Not just a jungle lodge

A couple of weeks ago we were blessed to visit the Shinta Mani Wild lodge, ​​a sustainable 5-star accommodation in Kampong Seila, boasting water sports facilities and an infinity pool. It occupies a pristine 865 acres river valley on the southern border of the Cardamom National Forest. It was a marvellous experience, one we will never forget.

More than a lodge in the middle of the jungle, it’s a delightful place at the heart of nature, with incredibly kind people, delicious food and a stunning environment. Most interesting about this place is the story that lays behind the whole project.

It was founded by Bill Bensley, a jack of all trades… Gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can. He describes this special place as such:

“Wild by name, Wild by nature… ”




In 2010, him and Sokoun Chanpreda (a local hero who has been in the hotel and restaurant business for more than fifteen years) purchased this concession in the park without a clear vision of what to do with it.

It was a “Buy first, think later” moment. For years they’ve visited the valley, trying to understand it and get a handle on what to do with it.

The idea of a small camp was not a new one as they had a very successful experience designing the Four Seasons Golden Triangle Elephant Camp of Chiang Rai, Thailand. And if they were going to do anything, it had to be breathtaking, and make industry waves, as that was the only way to attract travellers to this unknown area. Yet they’ve pulled through and manage to create somewhat of a small heaven on earth.

Even on a sustainability aspect, Shinta Mani Wild does not handle any single use of any plastics, including much of their back of house supply chain which is even more difficult to do. They even bottle their own water and use recycled containers.

We think it's a lovely place with a lovely philosophy. It gave us plenty of new inspiration to create more authentic travel moments for our beloved guests.