As the glow of the rising sun spreads its warmth across the Preak Piphot River, the scenic rapids of the river are heard amid the call of birds from a distance - a typical morning in Chi Phat, hemmed in the foothills of Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia. It is regarded as one of South East Asia's last frontiers and the most important wilderness zones. It was only recently that Chi Phat was presented to the world, not only as a hot spot for travelers but for nature lovers and conservationists as well.
The fact that Chi Phat is far-flung doesn't stop hardy tourists from getting to the site. The place doesn't promise luxury but yet its beautiful rainforest that connects to the ranges of Cardamom Mountains has been the home to about 3,000 plant species, over 200 bird species and globally threatened mammals such as Asian elephants, sun bears, and flying squirrels. Other than the vast expanse of mountains and forests, the mangroves encroaching the riverbanks also house a profusion of marine life such as the Siamese crocodile.
The feeling of wet feet wears away soon enough as travelers are welcomed by the view of the Chunlean Pran nearby. It is a good venue to rest and watch the fluttering butterflies as occasional monkeys and squirrels cheerfully balance on top of the trees. The mesmerizing rolling grasslands near the village also add a warming experience. Only when the roar of the speedy jetty boat arrives that one's senses will be awakened from a fleeting trance. Such is the charm of the site.
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