Lowland Homestay, Highland Forest Insights

Cambodia is known as a very cultural destination, and thanks to the help of a few there are now more and more places emerging in Cambodia where travelers can have the privilege of interacting with local communities in a responsible way.

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Khiri Travel has worked extensively with CBET projects in Cambodia since we entered in Cambodia in 1999. We are proud to recommend here two of our (many) favorites in the Kingdom.

Chi Phat CBT was started when Wildlife Alliance began working in the Cardamom Mountains at a time when the poor commune of Chi Phat was mostly renowned for being a hub of wildlife smuggling and illegal logging.

Things have changed fast and now tourism is in the spotlight offering an opportunity to preserve the vulnerable ecosystem while also providing the Chi Phat local communities with a livelihood and better standard of living. The CBT project offers unique and exciting experiences for visitors. Members of the local community are now employed as guides; leading trekking, mountain-biking, camping, kayaking and rover boat tours through the jungle and surrounding communities.

Travelers can experience natural wonders in the rainforest, deserted waterfalls and a post-Angkorian burial jar site. Villagers also operate home stays, guesthouses and motorbike services and restaurants. What makes Chi Phat unique is the community waste management system that has been developed. It is the first of its kind in Cambodia. Khiri has worked extensively with the community project in Chi Phat, sending a constant stream of travelers to this amazing place.

The second project is the Isanborei community homestay project midway between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. It was opened in 2009 by Khiri Reach (Khiri Travel’s non-profit arm) and GIZ, a German development NGO. GIZ (then called GTZ) was looking for private sector partners in the tourism industry to help create and manage a tourism project that brings direct benefit to the local community.

The homestays are close to the pre-Angkorian temples of Sambor Prei Kuk. These ancient temples rarely get visitors, so the project is especially important to the local community. Khiri Travel Cambodia and GIZ were also involved in training the community at the restaurant as well as the owners of the homestays.

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The Sambor Prei Kuk Temple site has been shortlisted as a UNESCO world heritage site. We hope that will help bring more travelers to this amazing site. Here travelers can stay in a local homestay and directly benefit the local community. While there, they can help with various seasonal activities such as rice planting and harvesting and visiting local handicraft and noodle villages.

For more information on these and other CBT projects, please contact sales.cambodia@khiri.com.