Unlike the bustling resorts (both backpacker and luxury) around Cambodia’s busier destinations like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, 4 Rivers is located in a quiet corner of the country about halfway between the capital and Bangkok (about four hours from Phnom Penh), yet still off one of the country’s main highways. When travelers get to the tiny town of Tatai, they must then embark on one of the lodge’s boats and travel downstream another 10-25 minutes (depending on which boat you catch) to the lodge itself.
The eco-lodge has just 12 tented villas with either double or twin beds. Each one is a solid 45 square meters (about 500 square feet) that sit on a floating dock on the river waters. This isn’t your average houseboat, though.
Each tent has beautiful but simple furnishings like wicker beds, armchairs and chaise lounges, as well as a flat-screen television, DVD player, small work desk, a mini bar, and even WiFi, as well as a large en suite bathroom with his-and-hers vanities, and a standalone shower that looks like a huge barrel—you know, just in case you forget that this is glamping. One drawback: there's no A/C, though there are plenty of fans. They also have large surrounding sun decks for optimal nature appreciation, and guests are invited to start their day by watching the mists clear over the water and the nearby, wildlife-rich Cardamom Mountains come into view. Though guests can also accomplish this from bed thanks to the mostly windowed walls of the tents.
And just in case you were wondering, yes, you can go swimming in the river with all the little fishies, and it looks pretty refreshing to us!
You might like Asian food, but you’ll absolutely love Cambodian cuisine, especially if you like to try exotic preparations of fish. Guests are happily stranded at the resort, so the restaurant offers every meal from simple breakfasts to gourmet dinners, and everything in between. The produce is bought fresh from the local markets, and both Western and Asian specialties are tailored to individual guests’ needs, as is the list of wine and spirits from the resort’s cellar.
Though we’d be tempted just to laze around all day on our private sundeck, slipping into the water every now and then for a quick dip, this is one of the most ecologically rich areas in Asia, so it would be a shame not to head out and explore the nearby region.
The 4 Rivers Lodge can arrange a variety of nature activities for guests including kayaking through the mangroves that line the riverbanks, and which are partly responsible both for the richness of the wildlife in the area as well as the stability of the ecology. Guests can also try out a little river fishing—and if they catch anything worth eating, they can have it for dinner. There’s also dolphin-watching on the river, dusk-time firefly-spotting, and a few more high-speed activities such as powerboating and waterskiing.
One of the most popular excursions is to the crystal-clear torrent of the nearby Tatai Waterfall, which guests can reach either by a quick boat ride, or via a two-hour jungle trek during which they’re likely to spot some of the jungle’s land creatures like gibbons or even elephants, Indochinese tigers and the rare Javan rhinoceros, as well as learning about the area’s plants, and the beliefs of the local peoples.
We’ve talked a lot this week about how glamping is at the forefront of environmentally conscious travel, and, like the other properties we’ve told you about, 4 Rivers Lodge takes its role as a custodian of its environment very seriously. Its philosophy is to be “at one with the natural order, and engage the local community in promoting and fostering the soft tread of an environmentally aware footprint.”
In plain terms, that means it was built using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials, using only a limited amount of wood in favor of composite materials. It also has a sophisticated waste water treatment system aimed at not polluting the nearby waterways. Most importantly, 4 Rivers has integrated itself into the local community by viewing the population as its main partners, and hiring local staff for every aspect of running the lodge.
Rooms start from $118 or $97 for single occupancy.