Cambodia, Phnom Penh and The South
Info : Jasmine Valley
Jasmine Valley is a rustic eco lodge located in a stunning hillside location just outside Kep that borders the National park. Run with sustainability and environmental protection in mind, the lodge offers a host of adventurous accommodation and interesting local excursions and activities.
The property consists of a spread of 10 bungalows and stilted ‘treehouses’ that command excellent valley views. All rooms are thatched and constructed with natural materials. The Treehouses are definitely the rooms to go for! The layouts of these vary slightly but all offer comfortable beds and outdoor bathrooms. These are ideal for families and couples alike. There is no electricity or hot water but 12v fans and basic lighting are provided, powered by solar panels.
Jasmine valley has two open kitchens serving good local food, fresh seafood and a range of international specials including wood fired pizzas. Much of the produce is grown on site.
The wildlife in the area is worthy of particular note and a variety of tropical birds can be seen in the tree canopy around the site. There are some great hiking trails into the national park from the resort itself and the staff can assist with routes and guide as required.
The layout of the lodge is designed with fun and mingling in mind. There is a small amphitheatre for performances, a pool table, table tennis and table football and a range of other games and activities. There is even a skateboarding ramp, where one of the staff got so good he went on to become a professional skater!
Jasmine Valley will appeal to anyone wanting to stay somewhere rustic and close to nature and it is particularly good for families. Kep town is only fifteen minutes away by vehicle or tuk tuk.
Both our guides, in Cambodia were excellent. However, I would like to nominate Channak for an award because we felt he gave an outstanding level of service, showing us things that weren't on the itinerary which we would never have found by ourselves and going out of his way to do so. His general sociability and ability to talk to local people, including more reserved tribal people, meant that we had a much greater insight into the community than we expected and we felt privileged to be there with him. He also has personal experience (from childhood) of the Khmer Rouge regime which made our visits to Toul Sleng and Choeung Ek in particular even more poignant than they would have been otherwise.