Due to our current lockdown, our family trip for important holidays such as Pchum Ben turned inbound! This year, we roamed Northwest to Northeast of Cambodia, covering Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Rattanakiri and Mondulkiri. Although this itinerary felt personally familiar with me, revisiting these four charming provinces with family felt like a total package!
1- Preah Vihear
The province is named after its temple complex, known for its bordering disputes. The ruins sit on a steep hill overviewing inland Cambodia. Before getting there, we dropped by Koh Ker, marked with its own historic uniqueness and architectural style. On a professional level, the two last times I visited this latter temple complex were dedicated to producing our documentary called “Koh Ker the Lost Wonder” in 2014. Recently, Ahkara was lucky enough to have translated the book on the same complex. Between these two sites, we stopped by a new site called Poeung Preah Koh, thanks to its outstanding huge rock on land!
2- Stung Treng
We would rather consider this province our transit if it was not for Sopheakmith waterfall or Lbak Khaon. This natural site boasts its ceaseless water flow, especially in the rainy season. In contrast, the dry reason will reveal more rocks blocking this waterway. I still felt mixed on the way from Preah Vihear to Stung Treng. On one hand, I doubted the unusual silence for over 100 kilometers of a road paved with jungles on either side. On the other, we could spot some wild animals like monkeys or birds from time to time.
I didn’t expect us to stay in such a delicate place as Ratankiri Boutique Hotel. Yet, our swimming experience at night was all the fun we could make out of our stay there. Of course, the following day, we followed a familiar itinerary like Kachanh waterfall and Yak Loam lake. The lengthy rains of our late monsoon didn’t keep us, though, all sane from breakfast till we left this indigenous province.
There was where I found the lodging contrast of a guesthouse labelled as a (three-starred?) hotel! Anyway, all the landscapes we visited in this cool land memorized us all along. Once there, keep in mind: Dos Kramom hill, Bou Sra waterfall, Coffee Plantation Resort. This time, I got to see a second Sea Forest less eye-catchy, yet more organized, on Bai Chhao hill. Also, the zig-zag to a grassland hill, named Anlong Snae, felt fresh to me/us.
To wrap up this journey, despite its intensity, we all learned to love each other’s company better. Although this may be our first time to travel with a local agency for an indoor tour, we were pleased to support this threatened industry, once reliant on international tourists. Come what may, life goes on, with more heart-warming trips ahead!