At about three in the afternoon, Pich Longneth is ready to welcome the clients he has booked in for his guide service.
He has prepared the necessary materials for the trip – a water container, a rice pot, rice, vegetables, meat, fish and beverages, as well as tents and plastic mats to protect themselves from the rain.
“Tourists from one tour company travelling from Phnom Penh arrived in the afternoon. They then packed their luggage for trekking to the top of the mountain because they need to camp near there,” says Longneth, 40, a local guide for the Community-Based Eco-tourism Phnom Tobcheang with 10 years experience.
“Tour groups range from 10 or 20 people and sometimes from 50 to 60 people. They walk on the snake-like concrete road built for the transportation of Kirirom III Hydroelectricity’s construction materials for about one and a half hours to reach the camp site. For materials and food, we use motorbikes to take them there.”
Reaching the summit of Tob Cheang Mountain, visitors are treated to a spectacular view.
“At dusk, if we start hiking at 5:30pm there is a chance to see the mist cloud. When we walk up to the top of the mountain, we can see the cloud lowering down on top of roofs and farms,” says Longneth.
Walking another 30 minutes on the concrete road by the hydrodam, visitors reach an open space with jungle flowers where they spend the night. The flowers are called Chahouy and start to blossom in the rainy season, a sign to welcome the new season and attract campers.
Phnom Tobcheang Community is on the southwest side of the Cardamom Mountains, located in Srae Ambel district’s Dang Peng commune in Koh Kong province.