Beyond the city of Kampong Cham lies a hidden gem of tranquillity and relaxation. Hanchey Bamboo Resort is a place to explore the luxury of inner peace.
The resort is located on top of a hill about a 40-minute tuk-tuk ride outside the city centre. Drive along the Mekong river, through the village and past many paddy fields and temples until you reach the ultimate relaxation zone.
The structure is primarily built out of bamboo and is meticulously designed to resemble the different elements of a lotus flower. The grounds are full of frangipani trees, along with young mango, pineapple and papaya trees that are planted weekly.
The greatest dining experience with the most sensational view is offered at the Bamboo Restaurant, while the Lotus Hall supplies the perfect setting for yoga and meditation, and the expansive pool area gives the ultimate unwinding experience.
There are 10 spacious bungalows laid out on the land, all with Eastern river views. The rooms are simple and elegant, with an open-plan design and big glass windows, so the view is always in sight. All the beds are fitted with mosquito nets ensuring a pure open-air experience. There are comfortable seating arrangements inside and outside where guests can relax with a cup of tea or coffee, whilst admiring the vast waters of the Mekong.
There are also 4 doorm rooms available. Each of the rooms is fitted with 4 beds. The dorms are neat and simply designed for comfort and are perfect for short term stays, or groups of travellers on a journey of the soul.
The restaurant is situated to serve a perfect perspective of the Mekong, a stunning sight to enjoy at any moment of the day. There is a variety of different meals ranging from traditional Khmer to soups and salads, as well as established Western dishes. Sip on fresh juices or cocktails while taking in the peaceful surroundings.
The Lotus Hall is completely open-air and has an almost all-round view of the surrounding landscapes. Rice paddies consume the lands to the South while the river and islands spread across the East. Professional instructors offer free yoga classes in the morning, and there are meditation classes given in the evening by a previously practising Buddhist Monk, who now manages the entire resort. There are also meditation and yoga retreats on a monthly basis, with guest hosts who offer more concentrated sessions of the field.
With everything the resort has at hand, guests wouldn’t dream of stepping outside, yet the countryside has so much to offer. Sunrise or sunset boat cruises along the river run each day, or guests can cycle through the cashew nut and peppercorn plantations. For a more informative and culture experience, guests can visit Hanchey Temple around the corner, where all the local fruit is harvested, making for a colourful yet tranquil experience.
Guests might choose to visit the locals who produce and sell sticky rice in bamboo shoots or even take a boat cruise to Koh Treng, also known as Bamboo island. The island can only be reached by boat and offers a unique Cambodian experience, very traditional and isolated from society. Travellers can choose between a moto, bicycle or horse cart tour of the island and have the opportunity to cook and eat with a local family.
Hanchey Bamboo Resort promotes relaxation of the utmost degree, encouraging guests to return to a more holistic state of contentment, where happiness comes from within.
Not only does the resort strive to bring people back to a purer state of being but also does its part to improve the prosperity of the community youth, as well as not having a negative impact on the environment.
It is a social enterprise run by the Buddhism for Social Development Action (BSDA) and acts as a vocational training centre for locals interested in getting experience and the necessary skills to obtain jobs in the hospitality industry. 90% of the employees are all students, who train at the resort and develop their skills in housekeeping, reception, kitchen and restaurant service.
All profits go back into the training centre and the betterment of the resort. Their goal is to not rely on donors but instead generate the income to become completely self-sustainable and continue to work closely with the local community.
The resort is aspiring to become a zero-plastic establishment and have already put many steps in place to keep their project completely eco-friendly.
By using bamboo the resort is hoping to be an example for change and to start a movement in more sustainable building resources. Bamboo grows up to 100 times faster than regular trees, and a structure made of bamboo can last up to 30 - 40 years with the correct treatment. With all the deforestation in Cambodia, Hanchey Bamboo Resort hopes to change the mindset of big corporations and to use bamboo instead.
Guests can complete their stay with a final morning yoga class, and fresh breakfast before taking the winding road through the wondrous countryside back to the city, to continue with the rest of their journey.