Bordering Vietnamís central Highlands
and Laos are the remote provinces of Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri,
both with thickly forested hilly terrain, hilltribe people, and
abundant wildlife. Commercial enterprises in the region include
logging gem mining and rubber plantations. A fertile basalt plateau
with red dusty soil lies between the Sesan and Srepok rivers.
The provincial capital of Sen Monorom is the best reached from
Vietnam ; Ratanakiri is accessible by air from Phnom Penh. Over
80% of Ratanakiriís population of 72,000 is classified as hilltribe,
mainly Jarai, Krunh, Brou, and Tampuan. The 12 ethnic minority
group are collectively called Khmer Loeu (highlanders), a name
coined by Sihanouk in the 1940s. Some of the groups are found
across the border of Vietnamís Central highlands or in Southern
Laos. Many also still wear traditional costume - Krung women in
sarongs and bare-breasted, Brou women with tattooed faces and
ivory tusk earrings in their elongated earlobes.
60,000 hilltribes people now remain and their numbers are further
threatened by a high mortality rate from malaria, diarrhea and
childbirth complications. Their lives and livelihoods are now
also threatened by the encroachment of logging into their territory.
So, although it would appear that these hilltribe communities
have little contact with the outside world, it is likely that
they wished the outside world was a lot further away.
history of Ratanakiri is not a happy one. During the Vietnam War
the province of Ratanakiri was devastated by American carpet booming
because it formed part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which continued
to run relatively undisturbed by the wanton destruction. However,
the bombing not only killed and injured many tribes-people, it
also drove away the animals they hunted and destroyed their farmlands.
The Khmer Rouge used Ratanakiri as their main base of operations
in the early 1970s; when they came to power in 1975, the Khmer
Rouge wiped out at least half the tribal population. Most highlanders
in Ratanakiri are animist and practice slash-burn agriculture.
They farm rice and grow vegetable, and raise water buffalo and
cows. They also hunt, using crossbows with poison-tipped bamboo
arrows. Sacrifice to the numerous animal spirits of the forest
is common, and regularly performed for any special events such
as marriage, the construction of a new thatch-roofed hut, or a
move to a new village location. At these events a feast is held,
a pig sacrificed and large quantities of rice wine consumed. At
these gatherings the spirits believed to take a possession of
certain individuals, who in a trance lose their own personality
and take on that of the spirit, acting out a particular animist
trait. Pries tesses regarded as the spiritual healers contact
ancestral spirits and relay dreams.
enjoy as much freedom as men. They are free to divorce a husband
who is cruel, and decisions on childbirth are the exclusive domain
of women. If an unmarriageable women finds herself pregnant, she
is not disgraced the man responsible, if not willing to marry,
must reimburse the womanís family. The going rate is four buffaloes,
some pigs, a few chickens and rice wine.
hilltribers don Khmer dress, others retain traditional wear. Krung
tribeswomen wear sarongs, go bare breasted, and smoke-stemmed
pipes. Brou tribeswomen have large pierced earlobes and wearing
earrings sculpted from chunky ivory tusks. Their faces are tattooed
and they wear bead necklaces and brass anklets.
population 10,000, is the principal town in Ratanakiri province,
and lies 155 km east of Stung Treng. There may be direct flights
into Bang Lung. The hotel in Bang Lung charges $5 a room; the
town has a post office and bank. You can get to Bang Lung in five
or seven hours, but the road may be washed out in the May - November
monsoon season. In parts of Ratanakiri, the only vehicles that
move during the rainy season are oxcarts and elephants.
Loam Lake is situated 5 km. south - east of Banlung. The
Yeak Loam lake (volcanic crater) is the most beautiful
lake of Ratanakiri formed by a volcanic eruption almost
4,000 years ago with 50 m. deep, 800 m. diameter and a
walking path around the lake of 2,500 m. Two hundred meters
of the track is a quaint wooden building housing tribal
handicraft, the Crafts Museum.
Patamak Mountain: At
the top of Phnom Svay is the statue of a reclining Buddha,
situated 2.5 km. Awesome and peaceful, it has lain undisturbed
throughout the years. Cast your eye outwards to glimpse
Laos in the north and Vietnam in the east, and enjoy the
spellbinding serenity of the surrounding countryside.
