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Phone # +855(0) 17 905 659

Phone # +855(0) 97 905 5553

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Email: [email protected]

  • Location

    Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri, Cambodia

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About Me

Dear friends who want to visit Sen Monorom,

My name is SAM NANG. I has been here for 18 years and I knows the area well. I loves the setting here that is very different from the rest of Cambodia. It has beautiful hills and a much cooler climate. There are numerous scenic waterfalls here spread throughout the forests. i has been worked as a guide for the World Wildlife Foundation(WWF) which sent me to Indonesia to learn about developing an Eco tourism network.

I am lived in the forest for three years among the Punong people and speaks their language. I am worked for three years in an NGO orphanage. The hospitality industry has employed me for over ten years in this area. I have restaurant has been operating for nine years and last year i am opened the guesthouse.

Sen Monorom, the capital of Mondolkiri, is surrounded by some protected forests which are home to rare monkeys, birds, elephants and numerous other mammals. Seeing the sea of trees from hilltops and experiencing some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world invigorates the body and mind. You become one with the spectacularly multi lighted clouds in peace and quiet.

Tourism has increased about thirty percent here.

So I decided to start a tour company to allow others to share this and to provide jobs and income to the Phnong minority that live here. Tourists will be able to learn of Phnong culture and heritage and help them develop more sustainable ways of living in the forest. Thus the concept of Ecotourism came so that tourists could come and view the land and people here in a way that would help preserve and improve the environment and provide employment for people living in Mondolkiri.

SUPPORTING THE BUNONG TRADITIONNAL COMMUNITY

  • unfold_moreClick for details . . .
    THE BUNONG BACKGROUND STORY

    Bunong people are the people originally living in Mundolkiri in community since the first times.

    They were hunter and lived in the forest. They lived with the nature and environment.

    The Bunong people started to use elephant like 120 years ago. Since then, they always lived with the elephants. They need elephants for transport, agriculture, farming, hunting, building their houses, carrying the bamboo trees, going thru the river during wet season, visiting the family….

    They have always been living together; they have the same origins (“animism”) and are living in Mundolkiri since the beginning.

    They must stay together because elephants have a spirit: they know who their owner is, they have very good memory and are very gentle with the people taking care of them. One elephant lives with several families like 5 or 6. Usually the men ride them.

    The owner of the elephant is very strong: they know how to take care of the elephant and make sacrifices for the spirits they believe in if the elephant gets sick. Elephant can live very long with the Bunong. They know natural medicine for them and they know how to help elephant live until 100 years old. Bunong people want elephants to stay with them, they don’t want to see them being sold to sanctuary or tourists places. They consider the elephants they live with like a real member of their family and can’t imagine living without them.

    If something happens in the village, the elephant is the first to know.

    According to their traditional beliefs and rules, the elephant can get sick if something wrong happens or if a member of their community breaks the rules: like if a child is expected without the parents being married. In order to be forgiven, they will make sacrifices for the elephant and the mahout which is the elephant’s rider.

    The mahout and the elephant are like a real couple: they remain bonded to each other throughout their lives. The mahout must stay as pure as possible and scarifies his life to the elephant’s care : no marriage, no perfume, no modern things that can harm the elephant’s future.

    Even the new generations want to see the elephant in freedom in their community; the whole community doesn’t want the elephant to be controlled by any business or people. They consider the elephant like a grandfather or grandmother, being used to live with them ever since they were born..

    In fact, elephant eat for 23hours a day (200 kilos) so they go very far in jungle and the Bunong people let them go and let them their freedom for them to be able to eat well what they need.

    The times they keep them in the village is when something important happens: dies, wedding, new born : those celebrations are traditionally shared with the elephants who are a central member of the families;

    WHAT THE ELEPHANT EAT EVERY DAY:

    Elephants eat Bamboo, grass, bananas, lianas, ….. some of the things they eat are natural medicines for them so they stay in health naturally as long as they keep their freedom.

    Every month, bunong make a scarify for the elephant in order to remember their spirit and celebrate them. That’s traditional cultural for them. Celebration for elephants and for the forest to be forgiven if the elephant step or eat the forest spirits. And that s animism. They kill chicken or pig, and do painting on the elephant. The sacrifices will only be eaten by the mahout.

