Getting to Chi-Phat for my homestay was quite the adventure.
From Kampot, it took a total of almost seven hours and four modes of transportation (minivan, bus, boat, and bike) to get to the little town southwest of Phnom Penh.
Chi-Phat is a community-based ecotourism village located in the beautiful Cardamon Mountains. There are several guesthouses in the village, but I chose to stay with a Khmer family to get the chance to experience daily life of the people who live and work there.
The house I stayed in had no electricity and no running water, and the family I stayed with (my host mom is pictured above) spoke absolutely no English. However, they did make me a delicious dinner and were full of smiles.
For the three nights I stayed there, I lived with them on a small farm that was crowded with baby chicks and, best of all, puppies (who stole my socks, but were too adorable for me to be mad at.)
While I was in the town, I was able to do a 12-mile trek to a waterfall, stopping at the bat caves…which had no bats. But still, it was worth the trip to swim in the river. It was almost 100 degrees everyday and I didn’t even have a fan to keep me cool.
While it was a hot stay, it was worth getting to experience of getting to stay with a traditional Khmer family. I would recommend this or another similar homestay to anyone traveling through Cambodia. Never have I felt so welcome in a place outside of my home country. Every day as I rode my bike through the tiny town center, I was greeted with smiles and “hellos” from all directions. It was a great way to conclude my stay in Cambodia.
Now, it is only a few days until I am on the next leg of my adventure. Get ready for me, Malaysia!