Community Work Enviromnment Risk Management System

A nature of love and a must to conserve: Cambodia’s Chi Phat Eco-tourism

People would need a space for an escape from their routine life and environment sometimes. So did I when I managed to have a weekend escape with my partner in late August 2014 to Koh Kong province where this turned to be the greatest escape weekend ever in our lives. However it was not a really proper escape as when you would suddenly met the person you have known: I met a participant attending blogfestasia—in which I co-organized in 2012—on the mini-bus and he just sit next to me. Our conversation started with where and what was our plan to do in Koh Kong province. Another newly met middle-age man sitting after him started to jump in our conversation about tourist spots and his community work as Areng community activist. I was first thinking in my head: What an escape I had now, as this was a familiar discussion in almost day-to-day operation!

Suddenly the man introduced us to visit Chi-Phat community. Without any clue of this area but an Eco-tourism spot that managed by community, we did not think long but thanked him for guiding us the location:

It was a bout an hour drive from Sre Ambel toward to Koh Kong province and there will be sign a long the national road noting “Community-based Eco-tourism, Chi Phat”. Then we could take motor-taxi or boat to reach the area. We took motor-taxi that would take 30-45 minutes depending on road condition after the rain for example. After that we need to cross a small canal which it just took us few minutes. Then, it is about 500 meter where the community-based office is located and they could explain us further about the sites and plan together the spot visits. A two or three night-stay is recommended. Find out more the accommodation means, which they offer alternative and interesting affordable choices.

Here I came to stay at a very nice bungalow:


A great stay at Chi Phat Bungalow (Photo by the Author)
A great stay at Chi Phat Bungalow (Photo by the Author)

There were many tourist spots but I could only visit few of them given my accidental plan that allowed only a night stay there. Yet, it is still the worthwhile adventure ever. We had done hiking in the forest to see the beauty of many waterfalls:

Chhay Khpus in Chi-Phat Eco-tourism. Chhay mean 'waterfall' for Chi-Phat residents. (photo by author).
Chhay Khpus in Chi-Phat Eco-tourism. Chhay mean ‘waterfall’ for Chi-Phat residents. (photo by author).

DSC_1200 DSC_1121 DSC_1066 DSC_1060

Then we could do another adventure on the motorbike to O-malou waterfall and at some point we had to stop and walk along the motorbike as the road condition would not allow and I feel it would be best to do hiking (yet it is a bit far as it took us more than an hour). There I called it a hidden beauty waterfall.

O-malou Waterfall, the hidden beauty. (photo by author) DSC_1265 DSC_1243 DSC_1215 DSC_1210

I could not help myself to be trapped under this hidden beauty and amazed at the combination nature of love as this ecosystem complement and treat each other well to make a lively creature on earth. Having seen this and aware of many illegal logging and natural resource destruction which some were under the so-called claim of development (that environmental and social impact assessment were often neglected and conducted in a secret manner), I encourage everyone to visit the place and join hand with communities to support their force in protecting and promoting the nature, such as save the Areng Valley for example, so that it could return us back with healthy life and our children could have the chance to live with these remaining natures. I could see the potential model of Eco-tourism where it could generate income for government as well as the support directly to communities and such model shall be repeated in other places for the better off for both nature and people.

Find out more and how to contact Chi-Phat community via (the same for

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Things inspire me in Netherlands

Netherlands is one of European countries that speak Dutch. At first glance, this country was just similar to few other European countries such as Denmark where most of thing I have heard and know of is through the Prince and Me film. Well, I know this is no more relevant until I landed in this beautiful country and when I explored further about the nature of this society aside from my journey for the World Justice Forum.

The following are things that Netherlands impressed me the most and things that I wish Cambodians can enjoy the same way:

The world’s cycling leader

It is striking to see how cycling has been a way of life in Holland and it was recorded as the top country in the world in cycling. This country has developed a vast bike-friendly infrastructure to make cycling a practical and safe way to get on. With a wide route for cyclist, it also appears to me that cyclists are more prioritized than others on car or even pedestrians. While in Cambodia, the number of mobile phone penetration is surplus the number of population; Netherlands has more bikes than people. It was featured that “the 16 million Dutch inhabitants own 18 million bicycles.”

Full of bike

The friendliest people I have ever met

This assumption probably true as I was so fortunate to meet nice people in the Hague, Den Haag in Dutch—one of main cities of Netherlands and known as the city of justice and peace as the located in the city, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

From a senator who are considered as one of the high official in legislative bodies and they are entitled as Excellency in my country, Cambodia—where some would accompanied by few body guards or at least one and often on luxurious car or cars)—the lady senator who I met in the Hague, in front of the Parliament building was too kind on her way returning home on feet pulling her language on her own voluntarily guided my group to the parliament building as we were wondering around in front of the gate and asked her if this was the right place that we are looking for which is the parliament building.

She was so kind while introducing other two members of her, but from different parties (which in my country, different party members hardly talked to each other) who were heading on the route we were walking on. We were chatting for a short moment as if we have known each other since long and seemingly no class or position barriers between us. I feel so much convinced in the way these positive attitude can bridge the gap between those who govern and governed and this is a key that senior officials in other countries such as my own should learn to behave so that they could earn much respect and in return our social trust can build.


Just after a while, when my group was wondering nearby a traffic section waiting for a taxi, a gentle man walking with his dog stopped by and asked if he could help anything as we looked lost to him. In response, I bowed down a bit and we thanked for his kindness.

The cities that full of nature connection and conservation

Similar to other European states, Netherlands also has a habit of cultural conservation for their old buildings with full of history and human connection and of course they are just connected to much of nature including forests (most of their roads are decorated with a long trees that one can feel to walk in a forest); and rivers along their buildings in town and almost throughout the way.

In peace

This quite opposite to Cambodia where we would fill the lakes for a so-called development plans such as Boeung Kak which I would not debate on the eviction issue, but on the way that natural lake is filled with no advance study on social and environmental impact assessment) and the old buildings such as in colonial area are destroyed or decorated in a weird and wrong perception such as building at Bokor resort or some colonial building in Phnom Penh city.

In all, I could say I am in love with these peaceful cities of the Netherlands. I do believe in the way that people express it as the city of peace and this is indeed true since this has trapped the peaceful mind of an ordinary citizen like me and I hope readers enjoyed reading this and if persons in either government or non-government position that can impact the city master planning or development, please do visit and get Netherlands as a sample, although I am sure no one is perfect but learn something good from others and avoid their bad for a better human-kind society.

Once may argue for the case of Cambodia for example that we had experienced the civil war, genocide, etc that most of infrastructure including human resource were destroyed and without this we could reach that level as other developed countries, my question would be “to when we think we are ready, out of that war explanation and why a personal attitude that can be accessible and respectful to each other need also time to make it happen?” By putting other factors into constant; however, can we start doing it now with a measurable time-frame to reach that level?

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