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Stung Treng – Cambodia – Here I Come


JUNE 2015:



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CHANGE OF PLAN:

When I left Kampot for Snooky, my plan was to spend a couple of weeks on Otres 2 Beach and, then, head out to Koh Ta Kiev.

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Well, those plans have changed. Rainy season has started on the coast and it is the wrong time to head out to the islands. Effectively, I am 1 month too late (either that or the rains have come early).


TIME FOR A BREAK:

When I stepped off of the Liveaboard Scuba Dive trip back in Khao Lak, I was ‘break even’ on my GRANDPAcking budget. The costs of that liveaboard trip had brought me up to a spend of exactly NZ$80 / US$57 / €53 / £38 per day.

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Since then, I have been in West Malaysia (Melaka and Penang), Bangpli (Bangkok, Thailand), Central Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phnom Penh), and South West Cambodia (Kampot, Kep, and Otres Beach).

In every one of those locations, I have lived well within budget and saved up a lot of LIVING funds:

  • West Malaysia: I saved NZ$37 / day for 20 days (NZ$740)
  • Bangpli: I saved NZ$37 / day for 26 days (NZ$960)
  • Central Cambodia: I saved NZ$31 / day for 18 days (NZ$560)
  • Kampot: I saved NZ$34 / day for 15 days (NZ$510)
  • Otres 2 Beach: I saved NZ$30 / day for 20 days (NZ$600)

So, since jumping off of the Liveaboard boat in Khao Lak, I have saved about NZ$3,370 / US$2,250 / €2,100 / £1,550.

That was about 3 months ago so IT IS TIME FOR ANOTHER BREAK. Time to ‘LIVE‘ a bit…


SO, WHERE NEXT?:

Rainy season is starting throughout Cambodia except in one region: North East Cambodia. In North East Cambodia, the rainy season starts a month or so later. The weather should be OK through June and into July.

So, I will make my way up to Stung Treng which is up the Mekong near the Laos border.


MY OBJECTIVE:

The Mekong north of Stung Treng is meant to be good White Water Rafting territory. Now that the rains are starting, there’s a chance that there is some good rafting to be had. I used to do White Water Rafting back in New Zealand and (being a bit of a water baby) I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. If my back can hold out, I want some.

Using Stung Treng as a base, I can also look to do something in the very far North East. With the trapped nerve in my back, I can’t really take on any serious trekking… but, once I am in Stung Treng, I may find something that ‘grabs my fancy’ and lies ‘within my realms of possibility’.

But, my main objective is to find a way to spend a few days Kayaking down the Mekong river.

Stung Treng is about 140kms upstream from Kratie. I have heard that some tour agents do a 5 day Kayak trip down river to Kratie (and, perhaps, even further south towards Phnom Penh).

I used to do a lot of Kayaking when I was younger. If I can get some of my confidence back, it should be very achievable: All I have to do is follow the current down river and do 25kms a day. As long as someone is looking after my luggage and waiting for me at a Guesthouse each night, it should be easy to just concentrate on the Kayaking and get the maximum out of the experience.

The Kayaking would take me through sunken forests, past river dolphins, and through beautiful Mekong landscapes.


THE PLAN:

A 180km ‘Mekong Discovery Trail’ was set up in 2010 but is falling into disrepair and information (on the internet) on exactly how to Kayak Down The Mekong is very ‘sketchy’.

Therefore, I will make my way to Stung Treng slowly stopping in Phnom Penh and Kratie on the way. I will stop in each for 2-3 nights.

This will give me enough time to figure things out. By the time I finalise my investigations in Stung Treng, I should have enough information to know how to get this done (if it can be done at all).

Obviously, I’m a GRANDPAcker, not an ‘adrenaline junky’. I need to find a way of doing this that is safe, within my budget, and within my capability.

Keep an eye on my next posts. I’ll let you know how I get on making my way up to Stung Treng and, with any luck, I’ll have a ‘Kayaking Down The Mekong’ post online before the end of June.


UPDATE:

I told some expat friends down at the Otres Beach Resort what I planned to do and I sparked some imaginations…

3-4 people want to come too – but one can’t make it at such short notice.

So, my plans have changed already (within 1 day)… there are now 4 of us who are going to do a 2 day, 1 night Kayaking trip down the Ream National Park river (near Snooky). But we can’t do it until next Monday (when Charles can get a day off from work… he’s the chef down at Secret Garden).

The plan is simple… we’ll do a trial run down the Ream river and (if all goes well) we’ll all go for Stung Treng together. Watch this space…

Meanwhile, I will book a few more nights on Otres Beach (I’ll move from Mary’s to Otres Beach Resort).


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