Cycling Across the Cardamom Mountains
Over Water Festival, my good friend and I made our most ambitious cycling trip yet: 250km across the Cardamom Mountain Range. Covering 6% of Cambodia, the Cardamoms are home to most of the country’s large mammals and half of its birds, reptiles and amphibians, including globally endangered and threatened species like Asian Elephants, Indochinese tigers, Malayan sun bears, Pileated gibbons, Siamese crocodiles, and Irrawaddy and Humpback dolphins. The Cardamoms includes a vast ecosystem with sixteen vegetation types, from dense evergreen rainforest to lowland swamps to coastal mangroves.
Thanks in large part to the war and lingering UXO, the Cardamoms have fared relatively well while other swathes of pristine forest have been cleared out. Unfortunately, I fear the Cardamoms won’t be quite the same even a year or two from now. Upwards of a dozen hydroelectric projects, massive land concessions (30,000+ hectres), and other projects threaten to destroy one of Asia’s last eco-frontiers. Needless to say, I am glad I went but sad at the seeds of “development” that I witnessed.
Prior to selling my soul and enrolling in the college of business, I was a film major. I don’t have a speck of artistic flavor, but I love filming and editing. I may not have a proper write-up of this trip for a bit, so enjoy this video I spliced together instead of packing for Hanoi. Also, check out the GPS tracks and Google Earth info at Virgin Trails.