The Essential Packing List for Trekking in Cambodia
One of the great things about ecotourism in Cambodia is that in recent years, the Kingdom has become a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Destinations like Tonlé Sap – Cambodia’s seasonally inundated freshwater lake – team with wildlife, and many regional tour operators now offer a wide range of outdoor activities – including trekking – that take in Cambodia’s pristine outback.
There are also a growing number of ecolodges like Cardamom Tented Camp which offer opportunities to observe a wide range of wildlife close up. At Cardamom, located inside Botum Sakor National Park, there’s a good chance that you’ll come across troops of long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques, kingfishers and giant hornbills, among others. There’s even a romp of smooth-coated otters which can be seen occasionally while kayaking along the river.
So if you’re yearning for a getaway that takes you out of the rat race – away from creature comforts and into the remote wilderness, then here are a few things you should consider taking with you.
Aside from the kind of packing you do for a tropical climate, when heading to a remote jungle location, you should carefully consider your attire. Cardamon Tented Camp is located in low-lying rainforest and hiking trails frequently cross rivers and muddy creeks. You’re more than likely to get muddy and wet, so bring with you a couple of changes of clothing including a pair of light long trousers for trekking, a pair of shorts for daytime wear, a rain jacket, a swimming costume, plus a few t-shirts for both trekking and to wear during the day. A hat or bandana is also worth packing as even on a gray day the sun’s rays can be deceivingly strong. For footwear, sandals or flip-flops are good to wear in the camp, but for hiking you’ll need a sturdy pair of closed hiking shoes and some thick long socks.
Power sources for electrical equipment should also be given some serious thought as electrical sources are limited in the jungle. Cardamom Tented Camp is mainly solar-powered, which means you can still charge cameras and phones, etc., but just to be on the safe side make sure your equipment is all fully charged before you arrive – and where possible bring along portable chargers as backup. Wifi is also available at the camp’s restaurant but internet access is often limited, so make sure your important communications are done before you leave civilization behind.
Additional considerations include a camera (ideally with a zoom lens) and memory card, a good pair of binoculars, a book to read, flashlight and batteries, and if you’re planning to do some washing, some biodegradable detergent.
Investing in a sturdy lightweight backpack is another important consideration when trekking in Cambodia. Getting to most camps and trekking destinations often involves some pretty rough travel, sometimes off-road, or – in the case of Cardamom Tented Camp – by boat! While having an airplane cabin-size suitcase is still manageable, a backpack which is easy to carry is the most practical luggage option.
Cambodia has a hot tropical climate meaning insect repellent and sunscreen are two vital items to pack. Antihistamine cream is also recommended in the case of mosquito bites.
There are a few things you can’t pack – an open mind and an adventurous spirit! Remember that in Cambodia things don’t always go the way you planned them, so the more you can relax and go with the flow, the more fun your adventure will be.