02/12/2015

Expedition planning 2016: Cambodia (Stung Treng)

img_6903.jpgThe target is a limestone area about 15-20 km north of the provincial capital Stung Treng in NE Cambodia, not far from the Laos border.  It is situated immediately near the Mekong river. The limestone hills discontinuously stretch W-E  for about 15-20 km length at the western side of the river, with scattered smaller isolated hills in the west and larger hills closer to the Mekong. The hills  can easily be spotted at Google Maps. Minor outcrops of limestone can also be found east of the Mekong. Neil visited the smaller (western) limestone hills already and confirmed a number of caves there. The larger limestone mountains could not be reached yet.

 

There is national road no.9 coming from the town of Tbeng Meanchey (or Chhep) in the NW passing the target area in its south and leading to Stung Treng (crossing the Mekong). There are only few small settlements along this road. This road thus also can be accessed from Stung Treng in the SE.

 
The target area itself has no roads. It is covered with shrub and forest. Consequently, it will be necessary to hike with backpacks and to be prepared for prolonged camping. There may be smaller rivers to cross. No electricity in the field. The smaller hills in the west may be accessible during daytrips, but the larger hills further east near the Mekong won’t. The alternative access from the Mekong itself (by boat) will most likely end in swamp bashing with all supplies to be carried with us right at the start of the expedition which is probably a less favourable option. But I am open to suggestions.

 
tshstr.jpgThe idea is to hire at least one vehicle (with local driver) for the whole expedition on duty for the team, with one or two expedition members forming a “support team” staying with the car(s) and responsible for buying supplies when necessary and getting that to the exploration team(s) in the field. The support team would be exchanged so that everybody will experience the pleasures of working in the jungle. Depending on the situation we may need to form two or more field teams.


Location_Cambodia_ASEAN.svg.pngHaving a vehicle for the whole time would also enable the expedition to change to other unexplored karst areas in northern Cambodia in case there would not be enough work in the Stung Treng limestone. This would require some driving. I will have info at hand just in case. Having a car is also better for emergencies.

 

Meeting point will be Phnom Penh (exact meeting place to be determined). The expedition members should gather on the week-end 20th/21st February 2016 or shortly after, because 1-2 days will certainly be needed in the city for permit issues. From Phnom Penh we will go with 1-2 vehicles to the expedition area.

 

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