    WHY WE WANT TO MAKE A COMMUNITY FOR THE BUNONG PEOPLE

    The sanctuary and other places wanting to rent the elephants from Bunong people will make the loose of Bunong and elephant culture.

    We don’t want to lose that taking the elephant away from their natural environment and by taking them away from the Bunong people who would also lose their traditional culture and way of life.

    Our project is to support the Bunong people by allowing you to visit them and spend time with the elephants in their real environment without removing them into sanctuaries or other communities they’re not originally from.

    RESPECT AND HELPFULL TOURIST AND ELEPHANT COMMUNITY

    Our concern is to respect the people and the animals by not changing their way of life in order for them to keep their traditional beliefs and to be able to live even though the protected forest today doesn’t allow them to hunt anymore and live from this resource.

    Respecting all that, our program is made by and with the Bunong people. They offer to show you a part of their usual day bringing you to their village where you will participate to feed the elephant, wash them in the river and the waterfall and the Bunong will tell you how to take care of them and how to live among them.

    Bunong people proposed to invite you to help them with the work they do every day for living, like rice collecting, bamboo cutting in order to make baskets, elephants healthiness….

    You can share a meal with them and they will show you how they cook and what they’re concerned about.

    Three elephants actually live with the Bunong people, here’s the story of one of them :

    G’vat is considered as the queen of the elephant. She’s 90 years old and she survived from civil war, Khmer fights and has always lived with the Bunong community. She is in great shape and we expect her to live for more decades in freedom. You could meet her and enjoy a part of your day knowing her needs.

    Her story ; she now lives with six families taking very good care of her. She had a long and hard life as she used to be controlled by the Khmer to work in rice fields. Then, she was taken by the Polpot army to war. She used to carry the bullet war from one place to another with other elephants that were killed by mines. When she remained the only one alive, she ran away to the Lao border. Realizing they didn’t see her for a long time, one of the Bunong man called G’rap called the spirit and made sacrifices for her to come back.

    What a surprise for the Bunong village to hear something knocking hard on the ground one month later ! G’vat was back home ! Since then, she is cherished and spend most of her time hanging aroud searching for fresh food and rest in the forest.

    G’chring, Mekun are the other elephants living with the families. They will be happy to tell you about their stories too!

    COMMUNITY FOREST PROTCETION AREA TREKKING

    Trekking can also be a good opportunity to get to know the jungle and the bunong community.

    We can organize a jungle trip bringing you on a trek with local guides that will tell you all about what you would like to know such as medicinal plants, trees, wild animals, fishing and living in the protected areas around here.

    You can experience living with them for a couple of days if you wish. We will contact them and arrange you a unique experience with the bunong.

    If you are interested in supporting the bunong people and learn about their culture we will be pleased to show you the way. In fact, most of their land has been sold to big companies and the deforestation doesn’t allow them to live from the work they used to have before.

    Tourism is growing here since a couple of years and the bunong community wish to be part of it in a way they can share their culture with foreigners and learn from them as well as an exchange. This could allow them to keep their culture like they have always had without being forced to leave the forest for jobs in the cities.

    They’re counting on you to help them keep their community alive and preserve the elephants from being sold to sanctuary where they would just be shown off and ride by the tourist as an attraction.

    This program we are trying to settle up will help them stay in their village as you will be able to see when taking part of it.

    It is really important that tourism benefits can go to help this community living on this land forever. Please let us know if you want to take a part of it!

    Why choose the Bunong community?
    • This community is controlled by the bunong’s people. The incomes support the Bunong people only.
    • Bunong people are the original owner of the elephants, the forest, the land you’re on.
    • Bunong habitat is unique; they own the knowledge of this building and the knowledge of the forest as they have always lived there.
    • We try to keep more land as possible for the elephants as they need to move a lot in order to get the food supplies they need.
    • We are local guides from the Bunong and want to share our knowledge with yours to keep our cultural differences.
    • We are totally free from outside control.

Play some games in your liesure time . . .