey,

We've been invited back to Kampot for some lovely young kids high school graduation in November. IF we go back (we were both left a little disgusted and battle weary after 3 weeks of Scam-bodia) we will definitely make the effort.

Well done for you supporting some organic home grown tourism !! Good to see your encouraging words posted here.

enjoy !

Rich

Atlanta, Georgia
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8. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

I also loved Chi Phat and stayed at the Eco Lodge, which was fabulous. Definitely spend the extra money (not much, it was about $25 per night total) to stay at the Eco Lodge - it's great! We did the mountain biking tour, which was so cool!

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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9. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

Dear Galey2000,

Thank you very much for you post. My name is Harold de Marimprey. I am the CBET (Community-Based Ecotourism) Porject Manager at Wildlife Alliance (www.wildlifealliance.org). WA and Chi Phat commune have been working together since 2007 to provide alternative and sustainable livelihood to illegal poaching and logging to the local villagers. We opened officially for tourism in Oct 2008 and had great success improving the lifestyle of this remote village. All our work is done on a participatory basis and the project is own and run by the CBET Committee (members of the Community elected by the Commune) with the financial and technical support of WA and its partners and donors. Posts like this are a great motivation to continue our work and I will pass this on to the community.

CCBEN (Cambodia Community-Based Ecotourism Network) is a great local initiatives to promote such projects throughout the country and we are glad to hear that they are bringing us enthusiastic visitors. All visits greatly help remote and off-the-beaten-path communities to share some well needed tourism related income.

All the best, safe travel!

Harold

leeds
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10. Re: Chi Phat. The most amazing place I have ever been

Hi Harold,

Many thanks for your post giving all the details fo Chi Phat. It really was a wonderful trip. the people wewre really great without being in your face, If you contact them please pass on my thanks to everyone at the ccben office, Heng, our Jungle guide, Alung the teacher at school and the guy at the eco lodge for making us so welcome.

A lovely place and if my posts encourage a few more people to try out rural life in Cambodia, without spoiling the locals lifestyle, I will be a happy man