The author stayed at Cardamom Tented Camp (www.cardamomtentedcamp.com; +855 966 410783), which offers three-day packages from Us$345pp (£260) and four-day trips from Us$465pp (£350), including round-trip transfers, all meals and activities. The camp is a collaborative project between the Wildlife Alliance, who have provided ranger patrols for the past five years in the JW Concession; YAANA Ventures, who designed it and are responsible for its operations; the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), who part-fund the rangers; and a Thai-based hotelier, the Minor Group.
Tours of Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre are offered by the Wildlife Alliance (www.wildlifealliance.org), with a minimum donation of Us$150pp (£113). They also run a ‘Be a ranger for a day’ programme to see life on patrol; prices given on request.
The author flew with EVA Air (www.evaair.com; 020 7380 8300) from London Heathrow to Bangkok; daily flights take around 11.5 hours and start from £551. From there, Air Asia (www.airasia.com) has one-hour flights from Bangkok to Phnom Penh that cost from £70 return.
The camp can arrange transfers from Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville or Koh Kong to Trapeang Rung, from where a connecting boat departs for the camp. In Thailand, Bangkok Airways (bangkokair.com) flies to Trat, where guest may also be collected. Some long-distance buses between Phnom Penh and Koh Kong also stop at Trapeang Rung, taking around four hours.
Within JW Concession, all travel is by river, whether by kayak or long-tailed speedboat. Cambodia has limited rail services but a good network of inter-city buses. In cities, motodop bike-taxis or tuk-tuks are quick and cheap.
Cost of travel
As the camp is pretty much all-inclusive, barring any extras such as drinks, you will require little cash. Cambodia is also cheap to travel around; a decent hotel for a night in Phnom Penh will set you back less than £20. Eating out in Phnom Penh is very cheap, too, with main meals from as little as £2. A taxi transfer from Phnom Penh Airport to downtown is about £8.
Vacation Boutique Hotel (Phnom Penh, www.vacationboutiquehotel.com) epitomises good value, although it’s hardly boutique. Still, the large, modern rooms are located close to the riverfront; B&B doubles from KRH200,000 (£37)
Food & Drink
It’s all too easy to get western food in Phnom Penh but try Khmer-style cuisine. This not only differs greatly from Thai and Vietnamese cooking but offers up some glorious flavours. Sample classics such as amok, a fish-based spiced curry typically served in a banana leaf, or lap, a piquant salad drizzled with beef, lime and chillies. There are plenty of noodles and baguettes to go around, while the red curry is fragrant and creamy with coconut milk.