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THE MONDULKIRI PROJECT

Deep in the Asian Jungles of Cambodia is Mondulkiri. It’s a small village and was a 10 hour journey on a bus from Siem Reap. You won’t find much here in this small village, but you will be close to the Cambodia/Vietnam border. The bus ride to get there is through some of the country's most rural areas, with beautiful scenery and multiple stops throughout the small villages along the way. Hopefully, you have the honor of seeing some locals with their snack baskets full of grasshoppers for sale. The person in front of me on the bus enjoyed eating the salty, crunchy insects like a bag full of chips.


In researching the country, I wanted to experience Asian elephants in their most native and natural habitats. Unfortunately, in countries like Thailand and Cambodia, many elephants seen by the public are kept and treated inhumanely. The tourism markets aren't usually safe for elephants, as many are damaged and hurt due to unsafe and unfit zoo enclosures or elephant rides.


The Mondulkiri Project, however, is a sanctuary for these beautiful and endangered creatures. This Cambodian NGO gives a select and small number of visitors each day the opportunity to venture down into the jungle with a guide and find one of the elephants. It is a locally run organization, giving jobs and opportunities to those who live in the surrounding villages. Money from tours goes to support the acres of land that give these elephants the space to explore cage-free and the food and money necessary to run the NGO.


We spent a few days at the Mondulkiri Project, where we stayed on-site in rustic accommodations and slipped around in the mud, trekking elephants for the day. We joined elephants in the river and fed them bananas while getting the amazing



opportunity to interact with them. The prices for tours are affordable, and you can choose between the different treks that they offer. You’re fed lunch, which is included with your price- and depending on what you choose, you also get to enjoy dinner out in nature at the lodge.


Only a certain number of visitors are allowed each day, so be sure to book in advance. I highly recommend you visit Mondulkiri and give yourself the sheer bliss of seeing elephants in nature. You can find more information at their website https://www.mondulkiriproject.org

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