For more adventurous types, there is no greater pleasure than simply pitching a tent on a hill or in the jungle and staying the night, at one with the rugged surroundings of nature.
However, for the average person, comfort still comes first; but this doesn’t have to mean the end of outdoor pursuits.
Glamping Pods Cambodia is a start-up that builds small liveable spaces – known as pods – equipped with a toilet, cooking facilities and a living room. They are suitable for installing in rural hotels, eco-resorts and farms.
The idea to build and sell these pods that can be erected anywhere was the brainchild of one businessman aiming to create his own eco-resort while spending less on the transportation of materials.
Glamping Pods Cambodia founder Teng Rithy tells The Post: “I wanted to build small houses with comfortable living spaces. I have bought some plots of land and want to create an eco-resort. I thought about what type of houses I could build in order to spend less money in less time and make them easy to transport.”
Rithy began researching on the internet, collaborating with his engineering friends and travelling abroad to assess his options.
“We thought that we could replicate the model like pod camping in Scotland, but in fact Cambodian people had these structures a long time ago already. We can see them in the forest areas of Mondulkiri or Ratanakkiri provinces – they are home to indigenous people,” Rithy says. “So we have built our pods in the same way, but we focused on making them modern by including electricity, water and nice materials to make them comfortable.”
Rithy grew up in Phnom Penh but throughout his childhood dreamed of living in a small, eco-friendly home immersed in nature.
So when he bought several hectares of land in order to pursue his dream of building an eco-resort, he also took the opportunity to construct a model home like the one he dreamed of as a child and move it to his untouched land.
This trial home attracted a lot of attention on social media.
“When we built one house a few months ago, many people viewed our YouTube channel. They commented and placed an order as they saw our 3D video posted on social media,” says the 38-year-old, who holds an MBA from the National University of Singapore.
“A lot of people are interested in the small houses. They may be resort owners, business people and farm owners who want to install the houses on their land. We’ve had a lot of orders from Kampot, Sihanoukville, Mondulkiri and Ratanakkiri provinces,” he says.
There are four types of pods on offer. The first is named Rodul, which comes in sizes 2.5m x 3m or 2.5m x 6m. The second is named Kravan (3m x 3m or 3m x 6m). There are also the Modern and A1 pods, with the former more homely and the latter more hotel-like. Finally, there is a fourth pod in the works which will be set on wheels.
“People can use it as an office and a mobile house. They are equipped with a cooker, bathroom, bed and air-conditioning,” Rithy says.
Though the Rodul and Kravan are similar to their Scottish counterparts, the Modern and A1 are unique to Rithy.
“The Modern and A1 are our unique designs without copying from any other sources. No one has these styles because they are completely new. We pair them together as they are parallelograms. If we install one alone, it does not fit,” he says.
Rithy says the design, featuring large windows, allows for stunning views if they are installed in beautiful locations.
“The most interesting one for me is Rodul because of its arched roof. But the most people order is the A1 because it has the most space. We assure that our houses will last at least 20 years,” he says.
Rithy says that a 2.5m x 3m Rodul home without a bathroom costs $3,500, while one with a bathroom costs $4,500. The larger 2.5m x 6m model with a bathroom costs between $6,000 and $7,000. The 3m x 6m model equipped with a bathroom and sofa costs $7,500 and the biggest model, at 4m x 6m costs between $9,000 and $10,000.
Rithy also thinks of his workers, who he wants to keep in one place as opposed to them having to move around the country to look for work.
“The main aim is to work in one place, eat in one place and stay in one place. It is quite hard because normally if we build a home, we have to move to that construction site to work on it. We build our homes here and they are shipped elsewhere,” he says, adding that his project provides work opportunities for some 40 people.
Rithy is not satisfied yet and has ambitions to build a room in which each item has numerous functions. A bed could also be a sofa; a dinner table could also be a television stand; a bathroom can house both a shower and a hot tub.
Glamping Pods Cambodia is located on Street 598 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district. They can be contacted via Facebook (@Glampingpodcambodia) or via telephone (017 617 007).