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talesofasia guide to the provinces of Cambodia



updated February 2006

This rural rugged province is 70% ethnic minorities known as "chunchiet". Ratanakiri was as recently as 2000 seriously off the beaten track but has since been "discovered". Still, while you won't get any bragging rights for coming here, it's well worth the effort to do so, and once you get away from Banlung you won't run into too many other tourists. I've been here three times and it's one of my favorite Cambodia destinations.

Ratanakiri is located in Cambodia's far northeast bordered by Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, Mondulkiri to the south, and Stung Treng to the west.

I have an extensive section (click to read) on this website devoted to this most enigmatic province. Still, as it's predominantly in travelogue form, I will do a quick summary of the province's attractions below. Of the two major guidebooks, Lonely Planet does a better job than Rough Guide in covering the province.

See the Ratanakiri practical (click to read) page of my Ratanakiri section for information on places to stay, transportation to and around the province, eating, and more. But bear in mind, I haven't visites the province since February 2002 so the updated information is second-hand.

Yeak Laom Lake
Chum Rum Bei (gem mining)
Voen Sai
Virochey National Park
Ta Veng

The provincial capital and about the only place in the province with lodging, you will be basing your stay here. It's a dusty town with little to see except the town itself. Get up early for the daily market as most of the people are heading back to their villages by mid-morning. Just west of town is Phnom Svay with a pagoda and further up the hill is a large reclining Buddha and views stretching to Laos. Additional Banlung details on the Ratanakiri pages.

Yeak Laom Lake
The volcanic lake a few kilometers east of town. Suitable for swimming. Do see. Do swim. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri First Visit page.

There are three waterfalls within close proximity to Banlung, they are Chaa Ong, Ka Tieng (aka Chhang or Chhoung), and Kinchaan. Chaa Ong is the highest, Ka Tieng the easiest to reach. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri First Visit page.

Once the gem mining center, it's now just another small village. Nothing really to see or do here, continue east to the Vietnam border. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri First Visit page. For going to the border see the Ratanakiri Third Visit page.

Chum Rum Bei
The present gem mining center about 30 or so kilometers south of Banlung. Also see the Tuk Chrouu Bram-pul waterfall. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri Third Visit page.

The pre-war provincial capital, it's now all but abandoned. Visit the Srepok River. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri First Visit page.

Small village halfway between Banlung and Voen Sai. Many villagers who are rather accustomed to foreigners. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri First Visit, Second Visit, and Third Visit pages.

Interesting cemetary on the San River, near Voen Sai. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri Third Visit page.

Voen Sai
Town on the San River. Pagoda to the east, Chinese and Lao villages on the opposite banks. Cross with a moto and visit Rok, about seven kilometers further away. Described in detail on the Ratanakiri First Visit and Third Visit pages.

Virochey National Park
Large nature reserve near Voen Sai. Treks and overnight camping possible. Ask in Banlung. Limited information on the Ratanakiri First Visit page.

Ta Veng
Located about sixty kilometers from Banlung on the San River. Not much to see or do here but the ride up is interesting with a few villages and nice views along the way. Come here as an excuse to go for a ride in the country with a purpose (as if you need one). Described in detail on the Ratanakiri Second Visit and Third Visit pages.


This is just the main listing of places to visit in Ratanakiri. Off in the jungle are more waterfalls, more lakes, a lava bed, more villages, rubber plantations, and more. Most importantly, read my Ratanakiri section to get yourself started.

Provinces Guide



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