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Insider Asia

Exploring Cambodia's flooded forest

Stung Treng in Cambodia is known for its forests that are submerged in water during monsoons

Published on Jun 8, 2014 11:36 AM

The current was swift, the water foaming over the occasional rocks that protruded or lay under its surface. The prow of the long tail boat crunched softly onto the sloping sandy beach and I stepped off on an island full of creeks and pools, a Harry Potter-like landscape of old trees with roots exposed and bent and folded in one direction, and of trees with bits of other trees suspended high in their branches, 10 to 15m above my head.

Two wild ducks flew up from a pond as I waded across a rivulet, the cool water swirling around my ankles, my toes sinking into the soft sand. There were no other footprints.

There were numerous sandbanks to choose from, to sit at and have our packed lunch, while unseen birds called from the green canopies of twisted trees, the wind down the valley sighing through their leaves.

Among the creeks and rivulets in the patches of dense brush, a bird took wing - a brief flash of white in the shadows. This is the home of the incredibly rare whiteshouldered ibis; I did not get to see one but, am told that with some effort, you can.

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