Some landscapes are so compelling and beautiful you want to be immersed in them, not simply gaze from a distance. The water of the Tatai River, which winds and meanders through the lush, isolated mountains and jungles of southwest Cambodia, is one such landscape. Adventurous travelers can satiate their desire to be immersed in this stunning environment in the most literal of ways – by sleeping atop the water at the 4 Rivers Eco Lodge.
The 4 Rivers lodge brings upscale accommodations to the unlikeliest of settings. The Koh Kong region of Cambodia has long been isolated by its geography and lack of infrastructure, making it virtually inaccessible to outsiders. Even if you had found your way there, you'd have had to deal with rampant lawlessness and unrest. However, with the recent introduction of roads, lodging and an emphasis on ecotourism, the Koh Kong region has officially arrived on the travel scene.
Four Rivers stretches outward in both directions along a bend in the river. Visitors sleep in one of 12 tents planted atop recycled wood floats. In the case of 4 Rivers, the term "tent" takes on a much different meaning than the hot, humid, mosquito-filled dome you may remember from family camping trips.
Each tent is a fully gentrified, wood-supported structure with double beds, furniture, flat-screen television, fan, hot shower and mini-bar. There's even Wi-Fi so you can stay in touch with the outside world – if you have any desire to do so in this secluded paradise. A deck on the river ensures that you don't get too detached from the greater environment and allows you to watch for exotic creatures like tigers and elephants.
If you can be dragged away from the serenity of your tent, 4 Rivers offers many activities that empower you to explore your surroundings. You can kayak the river just outside your door; explore the local mountains and jungles by foot, car or motorbike; fish for your dinner; and rejuvenate with a boat trip to Tatai Waterfall, "nature's spa." Another interesting offering is the "Time Travel" trip, which brings you to the nearby fishing village of Koh Sralao for a look at local culture.
Four Rivers is a bit of a jaunt from nearly everywhere, but how else can you truly escape to such a wild, pristine place? It's about a four-hour drive from Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh to the closest town of Tatai. From there, it's a 10-minute boat ride to the lodge. Current listings for rooms put single occupancy stays at just under US$119 per night and double occupancy at $135 per night.
If Cambodia seems a little too exotic and far off for your tastes, you should note that the development team behind 4 Rivers is considering a second floating lodge in the Caribbean.