Monday, April 12, 2010

End of paradise

The waterfalls and rapids of Thmor Roong, Koh Kong province, Cambodia were revisited for a third time this month. Located at nearly the half way point between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh the area was a great place for a complete getaway. Three years ago there was just 1 lady with an eski and possibly 2 or 3 shelter huts depending on what exactly you would describe as those.

Since though things have taken off: roughly ten shops now supply about 100 huts. These huts are lined two rows thick and seem solely intent in damaging the very environment that is the main attraction. Despite it not being Khmer New Year, rubbish was already easily to be found.

Worst of all a development 100m upstream seems to be excluding use for those wishing to get away from it all. A huge two meter high wall has been erected and signs through the riverbed seem to be there to deter visitors from straying upstream.
Beyond the wall, a guard hut and building have been built and the once verdant jungle undergrowth was still smoldering after some slash and burn. This stood in stark contrast to the opposing river side where the forest was still prime and once away from the main area birds were singing. Though I can’t say for sure that this side will not see the same fate.

Three years ago a visit was free to get away from the crowds, now a dollar the person to join the crowd! Thanks again folks for ruining what was once a beautiful place to visit. Long may you party (one set of visitors had a speaker box along, 1.5 m tall).

Another recent blog entry on Thmar Roung. There's apparently now a signboard with a JICA logo on it ....

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