Remote rural village stay at Preah Rumkel

An overnight stay in the charming village of Preah Rumkel gives an unmissable insight into traditional rural lifestyles and cultural activities that have endured for generations. Gateway to the spectacular Sopheakmith waterfalls, Preah Rumkel is a favourite haunt of ecotourists in search of the wild Irrawaddy dolphins that are frequently seen here from the banks of the Mekong River. Isolated, with simple yet welcoming accommodation, Preah Rumkel is best suited to more adventurous travellers. Make the journey though, and you’ll discover a tranquil, friendly community immersed in spectacular jungle scenery.

What to expect in Preah Rumkel village...

Preah Rumkel is a small, peaceful Cambodian village, close to the border with Laos. Yet due to the nearby Anlong Cheuteal dolphin pool, not to mention the wealth of cultural and adventurous activities that you’ll find in the surrounding area, in recent years this has become one of Cambodia’s most renowned ecotourism destinations.

The village, with its intriguing mix of Khmer and Laotian cultures, has a charmingly sleepy atmosphere, locals quietly getting on with daily routines that have remained virtually unchanged for many years.

Indeed, we’ve often heard from those who’ve visited that some of their most memorable experiences were just wandering aimlessly through the narrow streets, watching the fishermen unload their catch, or splashing around in the clear river waters.

A short trek through the jungle brings you to the tempestuous Sopheakmith waterfalls, hurtling recklessly over limestone crags and boulders. Take a boat trip to doze on a deserted island beach, see the raging Mekong Rapids – especially dramatic during the wet season – or explore the hauntingly atmospheric Flooded Forest of Ramsar, an important bird habitat and fishing ground. As the sun gently sets above the jungle treetops, spend the sultry evenings watching classical music and dance performances, before you bed down in a traditional wooden hut.

Depending on the time of year, you may even see a thrilling ceremonial boat race. Stay alert for wild Irrawaddy dolphins frolicking in the river, as the eyes can deceive, particularly if you’ve over-indulged on the notorious sticky rice wine, a local speciality with a lethal kick. Whether you’re here for the wildlife, the panoramic views from jungle treks and mountain biking trails, or simply to escape the hustle of the city, thanks to this unique ecotourism venture your stay will make a valuable contribution to the village’s future.

Location: Stung Treng Province, close to the Laos border. Around 10 hours from Phnom Penh by road and speedboat.

Duration: varies

Accommodation: Village homestay

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We say...

'An authentic glimpse of the captivating beauty and stillness of rural Cambodia, which benefits the local community. If you can cope with fairly basic conditions, you’ll love being so close to nature, and you might even see wild dolphins!'

Important to note

Accommodation in Preah Rumkel is very simple. You’ll be staying in family homes, usually wooden buildings on stilts, sleeping on a mattress beneath a mosquito net. Expect squat toilets, and washing facilities that involve cold water and a plastic jug. Meals are shared in the community restaurant. The long overland journey to the village can be quite taxing.