Part 1 – On to Tatai Waterfalls, Koh Kong Cambodia
Better late than never. That’s my motto. Hahaha! For this post anyway. I keep forgetting to schedule posting this.. Forgive the memory gaps.Anyway, this is all about our trip to Koh Kong, Cambodia last August? Seriously, I even forgot the date already :D.
We were looking at another boring weekend that time and Hi-ace suggested we go over to Kompong Som (Sihanoukville) so we could roast ourselves a bit (I really mean we could have a good rest at the beach). So that was the plan, till my sister-in-law heard we were going and pretty soon there were about 10 more people wanting to join us. I so appreciate my Cambodian family, they are almost always having itchy feet. You know, they are what my father usually calls ‘layas’ that’s a Bicolano word meaning ‘wanderlust’.
Instead of taking a bus, we all just decided to rent a van. Then we just realized all of us had been to Sihanoukville several times already, and since we had a van at our disposal, why not go someplace else we all haven’t been to. We picked out Koh Kong, mainly because it has beaches too, less touristy, plus we all wanted to see the Mangrove forests. Koh Kong was IT then. Our Mondulkiri travel was a superlative for me, so I was really excited too about this Koh Kong Trip since well a lot of people had been raving about the place.
Koh Kong is at the southern part of Cambodia, and the city is about 8 km from the Thai border. Krong Koh Kong has also been dubbed before as Cambodia’s Wild West. This province is just so vast, with little houses around, sparse population, lots of beaches, rainforests, mountains etc. Simply a great place to explore (I just wish we had more time, but we could always go back :P)
Traveling with my Khmer relatives was fun and educating as well. Well, educating for me anyway, in terms of their culture and made me realize more how Cambodians are really into picnicing. Anyway, we took off early morning, the van was all packed, lol! we were almost bursting full (not with people!) but with the goodies and foodies my mother-in-law insisted we take. You know, she knows how much we love eating and what if we get stranded or something, in any case, lets just say if we get stranded in the middle of nowhere, we had enough food and water to last 10 of us for 2 days with more to spare.
My nieces and nephews were also lugging in luggages and I did wonder what’s in there coz we were only going for two days. I know, this kinda weirded me out, since I usually travel light, with just the essentials. 😀 Another thing I noticed, most of them were dressed to the nines and for a minute I felt left out. I mean, two of them were wearing heels and dresses, others were wearing pants and long sleeved shirts like they were going for a job interview or something, and Hi-ace, Chinks, me and another niece, well were the only ones wearing shorts, shirt, and slip-ons. Ok, so I thought maybe that’s just how they like to travel.. No sweat.
One good thing about going to Koh Kong is that the road condition is excellent. I could still remember how numb my butt was when we went to Mondulkiri so this was a great thing for me. And once you get past the intersection between National Highway 4 (going to Sihanoukville) and National Highway 48 (going to Koh Kong) the views are just stunning! Everything is all green and there are a couple of bridges you have to pass through and the water is all clear and reflecting all green colors of surrounding lush mountains. The road is mostly winding, carved from mountains, with very little houses almost all the way.
A few kilometers before we reached Koh Kong, around 10 am, the driver said were stopping for a swim at Tatai Waterfalls. The van traveled on something like a dirt path away from the main highway for something like half kilometer, then we came upon a small er and really steep path and the driver told us we just had to go on by foot. Okay, I’m a total klutz and I just keep imagining myself simply tripping and rolling over and just finding myself plunging on the waterfalls.
None of that happened though, thankfully Hi-ace had the good sense to order me to remove my slippers so I could go down barefooot. God! Even Chinks got there ahead of me. It was really that steep and I wasn’t even carrying anything. You could guess how amazed I was when I saw my nieces carting their luggages (which they told me has their clothes so they could change after swimming), and they were going down the steep hill like it was nothing.
And was it worth climbing down? Totally! The water levels were not so high so the river was gently flowing. We had to climb down a couple more rock formations, and wow! just wow! something like 4 meters of thundering water and it was awesome! The water was crystal clear, you can actually see little fishes swimming all over.. The kids had a great time swimming and of course, we adults had a picnic! I think any Cambodian outing is incomplete without this… I know my description won’t do justice to Tatai Waterfall, so here are the photos..
After about two hours swimming, we all had to go.. It was hard to do, it was just so pretty I could even live there (if there was a Starbucks right beside my hut, yeah!) and another reason I didn’t want to leave, was that I was scared of climbing up the hill to get to the van. Going down was another matter but going up, wow! I went with a headstart of 15 minutes, I was really panting (and scared I was having a heart attack!) and those kids still caught up me. Hahaha and they kept laughing at me..