2020 was hard, but 2021 is even harder. With the ongoing pandemic and an increase in COVID-19 cases, it seems like we are never getting our mask-and-alcohol-free life back ever again.
But that does not stop me from traveling—well, it did for a while until I had my booster dose 2 weeks ago. You could probably be reading my fifth article of 2021 right now if it wasn’t for COVID-19.
If you’re itching for a trip to somewhere not so far from Phnom Penh, this article might be for you. My friends and I recently spent 2 nights at The Safari and below is our full itinerary.
Getting to The Safari
Located in Mlech, The Safari is only 2 hours away from Phnom Penh and 1 hour away from Kampot.
To get there, you have to travel on national road number 3 or road 41. Bad news is that you wouldn’t be able to get there by bus, but a private taxi or a motorbike will do.
My friends and I left Phnom Penh at 6AM, had our breakfast along the way and finally got to our glamping site at 8:30AM.
We didn’t ask The Safari team for direction prior to the trip and just followed Google Map. It was a very smooth and pleasant journey until the last 4km. Our buddy, Google map, led us to super bumpy, muddy road. That’s not even the worst of it! There was this one bridge, the size of a pick up car, with only one side railing. You could see everything down the bridge and a bad driving skill won’t do you good.
Once we got to The Safari, they asked us which way we took and that was when we realized we were in the wrong. According to them, there is a much easier and faster route. And this isn’t the first time visitors like us experienced The Safari the hard way. Click here to see the recommended route. Thank me later. 😉
If I’m being honest, The Safari wasn’t on my radar at first. I think it’s too mainstream and also costs a bit over my usual travel budget. My friends and I wouldn’t have been there if it wasn’t for the 50% off coupons we got earlier in July.
Boy do I wish I did more research about The Safari and Mlech in general before assuming. I was really wrong about this place. Who would have known there is such a beautiful place so close to the city?
You’ll find 8 tents here. A lotus tent for 2 costs $55 a night. Extra bed is charged at $10 a person and you can have up to 5 persons per tent. Each tent is equipped with 2 fans.
There’s no private bathroom at The Safari, but four shared ones.
You’ll see a showerhead in the bathroom, but it cannot be used. This container is your best option.
I forgot to bring my body wash, glad they already have it here.
Here are some cool nature photography spots around The Safari. The view is straight out of a travel movie.
The Safari is a very pet-friendly place. They have 2 sheep, several rabbits, and a few cats. But you’ll find a lot of neighbor dogs, cats or even chickens who would always visit everyone coming here. Besides, you’ll be able to see many fireflies at night too.
Besides the charming natural beauty, what’s so great about The Safari is that they provide dining-ware, outdoor BBQ griller with charcoal, rice and ice for free from 5PM-9PM.
I believe that’s a deal you wouldn’t find elsewhere. What’s even better is that their service is designed to help everyone bring in their own food and drink easier, so there’s no extra charge for all that. You can also pre-order food from them if you’re not bringing your own.
However, everything comes with a downside. They allow check-in at 4PM, which is 2 hours later than at a usual place. They’ve been in this business for so long, so the tents are not so new. I’m not complaining, I’m just telling you what to expect because a clean freak wouldn’t approve.
Wonder what you can do around The Safari? There are a few places you can swing by around the lake. You can also rent ATV at $25 an hour with a road guider. We were also told there’s a hiking trail behind the camp.
Since The Safari allows check-in at 4PM, we just dropped off our things and continued another 1 hour journey to Kampot.
1. Sre Ambel
It was already lunch o’clock by the time we got to Kampot. We parked our car at a friend’s house and rented motorbikes to travel around.
The most famous lunch spot for people traveling from Phnom Penh would be Teuk Chu. We wanted to avoid the crowd, so we decided to go somewhere more peaceful. The only place that came to mind was Sre Ambel.
There are many outdoor restaurants around here, we stopped at the first one we saw.
I was too hungry and totally forgot to take food photos. Their food aren’t the best I’ve eaten, but it’s edible and affordable.
2. Veal Pouch Waterfall
Veal Pouch Waterfall was our second stop after lunch. It’s not far from Kampot town, but it took us approximately 30 minutes by motorbike because of the slippery, muddy road during this time of the year.
There’s no entrance fee, you only have to pay for parking.
As soon as you get there, you’ll already hear the calming, relaxing sound of waterfall. If you don’t want to walk far, you can just relax at the first tier you see. But no, that’s too easy for us. We always choose the hard way so we decided to hike to the very top.
