Kabal Chai Waterfall, Sihanoukville, Cambodia
I sometimes feel like we're talking a bit too much about our activities and not so much about our experience, if you know what I mean. We aim to change that a bit, but for now, an experience we had yesterday deserves a little publication.
Don is a friendly Irish ex-pat that runs Coaster's Bungalows where we're staying in Sihanoukville. Yesterday, Don saw me on our balcony and said, in his Irish accent "Hey! Are you leaving today? We're going out to the waterfall, if you wanna go, meet us at the bar in 30." Waterfall? We had not heard about the waterfall! Upon looking at the guidebooks (Footprint and Rough Guide), no waterfall is mentioned.
As it turned out, we got to follow along on a waterfall trip with Don and his family (wife Carrie and daughter Anna). After driving for about 30 minutes (including a "shortcut" through barely passable roads") we went down a long dirt road that ended at some shacks and a washed out bridge. After being ferried over the river we came upon a waterfall, or actually a set of waterfalls that were certainly among the best I've ever seen. Given a little more care and infrastructure, the falls have the potential to become a national landmark- they are that impressive.
Situated at the convergence of two rivers, the water falls fall into a basin that appears to have dropped about 10 meters all at once, creating a valley where you are surrounded by waterfalls from two rivers. Stunning.
The highlight is a set of falls that flow off an outcropping, enabling people to climb behind it in short ledges. What a weird feeling. It's a bit like the first time you snorkle and your body has to learn that it can, indeed, breathe underwater. With water flowing over your eyes and mouth and crashing over your head, threatening to grab you and slam you on the rocks below, the experience is a more than a bit breathtaking.
Water rushing by overhead...
Don, our guide for the day...
If you want to visit the Kabal Chai falls, ask about it at the guesthouses in Sihanoukville. It is best in the rainy season for obvious reasons and the rivers dwindle to a trickle in the dry season.