Home #WHERETONEXT Asia & Pacific Visit the Cambodian Jungle with the Bensley Collection

Visit the Cambodian Jungle with the Bensley Collection

Adventure awaits at Shinta Mani Wild Bensley Collection where guests can enjoy a host of wild bespoke Bensley experiences that exemplify the camp’s spirit of fun and adventure, promising authentic interactions with the incredible national parkland setting – all with a twist of Shinta Mani style. From the exhilarating moment of arrival – criss-crossing the forest and rapids via a 400m zip line – there is no such thing as a typical day at Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild, a radical concept for an all-inclusive luxury tented camp nestled deep in Cambodia’s South Cardamom National Park.

Guests that share Shinta Mani Wild’s passion for protecting its precious natural environment might find themselves joining Wildlife Alliance rangers motorcycling through the forest on anti-poaching patrols and tracking previously unrecorded wildlife activity. Funded through the Shinta Mai Foundation, the camp’s ranger station enables the non-profit Wildlife Alliance to carry out vital conservation work in the area, including protecting animals from poaching, removing snares and preventing illegal logging.

Guests can traverse the secret estuary backwaters on luxurious six-meter pontoon-style boats designed by Bill Bensley – so naturally they each have a fully-equipped bar and a top deck with daybed and sun loungers, dropping anchor wherever they please; whether to explore the mangroves by kayak or enjoy a truly wild BBQ of freshly caught crab prepared by their on-board Bensley Adventure Butler.

Discovering – and tasting – Cambodia’s natural larder in the company of Khmer Executive Chef Tim Pheak is next on the agenda.  When Shinta Mani Wild first opened a botanist discovered an entirely new species of the exotic flower growing at the camp, alongside fragrant wild vanilla. Guests can join Chef Tim on his daily foraging in the forest and learn among other things, their krasang from their mangosteen and their angkeadei from their Moringa.     

Post-forest immersion, Chef Tim will teach guests how to transform the indigenous Cambodian herbs and plants into flavor-packed dishes to enjoy at Headquarters. One of the favorite foraged items of the Shinta Mani Wild team is a jungle fruit named kuy, which tastes like the lovechild of an orange, mango and passion fruit.

All of this adventuring calls for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Step forward the Khmer Tonics Spa, whose chemical-free treatments feature reviving Khmer tonics made from medicinal plants foraged from the rainforest and bottled onsite. Living up to its name, the spa’s two treatment rooms are set amid dramatic natural boulders, but the river takes centre stage, too: guests can enjoy a river-stone foot massage while soaking in a waterfall pool. Alternatively, guests may choose to unwind amongst nature by trying a Cambodian take on tenkara: a meditative form of Japanese catch and release fly fishing.

‘On the rocks’ takes on a whole new meaning via the camp’s picnics, all thoughtfully prepared by highly skilled Bensley Butlers, which can be enjoyed beside the camp’s cascading waterfall, atop a mountain, or wherever guests please. The pièce de résistance is the camp’s WW2 Land Rover which has been given the Bensley treatment to transform it into a mobile cocktail bar.

Shinta Mani Foundation spearheads the camp’s conservation and community outreach programmes, including providing long-term employment opportunities to the local inhabitants where there is minimal infrastructure and fewer work prospects. Shinta Mani Wild Bensley Collection, in conjunction with the Foundation, nurtures its natural environment through partnerships with respected conservation organizations including Wildlife Alliance and the Cambodian Government.  This extreme exercise in ingenuity enables guests to explore this pristine wilderness, while making the lowest possible impact on the land, offering a luxury adventure with intimate access to one of Asia’s most stunning forest ecosystems.