Rainbow Lodge

94

Squeaking geckos and singing crickets send you to sleep at this enduring, excellent-value eco-lodge with comfortable chalets set back from the Tatai River. With a resident guide, inviting bar-restaurant, free kayaks, riverside chill-out area and spa pavilion in a jungle setting, it’s a top pick.

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Location

On the road to Koh Kong town and the Thai border in southwest Cambodia, the Tatai River winds through the South Cardamom Mountains; the lodge will arrange the short longtail boat ride from Tatai Bridge. It’s an excellent base for jungle treks, Tatai Waterfall and Koh Kong Island. Koh Kong is 13 miles (20km) away, where you’ll find the local market, ATMs, supermarkets, pharmacies and restaurants.

Address: Tatai River, Koh Kong, Cambodia.

Style & character

The first view is the sleek white, open-sided jungle bar and restaurant, where birds, geckos and crickets, and a mellow playlist, provide the soundtrack. This is the heart of the place, where meals are served (communal if guests hit it off), and the overall vibe is sociable, easy-going and friendly, suiting the natural setting. Owners are environmentally conscious, using solar/hydro power, bio-digester and rainwater-collecting to name but a few initiatives, and involved in community development and social enterprise.

Rainbow Lodge via Booking.com

Service & facilities

Friendly staff and owners are on site to help you maximise your time in this eco-tourism hotspot, with multi-day treks, village walks, boat cruises, and mangrove trips. Prices are reasonable (Tatai waterfall boat trip $9.50 [£7.60], night walk $12.50 [£10], jungle hike $22.50 [£18] and mangrove swamps by kayak $30 [£24] – half-price for children). The hotel also offers free kayaks, a small library and complimentary water.

The secluded riverview spa pavilion is where you’ll find the talented Fern; book in advance (massages from $15 [£12] per hour). Resident naturalist Gee Chartier is another bonus; his night walks around the lodge are intriguing, and he leads specialist treks. There’s also a nature trail, sundecks and chill-out zones. There’s no pool, but the river’s right there.

  • Bar
  • Laundry
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Spa
  • Wi-Fi

Rooms

Lodges have a more rustic look and feel than the bar-restaurant. Standard double lodges are spacious and clean, with a lounge and super-comfortable mattresses on a raised wooden platform. There’s a cold-water shower, fan (no air-conditioning), closet area, safe, and a jungle-view terrace. Early mornings are sublime from the hammock.

Rainbow Lodge via Agoda

Food & drink

Food is excellent, and evenings very atmospheric. Dinner is at 7pm with complimentary appetisers for guests who congregate for pre-dinner drinks. Starters and desserts are served to the table, and the main course buffet includes meat, fish and vegetarian dishes such as pumpkin soup, Khmer curries, daal, and fish with ginger and garlic; it’s rare to see the same dish twice. Lunch is à la carte; Thai dish pad krapow and honey soy chicken flatbread are delicious.

Breakfast buffet includes homemade yogurt, jams and peanut butter, fresh bread, fruit, Khmer porridge and eggs to order. With meals included, it’s fantastic value and plentiful. Tke kitchen will do packed lunches for day trips, and home-made cakes appear around 4pm.

Access for guests with disabilities?

They’ve accommodated guests with mobility restrictions, but steps and walkways can be challenging and it’s not wheelchair-compatible.

Family-friendly?

Yes. There’s a two-room family lodge, with a second planned for 2017. Extra beds can be added to all lodges for $20 (£16) including meals, and children’s meals and early dinners are offered. River swimming, kayaking and waterfall trips are popular. Owing to the location, and to maintain the lodge’s tranquillity, children should be supervised.

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