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Published on December 8, 2014

Don't just visit a Cambodia community – be part of it, by sleeping in a local homestay and participating in local activities.

1.1.  Chi Phat Community-based Ecotourism in Koh Kong Province

Chi Phat in Koh Kong province is one of Southeast Asia's largest tracts of rainforest, and combines both natural and cultural treasures in a single destination. With the Cardamom Mountains as a backdrop, travelers can meet and explore at leisure: go bird-watching at sunrise on the river; visit the O'key tribespeople in their village; look at a burial jar site; see the scenic O'malu waterfall; or take multi-day biking, trekking and boat trips throughout the territory. Chi Phat offers the perfect terrain for all these adventures, with easy access to swampland, rivers, forest and mountain alike. Tourism Cambodia official page.

1.2.  Preah Rumkel Community-based Ecotourism, Stung Treng Province

The small village of Preah Rumkel along the Mekong River has a secret: it's one of the best places to watch Irrawaddy dolphins. Homestay guests can see these magnificent river creatures in their natural habitat, while doing so much more besides – they can trek through the nearby jungle to visit the Great Mekong Falls; explore the wetland areas to go bird-watching; go swimming in the river; or bicycle around the village in the daytime.

Don't forget the local culture: homestay guests will be encouraged to try traditional dances, go boat racing, go fishing with traditional implements, and best of all, try the sticky-rice wine that Stung Treng province is famous for. Tourism Cambodia official page.

1.3.  Chambok Community-based Ecotourism, Kom Pong Speu Province

Located next to Kirirom National Park in Kampong Speu province, the town of Chambok is a godsend to backpackers looking for nature in full flower. Three streams can be easily reached from Chambok, including one with a 40 meter high waterfall. Nearby forests are home to unique birds and animals that an English-speaking guide will be happy to point out for you, and an eerie cave hosts hundreds of bats.

As a guest you'll also experience rural Cambodian culture first-hand, through traditional dance and music performances. You can also go bicycle and ox-cart riding through the countryside, with the option of having a picnic prepared by a local women's group. Tourism Cambodia official page