It was in early 2017 that the Miss Cambodia Organization first visited the eco-friendly resort 4 Rivers Floating Lodge in Koh Kong Province to initially launch its now very successful “Ecotourism Tour.” Since then, it has been customary for both groups to meet and further strengthen a partnership that was established to benefit the local community and nature reserves in many years to come. In fact, it was for this same reason that Miss Earth Cambodia 2017 Em Kun Thong and the Miss Cambodia 2017 Queens, led by crowned winner Rern Nat, visited the establishment from 23 to 25 of March this year. And, though, some members of the visiting group have changed, the initiative remains to be in support of a common cause: to help protect the environment and educate others on how they can do their part.
WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO: A RE-ORIENTATION
Meeting the visiting group was resort Manager Anna Pawlik-Szocs who shared valuable information about the ecosystem in Cardamom Mountains and Tatai River, which is where the establishment is located. She also talked about why her team is passionate about doing its part in protecting the surrounding environment.
“We’re just tenants and guests here. Everything that you see here, from the trees to the wildlife surrounding us, have been here for hundreds of years. That’s why we must respect nature and do our best to ensure that we don’t cause it any damage or harm,” she said.
That principle, it seems, was the foundation on which 4 Rivers Floating Lodge was built on. In fact, as further explained by Anna, “Every aspect of the resort, from the construction materials used to the policies that we implement, is all about preserving our natural environment.”
And that’s why, at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, you don’t check in to a traditional room, but rather camp inside an eco-friendly tents sitting on top of Tatai river to help minimize the cutting of trees. The resort also encourages guests to refill water bottles rather than opening new ones, to go out and enjoy nature more rather than staying in their tents to watch TV or activities that consume electricity, and impart them other useful reminders.
“There are so many fun and ecological activities that you can do here, like kayaking on the river and trekking in the mountains. That’s why I encourage guests to not miss out on this rare opportunity to enjoy nature up-close,” she added.
RECYCLING AND UPCYCLING
During their stay, the visiting group also attended a waste management and recycling session, which Anna and her team have been conducting since the resort opened.
“If you look around you, you’ll notice that there are no plastic bottles or any rubbish in sight. It’s because we’ve been diligently cleaning up the surroundings and have been encouraging locals to help out. Everyone here has to do their part because – in many ways – our livelihoods depend on having clean and healthy natural surroundings,” she said.
Anna also shared tips on upcycling, which is the process of “creatively” using byproducts or unwanted materials into a new and useful product.
“Old or used wine bottles, for example, can be used for so many useful things. You can design it, make it look nice and then use it as a flower vase. We also give cash rewards to locals who would build boats out of plastic bottles, and the response has been really encouraging,” she said.
AND, DON’T FORGET, IT’S A PLACE FOR RELAXATION AND FUN
At the end of the day, and despite how everyone is avid about taking care of the environment at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Anna said that it is still a place to unwind and have an enjoyable time with families and friends.
“As I’ve mentioned, there are so many fun activities that you can do here with your family and friends. We offer jungle treks, sunset cruises and excursions to exclusive areas of the mountain or river. You’ll have a great time here,” she said.
The resort also offers a unique dining experience in that they offer a wide selection of local and western food, and a must-try “fisherman massage” – which is a traditional massage given to local fishermen by their affectionate wives upon their return after a hard day’s work.
THOUGHTS FROM THE VISITING GROUP
All in all, members of the visiting team shared that their experience at the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge was not only educational but also deeply memorable.
“This trip was very important and personal to me because I strongly advocate the preservation of our environment, not only for ourselves but also for future
generations, because nature provides us with everything that we need in order to survive: clean air, shelter, food, medicines and many others,” says Kun Thong.
“For me, 4 Rivers Floating Lodge is a very special place because it allows you to enjoy nature without doing harm to it. I learned so much while also having fun, and I’m definitely coming back – both to support their initiatives and to have another memorable experience with them,” said Nat.
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