The journey wasn’t easy, but I had a cup of coffee right before the hike. I don’t know what kind of battery they put in my coffee, it fueled me to hike tirelessly. Whatever that is, I need to bring it home. 😂
We had to cross a strong flowing stream and continued walking along the small trail.
It took us around 1 hour and we couldn’t even reach the top because of the sudden heavy rain. This is the only photo I got to capture as I rushed to cover my camera. So close, yet so far. 😫
We came back down and decided to stop at this very spot to enjoy the waterfall before leaving.
If you wish to get to the very top of Veal Pouch waterfall, my advise would be to go there in the morning. Spend as long as you like, but make sure to be back before dark. Remember to bring your hiking shoes, put on some insect repellent and wear something stretchy.
1. Half-Day Trip to Preah Monivong aka Bokor National Park
This is my first time visiting Bokor National Park and oh-em-gee, I’ve never thought it’s this pretty!
Hoping to be the only group on Bokor, we decided to leave The Safari at 5:40AM. After an hour drive and a 20mn stop for coffee and breakfast takeaway, we finally reached the top at 7:30AM.
It was raining all the time during our visit, so I couldn’t see and take photos that much.
If you’re a first timer and don’t know what you can do on Bokor, keep on reading! It’s unbelievable how there are so many attractions at this national park. Whether you’re looking to take a quick photo by the waterfall, picnic around the lake, see the old Catholic building, visit the pagoda or just enjoy the cold breeze on your face, Bokor’s got all to offer.
The fog wouldn’t go away.
Have you ever heard of 100 Rice Fields on Bokor? What picture came to mind? It must be so much greenery, right? No, you’d be surprised!
And there you go the 100 rice fields. It’s all rock and not a single crop. Yes, I was surprised too. 😂
After driving around and stopped at several spots, it was time for us to go back to Kampot. Look who we found on our way back.
For those looking to spend half day of both relaxation and exploration, I can assure you that Bokor gives you the best of both worlds. It’s a perfect place to recharge yourself with an up-close experience into nature!
2. Relax at One of the Huts
We wanted to be in Mlech early, so we headed right back after lunch in Kampot. We spent around 2 hours at one of these huts around The Safari just to relax.
People usually come here for lunch. Since we’d already eaten, we didn’t need more food and had to rent their hut for $6.25.
Besides relaxing at the hut, you can also take a 5mn boat trip to see the surrounding view. I wasn’t in the mood for a boat trip, so I’m not sure how much they charge.
We went back to our accomodation, had dinner and some soju, then I was gone. 😂
Here comes the last morning of our trip. We left The Safari at 9AM and stopped at 2 places before going back to Phnom Penh.
1. Mlech Adventure
Mlech Adventure wasn’t in our actual plan. We didn’t even know this place exists in the first place. My friends and I actually wanted to ride the electric cart at one of the resorts around here, and when we asked around, they said it’s at Mlech Adventure.
The local was wrong, but we were not disappointed. The view here is amazing and there are also several cool photo spots. My camera was dead so I only got to take a few photos.
The entrance fee is $1.25 per person and it can be exchanged to one drink. But if the drink costs more than what you paid for, you have to add the leftover amount.
Mlech Adventure is also open for camping. They have tent for rent at $15 per day. I didn’t ask them the detail because we are not planning to be here anytime soon. You may contact them here if you’re interested.
2. Spean Yaul Chamkar Daung Mlech
We were finally at the right place! This electric cart is actually at Spean Yaul Chamkar Daung Mlech, which is a few minutes away from our recent stop.
The cart goes in circle for 1.3km. It costs $5 for a one person small cart and $7.5 for a 2-persons big cart. The small one can weigh up to 65kg and 130kg for the big one.
Besides this electric cart, they’ve also got zipline here. We didn’t get to check that out as we were in a rush to get back to Phnom Penh. Share me the detail if you’re going there!
Things to Prepare
Below is the list of things you should prepare if you decide to follow our above itinerary.
- Mosquito repellent
- Power bank
- Flip flop
- Hiking shoes
- Alcohol spray and protective masks
- Snacks and drinks
These are my personal essentials I got from VTENH.
Besides the things to prepare, there are also some other things you should know. The Safari doesn’t have WIFI, but not to worry, you’ll have a full signal if you use the green one. 😉 The weather at the camp is very hot from 12PM-3PM if it’s not raining. It’s best to spend your time elsewhere during the mentioned time of the day.