Shinta Mani Wild: at the glamorous rainforest retreat, guests patrol the forest after arriving by zip line

Accompanying gun-toting anti-poaching patrols a highlight at this Bill Bensley-designed eco-lodge. The architect bought the 350-hectare plot to offer an unrivalled guest experience while protecting the environment.

Jungle resort, eh? Well, secondary jungle. The primary rainforest in this part of southern Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains was logged out in the free-for-all of the 1990s and 2000s. Shinta Mani Wild lies within Kirirom National Park, on the eastern edge of Southern Cardamom National Park, designated in 2016 to conserve Southeast Asia’s largest unfragmented rainforest. This biodiversity gem contains more than 2,000 species of plants and at least 50 globally threatened species of vertebrates, including elephants, clouded leopards and black bears.

When a 350-hectare river valley plot came up for auction, Bangkok-based American architect Bill Bensley bought it and created a resort with a twin purpose: safeguarding the environment in an area still highly threatened by loggers and poachers while offering guests a stand-out experience.

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