A picturesque farm stay in Koh Kong province’s Thma Bang district has become an attractive destination for many of the Kingdom’s nature-lovers, both local and expat.
Despite several unusual restrictions, Wild Farm – in Chi Phat commune – has featured in many social media posts, as visitors revel in the pristine green surroundings.
The lush grass that grows around the main house is carefully maintained by caretakers – and a few grazing sheep. The property is dotted with traditional wooden houses and large airy tents, each one sure to become the favourite of at least one of the guests.
The farm also features a river running though it, with a bamboo raft for guests to relax on after a swim. The grounds are studded with tall trees, meaning a cool shaded spot to sit and chat on is never far away.
Although it has only been welcoming guests for about a year, it is rapidly gaining a following. The scenery is one of the driving forces behind its popularity, but this is compounded by the environmental practices of the owner.
Kheng Maly, the owner of Wild Farm, said she has always loved to hike and climb mountains and dreamed of creating a simple resort which was closely tied to nature.
Next to the farm gate, a notice announces a ban on loud music and says alcohol will not be served to guests, an instant point of difference from the majority of resorts.
“Because this is a remote mountainous area, a multitude of birds live close to the farm. I want to make sure that guests can enjoy the gentle burble of the river and the unique birdsong,” explained Maly.
Because she wants to make sure the area remains beautiful for a long time to come, she also avoids the use of many kinds of plastics.
Due to her strict conditions, many people speculated that she may drive guests away. On the contrary, her resort is often fully booked, with 30 to 50 guests staying each month.
Not only does she contribute to the preservation of the environment, she employs almost ten local people as staff, while also utilising their agricultural products.
“We have four permanent staff and several part-timers. The carpenters and other tradesmen that I employ are all local people. I want to make sure the local community benefits from my farm stay as well, so I purchase vegetables, fruit, cakes, and other food from local sources,” she said.
In accordance with her environmental principles, all food is served in bamboo baskets and environmental packaging is used wherever possible. Water is provided in ceramic bottles, rather than plastic. In this way, the business is able to minimise its environmental footprint.
Because she has received so much support – especially from young people – Maly has plans to expand the accommodation options that are available to her guests.
“The expansion will also create more jobs for members of the local community,” she said.
Over time, she hopes that green farm stays like hers will change the behaviour of many tourists, who often disturb relaxed natural settings by making a lot of noise and disposing of garbage in an irresponsible manner.