Phom Aurel is the tallest peak in Cambodia culminating at more than 1800 meters above sea level (5.722ft).
Departure in the morning at 5.30AM from Phnom Penh, Cambodia
I went to the trip with a group of friends and we planned the trip with Thong, owner of Vana Adventure Travel. He joined us directly at my friends’ house! It’s really modular and interesting because you don’t to take a taxi to go to the meeting point. Then, let’s go to Phnom Aural by minivan. We arrived around 10.30AM because we stopped during the minivan’s trip to have a breakfast!
Tips : eat well before.
So, when you arrive to the leaving point, you can directly enjoy nature and serenity. When you live in big cities like in Ho Chi Minh or Phnom Penh, it’s really interesting to know places like this one.
Just after leaving the minivan, we are plunged into the heart of an adventure that will take us about two days.
It is also possible to do this trek over three days as explained on the website.
At the beginning the trek is relatively simple: crossing streams, in the mud as well as in the middle of the bamboos. The experiment is funny to do but you just need to have good shoes because otherwise you risk finding yourself without soles!
The arrival at the first passage of the bamboos marks the start of the trek. Until then, the excursion could be considered a classic hike.
We then entered this forest of bamboos in which it is advisable to wear glasses (sun or sight) so as not to catch the plants in the eyes.
We took about two and a half hours to reach the first camp located about 300 meters above sea level! You then realize that you still have 1500 meters of elevation to reach the summit and you are already tired!
We arrived at the first camp and had lunch for about an hour.
After this break, we expected it to be challenging!
And we were not disappointed indeed.
On the website of the guide office, this passage is called "the peak challenge" to tell you...
It is better to be well trained before going there or to have a good physical condition.
During this part, we have step up 9 hills. The different passages are all very different but all very beautiful!
During the first part, you will have to climb (and no longer walk), a steep path using a rope. It is better not to do it if the weather is not favorable because the grounds are relatively slippery. Nature is really beautiful in the heart of the forest, you can see different types of trees and plants! Gorgeous.
This part of the trek is the most complicated but when you arrived to the second camp… you feel really good and proud of you to get out of your comfort zone.
The second camp is 1200 meters above see level and we arrived there at 4.30PM! yes it was quick but when you do that you feel exhausted. We set up our tents there and right after take a bath directly in the river! Cold but really appreciable.
It takes us around 1.30 hour to set up all our basement and to have a “shower”.
At 6 o’clock, we were already eating. You can bring your own food or asked to guide to bring it for you and your group. We decided to bring our own and had a great meal. As typical French people, we brought some paté, bread and all stuff like this! Even pasta because you can cool when you arrive at this camp.
It was around 9PM when we decided to go to sleep. Under our tents but you can also bring a hammock.
Night was necessary and restorative. Another tip: before sleeping, do some stretching so that you would not have aches the next day.
Up at 6.30 a.m.,
We had breakfast, personally just a coffee (which is not necessarily the best idea). We left camp number two without our backpacks this time! A real relief because we still had 600 meters of elevation to do.
I think it's one of the moments of the trek that marked me the most: the sunrise, the jungle waking up, the sun piercing it... it was truly magnificent.
On the way up, the guide asked us if we wanted to see the wreckage of an old plane that had crashed into the mountain sixty years ago.
Of course, we went there.
It was impressive.
After seeing this, we continued to climb to reach the top of the mountain culminating at 1813 meters!
Upon arrival, there is a Buddhist temple. The guide explained to us that people come there to pray for their prosperity, their luck or their health.
Following this moment of calm and rest at the top of the mountain, we went back down to the second camp where we had left the bags and the tents.
It took us at least 5 hours to make the round trip.
Around 12.30 PM, we took our lunch with the guides then we left for the adventure in the opposite direction at 13.30 PM.
The descent was just as exhausting as the climb but we were still very proud of ourselves!
After about 5 hours of descent, we arrived at the point of deposit of the beginning.
We then took the minivan back to Phnom Penh and arrived at around 10PM.
The trek is unforgettable!
Many thanks to Thong and the local guide for letting us have this experience!
For more information concerning the modalities etc of the trek, I enclose the link :