From Thailand to the Cardamom Mountains
Getting to Cardamom Tented Camp in Cambodia can be a real adventure when you take our overland trip from Bangkok. While the journey is possible in one day, we prefer to take it at a more leisurely pace, with an overnight stay in Chantaburi town to experience a side of Thailand rarely seen by travelers.
Approximately 250 km east of Bangkok, Chantaburi has a fascinating history, making it an ideal stopover destination to break up the journey to Cardamom. Join us and discover the town’s Thai, French and Vietnamese influences, and learn just why this picturesque destination is such a melting pot in Thailand’s history.
The town’s landmark is its famous Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the largest church in Thailand. It also has the biggest congregation of Roman Catholic Thais, many of whom are of Vietnamese descent; having fled to Thailand in the 19th century to escape religious persecution in their own country.
However, the cathedral was originally built in the 17th century by the French. The fact that Chantaburi was occupied by the French army for 11 years during the reign of King Chulalongkorn is not widely known, even by many Thai people. The occupation ended in 1906, a year before the king’s first trip to Europe to get a better understanding of foreign affairs on the world stage.
In addition to the Cathedral, we also visit the charismatic Chantaboon Waterfront Community filled with restored wooden houses situated on the banks of the Chantaburi River. One of this community’s most prominent buildings is Baan Luang Rajamaitri, the former residence of a local Thai aristocrat.
Awarded by UNESCO as a building of special merit, Baan Luang Rajamaitri is a beautiful example of Sino-Portuguese architecture and now serves as a hotel and museum. It will also be your hotel for the night on arriving in Chantaburi. Situated in the Chantaboon Waterfront Community guests can explore the area around the hotel and even try some of the delicious Vietnamese-inspired Thai cuisine at restaurants in the riverside area.
Early the next morning you will meet with our guide and go for a walk through the Chantaboon Riverside Community to see how local people start their day. You can witness the daily alms giving to the monks; have a look at the local market and witness locals enjoying their breakfast in the small restaurants before returning to the hotel for your own breakfast.
We then leave charming Chantaburi behind and head further east towards Cambodia. On the way, we make one more stop to visit Namtok Phlio National Park, named after its stunning Phlio waterfall which seems to almost ‘erupt’ straight out of the mountain. It is especially impressive during the rainy season with clouds of spray covering visitors in a cool mist.
We then continue to Had Lek on the border and cross into Cambodia for the final leg of our journey to Trapeang Rung village in the Cardamom Mountains. It’s dusk by the time we arrive in Cardamom Tented Camp, after a wonderful 45-minute boat journey – just in time for a cold sun-downer and to hear the magical whooping calls of gibbons as they settle down for the night in the forest.
You’re adventure in the enchanting world of Cardamom Tented Camp is only just beginning!