4 Rivers Floating Lodge

Tatai, Kep & Coast, Cambodia Book from US$220

Reviewed by Catharine Nicol
No roads, no neighbours, just nature at this simple yet stylish 12-tented lodge that floats on the crook of southwest Cambodia’s Tatai River
Cambodia’s southern coast is an area in development, with plenty of wild rainforest, waterfalls and beaches to be discovered by adventurous travellers. Below the Cardomom Mountains, and about 40 minutes by road from border town Koh Kong, 'glamping' at this floating lodge is an exercise in total seclusion and peace. The only way in is by boat: 20 minutes of bird spotting until you round a bend and suddenly the white tents of 4 Rivers Floating Lodge come into view, contrasting with the greenery on either side of the glassy-calm water. You alight onto the central terrace, between the 2 flanks of 6 tents and in front of the central restaurant, and probably won't set foot on solid ground again for the rest of your stay.

Basking in the sun, the whole 800 sq.m resort can be seen from this central spot, making it an intimate place. Two salas provide alfresco shade, and there’s a living room-cum-library, but expect to spend most of your time relaxing a deux in your tent or on your sundeck. Ideal for couples, each has double or twin beds, and a bathroom with a wooden Hinoki tub. But bathing is best done by stepping down the ladder from your deck, straight into the Tatai River - the largest freshwater pool in the world.

Highs

  • There’s little noise apart from the sounds of fish coming up for air, birds wheeling overhead and the breeze in the trees
  • Exploring is done by kayak; head up or down river in your eco-friendly steed, quietly floating and observing, or get some exercise by paddling against the current
  • Quietly stylish and surprisingly luxurious tents with rattan furniture, flat-screen TVs and DVD players
  • Friendly, very attentive staff
  • The nearby waterfall’s jets and pools are the resort’s spa playground. Return at dusk to witness clouds of fireflies

Lows

  • In some areas of the resort you hear the generator
  • During October the river water gets brackish and cloudy; it’s not unclean, although it may appear that way, and it's still safe to swim
  • There's no phone coverage or WiFi - a high for some
  • At certain times of year you'll need insect repellent
  • Some feel the food, drinks and excursions are a bit overpriced, but all provisions have to be boated in

Best time to go

Staff say November to February is the absolute best time to visit. Cambodia’s wet season runs from May to October, but days usually have a few hours of rain, rather than drizzle all day. October to April is the dry season, starting cool and comfortable, rising to hairdryer temperatures, but the river will keep you cool.

Our top tips

This resort is best for couples who are self-sufficiently happy to be in seclusion, away from outside civilisation, and communing with everything nature has to offer.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Eco
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Floating Eco Lodge
  • 12
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tours
  • Kayaks
Room:

Rooms

Don’t be surprised if the tents remind you of luxury camping on safari, as the inspiration originally came from Africa. Inside your spacious, circular bedroom - double or twin - is an elegant rattan bed, wardrobe, chaise longue, chairs and coffee table, all sitting on a long-haired rug, with splashes of welcoming red in the cushions and curtain piping. There’s a flat-screen TV and DVD for lazy days or long evenings. Overhead a ceiling fan keeps you cool the eco-friendly way.

The sides of the tent can be rolled up and curtains drawn for a panoramic view through the insect-repelling mesh, or kept zipped up for privacy. Note that while the beds don't have mosquito nets over them, the mesh built into the tent keeps mosquitoes out, so be be careful to zip up your tent when you leave.

Attached is the bathroom, where the round wooden tub with overhead rainshower serves as a bath or a shower cubicle.

Outside, the private decking has 2 lounge beds for soaking up the sun. Once you’ve baked toasty hot it feels rather adventurous to step down your ladder into the river for the first time. A cool 27 degrees and clear as clear most of the year, you’ll be sharing it with fish, as well as the birds and bees.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • Tv

Eating

The restaurant, central to the lodge, is nicely designed, with simple tables and chairs dressed in red linens. Fans whir overhead, and the friendly staff can advise on food. Most of the dishes are international or a twist on Cambodian favourites, with snacks available all day. Breakfast is Continental and American, or Asian upon request.

Set lunches and dinners change daily, depending on the fresh supplies from Koh Kong. Think green mango salad and fresh shrimp, eggplant piccata with tomato sauce pasta, or crepe green bean soup with coconut milk for lunch, and more substantial dishes like banana flower salad with chicken followed by chicken/beef/fish curry with rice for dinner. Alternatively you can go fishing by day, and catch a snapper to bring back for restaurant staff to cook up. There’s a small drinks list, and the coffee is excellent.

You’re not going to be able to reach another restaurant while you’re here, or at least not easily, so this is the only option - but with such good food, it's hardly a problem!

Features include:

  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • The River
    Kayaking is the main sport here - it’s your transport, exercise and exploring partner for getting up close and personal with the river banks and mangroves. Most popular is the Koh Sralao route, leading you through nearby mangroves. There’s also a sunset cruise on the lodge's flashy boat, or you can go fishing with the locals
  • The Tatai Waterfall
    Calm in the dry season (Oct-April), a powerful jet at other times of year, you can sunbathe and relax in its cool pools, or get a hydromassage!
  • The Cardomom Mountains
    Guided tours go into the thick of the mountains where villagers share their customs
  • Nature Spotting
    Rare species like the Javan Rhinoceros, cloud leopards, tigers and Asian elephants live in the Cardomom Mountains. Around the lodge you’re more likely to spot gibbons, deer and wild pigs, and the resident birdlife is estimated at a staggering 553 plus. Throughout the day storks, black eagles, dragonflies, butterflies and other beautiful insects will keep you entranced

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Private guided tours
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Wildlife

Kids

Families are welcome, though this is primarily a couples' resort and practically speaking children would need to be fairly old or you’d have to keep an eye on them at every moment as the river is just a tumble away. Parents have to provide their own baby food. Accommodation, excursions and meals for children are offered at a 30% discount

Family friendly accommodation:

Each tent has a sofa, which can accommodate a child aged 4-14. Infants under the age of 4 may sleep in their parents' bed or in a baby cot at no extra charge.

Kids Activities on site:

There are no special provisions for kids, so they’d have to be happy with the kayaking and relaxing.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
9/
Value
10/
Overall

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