Frequently Asked Questions
1) Why visit the Mondulkiri Project?
- Our tours are located in some of the most beautiful jungle areas close to Sen Monorom;
- We are locally owned and operated, with every dollar you spend supporting local conservation and livelihoods;
- Mondulkiri Project is completely free of elephant exploitation with no elephant riding;
- You will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with our 3 elephants without harming them in any way;
- Learn about elephant habits and their close relationship with the Bunong hill tribe people;
- Help us protect our elephants from skin infections by washing them in the river
- We have a lovely waterfall for you to swim at
- We use Bunong guides who have grown up living in the jungle and are experts at everything you will see;
- Visiting the town of Sen Monorom in the Province of Mondulkiri is a rare opportunity to get off the beaten path, away from the crowds, and experience what is left of the Cambodian forest;
- We are 800 metres above sea level so the temperatures are a lot cooler than the rest of Cambodia and the air is fresh and clean.
2) How do I get to the Mondulkiri Project?
Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri is only a 5-6 hour minivan ride from Phnom Penh in Cambodia’s east. It is 10 hours from Siem Reap, and 3-4 hours from Kratie and Ratanakiri. If you don’t have much time or are in a hurry you can hire a private taxi from Sen Monorom to get back to Phnom Penh on the same day your tour ends at a cost of $85. It is also possible to do the two day tour in 1.5 days (trek first day, 1/2 day elephants second day) so that you can catch the minivan back to Phnom Penh at 1pm.
3) Do I need to book and how do I pay for my tour?
Yes you need to book because our tour size is limited to 18 people. You can book via our website using this link, preferably 1-2 weeks in advance. Sometimes our tours are fully booked so the earlier you book the better your chance of getting the tour date you want.
Payment can be made in US Dollars on the day of the tour or when you check in at the Tree Lodge Bungalows. You cannot pay by credit card. Sen Monorom has two atm machines on the main road that accept Visa and Mastercard.
4) Do I have to carry all my things on the tour?
No you don’t. We have a storeroom to keep any of your luggage that you don’t want to take on the tour with you. You will need a small daypack for your clothes and a water bottle.
5) What should I bring?
- Sturdy, enclosed footwear for hiking in the jungle. Sports sandals and trainers are okay for our one day tour.
- Swimming clothes and towel
- Sun protection – hat and sunscreen
- Insect repellant
- Raincoat or poncho
- Lots of energy, especially for the 18km jungle trek
6) What is the food like?
We have a team of local women who prepare authentic and delicious Khmer food daily. At lunch you might be served soups and stir fries and a plate of tropical fruit for dessert. Dinner is a traditional hill tribe soup cooked in Bamboo over the campfire. Breakfast is Pancakes.
We have vegetarian options at each meal. If you are vegan or have allergies please let us know by email.
You may want to bring additional snack foods for in between meals. Unlimited water is also provided free of charge.
7) Where does my money go?
Your trekking money goes towards renting the forest you will visit for the next thirty years. This prevents logging and habitat destruction in this area. No other treks you will book in Sen Monorom rent a forest from the Bunong hill tribe people.
So you will be helping to conserve a forest which is now providing economically and ecologically sustainable income for the local elephant owners and Bunong people. We pay monthly wages, pay medical bills and provide food for our Bunong guides and mahouts and their families.
Most of our money goes to buying elephants so they can live a long and happy life. We also rent elephants from some owners to keep these elephants in our sanctuary. The elephants you will see at the Mondulkiri Project are now protected and no longer used for elephant rides or heavy farm work.
8) Why is elephant riding not allowed at the Mondulkiri Project?
There are an estimated 75 captive elephants in Cambodia of which an estimated 47 live in Mondulkiri Province. In the past these elephants have been used for hard physical work such as carrying heavy timber or farm supplies. They have also been used for elephant rides. Elephant used for rides do not get enough time to eat and drink water or spend time in the shade to keep their bodies cool. Elephants used for tourist rides at Angkor Wat often die from exhaustion. Elephant rides can also cause long-term damage to the spine of an elephant as they are not strong enough to be carrying a bench seat with several people sitting on theme.
The Mondulkiri Project is committed to responsible tourism and our goal is to protect and provide genuine care for our elephants. Our elephants health is regularly checked by Cambodia’s top government vet who is based in Phnom Penh.
All the elephants at our sanctuary have been retired from any form of work so they will enjoy a long and happy future of eating, drinking, scratching, swimming and playing in the mud.