Day-tripping on the Tatai River, Cambodia

I love a boat trip!

And we had two full days at the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge in which to indulge in this pursuit during out trip to Cambodia.

In fact there are many activities to choose from when staying at the lodge, but we decided to go for the trip to see the waterfall (even if it was full-on dry season!) and the mangrove trip.

Tatai Waterfall

We arranged the night before to take the waterfall trip the next day.  We chose our lunch (sandwiches or fried rice?) and were advised what we would need to bring with us…a pair of socks was on the list!  Trust me, our guide told us!  Ok, he knows best I thought!

The next morning, after a hearty breakfast, we assembled by the bar ready for our excursion.  We were to share the trip with another couple and introduced ourselves as we assembled. Our guide arrived and led us down to the jetty to the boat which would take us the short 45 minute ride upriver.

As we glided up the river, with the sound of the engines roaring in our ears, we chatted to our fellow day trippers and with our guide, who told us about the area and his role at the lodge.  

In between chatting, we took in our surroundings, a beautiful wide river, flanked by lush greenery, which was itself interspersed with small houses along the bank.  

4 Rivers - boat trip IIII
The banks of the Tatai river

There is something so relaxing about boat trips, I just love them!

We sailed past the 4 Rivers reception pier and under the Tatai bridge heading towards our destination. 

The river split in two and we veered off to the left.

Soon, the scenery changed slightly with the river narrowing and the surrounding forest becoming a bit thicker.

And then there it was! 

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall
The Tatai Waterfall

Ok, so it was dry season so we weren’t faced with a gushing waterfall, but more a lot of boulders and rocks! 

BUT there was still water filtering through it and I couldn’t wait to go and explore and of course, swim under the (small!) falls!

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall II

Our captain glided us towards the boulders, with our guide acting as look out, as they navigated their way across the shallow waters trying to avoid the rocks under the surface…which we didn’t always manage!  We did hit a boulder at one point!

4 Rivers approaching waterfall
There were plenty of boulders under the shallow water to try to avoid as we approached the waterfall!

However, we were in safe hands and we were soon moored up between some huge rocks.

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall - boat

I looked up and wondered how we were going to scramble our way to the top, but our guide took the lead and showed us where to go so we made it to the top in one piece (and in fairness it really wasn’t far, but in flip flops it was a little bit slippery!).

As I mentioned it was dry season, so the fall was a bit of a light trickle rather than a torrid cascade, as I would imagine it is in wet season.

At the top of the falls, we wandered around the super smooth flat rocks and took in the scene back up the river and down over the precipice of the falls.  

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall - view from top III
The view downriver over the top of the falls.

It was very peaceful indeed and I stood at the top of the falls trying to imagine what it would be like in wet season. 

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall - view from top
Looking out over the falls!

There were a few people milling around over on the opposite bank, locals who had set up shop and others who were enjoying cooling off under the falls themselves. 

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall - people

There were a few bits of rubbish strewn around, and our guide shook his head, tutting at these items.  He set to, collecting them up, whilst telling us that rubbish is a big problem in his country and he is doing what he can to tackle it through spreading the word through his friends and family, and also through the efforts of the 4 Rivers.

They work with local schools in trying to educate the children on how to manage rubbish and they also run an annual event where these children get together to have a clean up of the river.  Education on these issues is key.

We helped with collecting what rubbish we could and then it was time for a swim.

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall - swim
Time for a swim!

It was time for the socks to come out!!

And our guide was soooo right!!

I initially tried walking across the wet, slippery walks without them on and almost immediately ended up on my arse!  So the socks went on… and they really did help!

Another tip was to stay low, so I found myself in my bikini, with socks on my feet, creeping and slipping across the rocks in a crab like fashion!!  I had never looked so elegant!

The rocks were flat, slippery, and full of pot holes and I stumbled and fell down some of them!  

They then dropped away to deeper water and as I slipped in, I found myself floating in cool water looking out over a river and jungle.  Wow!

4 Rivers Tatai Waterfall - view from top II

There was a small cascade of water pouring over one side of the rocks.

We manoeuvered ourselves and I climbed up to sit under the flow. Ouch!! It was a bit of a pummelling!!  

We spent a while swimming around and sitting under the falls, it was lovely. But finally it was time to try to get out of the water and head back to the boat for lunch.  

Slip, slide, fall over… and repeat..!  Got there in the end though!