Waterfall:Kachang Waterfall is situated 6km.
north - west of Banlung. This Waterfall is located in
the Kontung stream and flows into the Sre Pok River. The
height of it is 12 m. and the water flows and falls throughout
the year. A beautiful or magnificent landscape and huge
amounts of fresh mist surround the waterfall. The visitors
can take a bath and sit to look at the waterfall and other
natural scenic beauties. or the visitors can also go around
to view other natural sights on foot or take an elephants
Waterfall is situated 7 km. north - west of Banlung. It
is also located in the Koutung Stream, below the Kachang
Waterfall, 3 km. The height of it is 10m. and the water
flows and falls throughout the year. The visitors can
see a beautiful natural landscape and take a break to
take pictures of the birds and then continue to the waterfall.
Lair Waterfall is situated 26 km, South of Banlung. This
Waterfall has 4 floors and the height of each floor is
4 m. The water flows throughout the year. Around the Waterfall
are beautiful natural landscapes and the visitors can
go take a bath if they wish.
Waterfall is situated 9 km. south of Banlung. The height
of it is 18m. and the water flows and falls all the time.
The visitors can go there rest and enjoy the fresh air,
or to se the forest and listen to the birds ' cries.
Ung Waterfall :
Ung Waterfall is situated 8 km. west of Banlung and
it flows throughout the year. The source of water creating
this Waterfall flowed from Eisey Patamak Mountain (
Svay Mountain ) . Below this Waterfall is a big hole,
visitors can stand or sit to watch the waterfall from
behind, and inhale he cool fresh air stemming from it
Rum Plang ( stone field):
rum Plan (stone field ) is situated 14 km. North of Banlung.
Stones cover the surface of this place and a dense around
it. The visitors can go there and discover its beautiful
National Park :
National Park is situated 45 km. north of Banlung. With
a total land area of 332,500 ha. It has varieties of plants
and trees in the forest and many different kinds of animals
Wildlife Sanctuary is situated 37km. south of Banlung.
With a total land area of 250,000 ha. there are special
kinds of animals and birds like tigers, elephants, red-headed
is located in the Sre Pok river It is situated 34km. south
- west of Banlung. The tourist recreation in Ou'Chaloy
is only during the dry season.
Kabat Forest is situated 23 km. north of Banlung. This
place has a pond. the visitors can go there to see the
animals and birds which comes to at the pond .Beside this
the tourists can go visit the ethnic villages, ethnic
culture (tradition belief, festival, dancing, music),
By air : from Pochentong Airport to Ratanakiri
Airport has 11 Flights a week. The trip takes
approximately one hour.
By land : ( 636 km) from Phnom Penh - Kampong
Cham - Kracheh (Overnight ), continue to Rattanakkiri by car.
From Phnom Penh to Steung Treng by boat in raining season (Overnight)
, continue to Ratanakiri by plane or car.
The popular kinds of transportation in banlung
( Ratanakiri ) are car, motorbike, elephants riding, boat or trekking.
taxi (motodup), rental motorcycle and bicycle are the primary
ways of getting around town and the immediate area. Motodups run
500 - 1500 riel almost anywhere in town and $7-$10 for the whole
day (limited to the area around Banlung.) Good English speakers
that also act as guides may charge more. A motodup from the airport
to town is about 1000 riel.
For motorcycle or bicycle rental, it is easiest to ask at your
guesthouse or hotel. 100cc motorcycles are $5/day. There are very
few 250cc bikes to rent in town but your hotel can probably find
one for you. Bicycle rental is $1/day. There is also a bicycle
rental shop near the monument in the center of town. Rental prices
of trucks and 4WDs begin around $30-$40/day.
The main market, Phsar Banlung, is a relatively unextraordinary
traditional market offering the usual range of items for local
consumption. There is one souvenir shop in front of the market,
and food stalls set up in front of the market in the evening.
. For most travelers' needs (soft drinks, water, beer, liquor,
toiletries, snacks, souvenirs, etc.), the small drink shops next
to the monument in the center of town carry most everything.