Feel Good Friday: Song Saa Foundation

feel good friday song saa foundation rory hunter  co founder of resort amp
Nine years ago, Aussie couple Rory and Melita Hunter embarked on a trip that would change their lives. A two week exploration of the remote Koh Rong Archipelago in southwest Cambodia led them to the twin islands known as Song Saa – Khmer, translation for the Sweethearts. The pair fell head over heels for the rugged, paradisic beauty of the land but were shocked at the consequences of human activity on the environment. Fortunately, they were moved enough to take some action and a little while later, the Song Saa private island resort and the Song Saa Foundation were born.

Song Saa was Cambodia’s first ever private island resort. As well as a beautiful luxury resort, the couple established the island’s first marine protected area and introduced natives to a brand new waste management system. We caught up with adventurer, philanthropist and resort co-founder Rory Hunter to find out a whole lot more.

We love your work Rory! Tell us a bit more about the beginning…

My wife Melita and I spent some time experiencing the Cambodian islands on a fishing boat. It began as a time of adventure; we were never expecting it to take us down an entirely new path in life. Along the way we both fell in love with the remarkable tropical environment.  The pristine beaches, the rainforests and the vibrant communities were bewitching. The people we met truly inspired us.

So when the opportunity arose, quite suddenly, to create something spectacular in this part of the world, we jumped. We didn’t go travelling with an intention to come out the other end with an award-winning five-star resort and a foundation working so closely with the local community. But ultimately this has where our journey has brought us and we’re so grateful.

What has been the single most rewarding moment for you so far?

The single most rewarding moment has been weaving conservation and community development into a highly sustainable commercial model, in particular establishing Cambodia’s first ever marine reserve.

I love the bespoke and luxury aspects you offer within the Song Saa experience. What kind of people have you had visiting so far?

The Song Saa experience appeals on many different levels. We have bespoke Wellness Retreats which attract discerning guests who’ve experienced some of the best spas in the world. The philanthropic experience, Journeys of Change, attracts those who want to experience ultimate luxury but also want to take part in the work of the Song Saa Foundation at a grass-roots level, to make a real contribution. This in particular is very special to us because the profits go directly to the Song Saa Foundation.

What do you want visitors to get out of the experience?

We want our guests to fall in love with this place the way we did. There is a harmony in the way the elements of nature combine to make Song Saa so unique. It has been built with sustainable materials with the deepest respect for the environment, which is what underpins our entire business – luxury that treads lightly.  We want our guests to lose themselves in the absolute luxury and intimacy of the experience.

What is your dream for the future?

We’re dedicated to continuing to build Song Saa as a brand that is recognized as an international leader in sustainable luxury. Along the way an absolutely key focus will be to ensure that we continue to work hand-in-hand with the local communities whose lives our business has the power to transform in a positive way.

Food & Drink

Kona Brewing Celebrates 25 Years of Local Brewing in Hawaii

It's time to say "Mahalo" for 25 years of craft beer goodness at Kona Brewing.

10 Best History Books You Will Ever Read

We're featuring a three-part history of WWII as one book because an article about 10 books sounds much more neat and tidy. But you know what wasn't all that neat and tidy? Human history.
Fashion & Style

Anson Calder Founder Turned a Bad Diagnosis into a Better Wallet and Bag Design

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is estimated to affect nearly 1 million individuals worldwide.
Fashion & Style

The New Sperry BIONIC Collection Is Partly Made from Recycled Plastic Trash

Sperry’s hope with this new collection is to motivate its worldwide following to help reduce the 8 million tons of plastic that enters the world's oceans each year.

13 Best NERF Blasters for Adults

You may or may not be using NERF to fight imaginary ninjas anymore, but you can still arm yourself with one of the best blasters primed for adulting.

LEGO for Adults: 13 Best LEGO Sets for a Grown-Up Good Time

Maybe we can’t fix the engine of a car or hand-craft a boat from scratch, but we can build these highly rewarding and intricate LEGO sets.

Why We Have the (Objectively Terrible) Daylight Saving Time

Love it or hate it, you can't escape Daylight Saving Time — and it all started because a guy wanted to collect more bugs.

12 Best Running Trails in America, According to People Who Run for a Living

From miles of mystic forest to a gnarly peak-to-peak ridgeline, these are the best routes to run around the United States.

How to Mod a NERF Gun: The Grown Man’s Guide to the Hammershot Modification (With Pictures)

With a screwdriver and spring, a simple NERF gun can become a high-power blaster.

23 Famous Badass Women in History

From an 86-year-old who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to a 15-century ninja to Oprah (of course), here are 23 women who inspire us to be more badass.

The Best Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

These docs are entertaining, but also edifying. For your convenience, we’ve broken them up into categories.

Why You Should Definitely Max Out Your 401(k) Contribution Now

If you’re like most millennials, you associate a 401(k) with retirement and don’t put much thought into maintaining it. That's a big mistake. Here's why.

6 Best Productivity Apps for a More Fruitful 2019

Whether you're trying to achieve a better sleep schedule or curb your procrastination, the best productivity apps will help you manage your to-do lists.

Over My Dead Body’s Matthew Shaer on Making a Great True Crime Podcast

Ever wanted to know what it takes to create a successful true crime podcast? Tune in as we interview Over My Dead Body creator and host Matthew Shaer.