We made our way back to the boat and sat, drying off and eating our sandwiches or fried rice.

It was a really lovely, relaxed day trip!

4 Rivers building new tents
Heading back under the Tatai bridge – those are floating tents being built for the lodge.

Mangrove Trip

The next day we chose to go on the mangrove trip. 

This involved a 2 hour boat trip down river to a small village called Koh Kkong Knong.

Mangrove return boat trip 4
River views!

On arrival at the village, we disembarked the boat and followed our guide a short distance to an empty school. 

Mangrove trip - village path
The path to the school.

We were allowed to have a look around the main classroom and were shown the building work that had been taking place to construct a new building where they would be able to have lessons in a more secure environment from the elements. 

School 1
A small outside classroom area.

It felt a bit strange walking around the school, but it was interesting to see.

Afterwards we made our way back to the shoreline where we were briefly introduced to a lady who was shelling and roasting cashew nuts.

We had walked past a tree with some strange looking fruits on it and our guide had explained that it was a cashew nut tree. I do not recall ever seeing one before and it was interesting to see where these delicious nuts come from!

Cashew nut tree
A cashew nut tree!

We were able to try some of the nuts that the lady had roasted…mmmm, they were delicious, so fresh!! 

It was then time to return to the boat and we motored a short distance to the mangroves.  We moored up at the entrance to a small tributary and we were served lunch.

Mangrove 2
Mooring up before we set off into the mangroves!

Again is was so peaceful, I could have sat there for quite a while.

Once lunch was finished it was time for a little kayaking trip through the mangroves.

I thought this would be a nice leisurely paddle through the mangroves, but it was a bit more energetic than that! For me anyway!!

After clambouring out of our main boat into the kayaks without any mishaps, off we went. 

It was hilarious!  We ventured into the tributary, looking around at the mangroves that enveloped us. 

How long will this be? we asked.

About half an hour….each way…urrrrr, ok not sure I can do this for that long!

Mangrove 1
The mangroves that line the riverbank.

Anyway, myself and my partner were at the front of the crowd, we paddled along trying not to bump into the banks sometimes unsuccessfully!

We went on…and on… and the smell in the mangroves got worse…and worse…! 

The water got a bit more stagnant and the water got shallower and shallower, until it got to the point where it looked like we might run aground!

Our guide said we could go on, but at that point we were all struggling so we decided to turn back.  

I can’t say it was particularly picturesque that far into the mangroves.  Maybe we missed something by not carrying on, but I for one had had enough! My arms were burning, I was sitting in stagnant water in our kayak and there really wasn’t that much to see!

We turned around and started the paddle back to the boat. By the time we got there, we were all very glad to get out of the kayaks and give our arms a rest!

We had time to recover on our way back to the lodge, as it was about an hour and a half journey.

Our guide fed us lots of fresh local fruit on the way back, gorgeously sweet mango, vibrant dragon fruit, ripe bananas and we devoured them all, somewhat revived after our energetic excursion!

Activities

These were just two of the trips that the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge offers. There are a lot of other activities that you can try, such as jungle trekking if you are feeling energetic! You are free to do as much or as little as you like, but they are a great way to get out and explore the beautiful area that the lodge is based in. 

 

 

Please also see the following posts which may interest you:

4 Rivers Floating Lodge, Cambodia

How I Spent 13 days In Cambodia In A Relaxed Fashion

Indulging In A Bit Of Luxury At The Pavilion Hotel, Phnom Penh

Lockdown Life: How Is Your Mental State?

Travel Amid The Covid-19 Crisis: My Experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Day-tripping on the Tatai River, Cambodia

  1. What fantastic trips those were. I envy you being able to enjoy them. When I visited Vietnam, about 20 years ago, nothing like this was available as it was still emerging from the war years and trying to establish itself. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every minute of it and anyway, I couldn’t have squeezed any more in. It was pretty full-on. Loved your description of your walking to the waterfall by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like you had a wonderful time in Vietnam!! What an experience it must have been back then. Have you been back since? I imagine the changes must be pretty apparent! Thank you so much for kind comments, we really did enjoy ourselves immensely, it was a very memorable experience.

      Like

    1. I am finding I am too – this was only the second one I have ever swum in! It may have been a bit quieter because the covid situation was just starting to take hold whilst we were there, or maybe we were just lucky.

      Liked by 1 person

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