Monday, December 29, 2008

Ream in pictures

The map of the National Park at the Ranger station of Prek Toeuk Sap
In addition to my recent report from Ream National Park, here's a few more photos to give you a feel for the trip we took, which was a boat trip with a Ranger guide, an hour-plus of relaxation on a remote beach (bring your own lunch as the facilities are zero), a jungle walk and visit to a fishing village and then back to the Ranger station at Prek Toeuk Sap. Certainly a pleasant diversion from Sihanoukville though the cost of the boat hire was quite high, so make sure there's a group of you to share the costs.
The Prek Toeuk Sap river estuary
Two fishing boats on the river with one of the boatmen in the water checking the nets
This is Vy, our boat pilot, at the helm
The secluded beach at Koh Sampouch
Another view of the beach from the hut where we ate our lunch
This is the jetty from the dolphin-watching station to Thmor Thom village
Gutting the day's catch of fish at Thmor Thom village
This is our boat, on hire from the park authority; it needed a little more protection from the sun
The fishing village of Thmor Thom from the boat


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Into Ream National Park

The secluded gorgeous beach at Koh Sampouch
Two months ago I visited the south coast with my brother Tim and one of our trips whilst we were in the area was into the Ream National Park, an area of Cambodia I'd never visited. Joining us was a good friend of mine, Vy, who works at the Sokha Beach hotel in Sihanoukville, as we took a tuk-tuk from the town out to the National Park HQ near the airport to find out more and book ourselves a boat trip. We hired the boat, with a pilot (also called Vy) and guide (Heang), at the nearby Prek Toeuk Sap Ranger station and headed out past the mangrove forests that occupied both banks of the river just after 10am. Tim used to be a twitcher in his youth and pointed out white-bellied sea eagles, egrets and kingfishers amongst the birds we saw as we headed out past the mainland and Koh Thmei island, reaching the quiet and secluded Koh Sampouch beach in just under a couple of hours. The boat beached for a minute for us to jump off before heading back, whilst we took refuge from the scorching overhead mid-day sun in a small wooden open-sided hut where we ate our lunch, to the sound of waves lapping against the shore. A handful of other sun worshippers had also found this remote spot where the sand was white and soft and the setting idyllic. Small crabs scurried across the hot sand and a lizard scampered across the floor of the hut as we dipped our feet into the sea before a three kilometre hike through the tropical forest brought us to the fishing village of Thmor Thom, which also houses a dolphin-watching station. We watched the day's catch of fish being gutted before reuniting with our boat for the 2 hour ride back to the Ranger station and a return to Sihanoukville. We didn't see all that Ream National Park has to offer by any means - it has a mountain waterfall, more secluded beaches as well as a healthy population of wildlife including freshwater dolphins around the turn of the year - but we got a glimpse of this untouristed corner of the south coast before the expected developers move in and turn the coastline into a resort and hotel extravaganza.
3 beach bums: Myself, Vy and Tim at Koh Sampouch beach
Part of the day's catch at Thmor Thom village, ready for gutting
Friendly fishermen on the Prek Toeuk Sap river estuary