SituationIt takes one hour by plane (airport currently closed) or 8 hours by vehicle to visit the Ratanakiri province different from others. Sparsely populated and isolated, with very beautiful landscapes, forests, small ponds and waterfalls, and a life in slow motion. The roads are in red earth and we can not move about by car "pick up" all terrain.
Different ethnic groups live there in small villages scattered in the hills and go to the only large town of the region Banlung to sell their meager crops of vegetables or wild fruits and their hunting products. Ratanakiri is located in the North East of Cambodia, bordered by Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, south of Mondulkiri, Stung Treng and west. This province is a robust rural ethnic minority of 70%, which are known as "Chunchiet".
Ratanakiri was also up in 2002 off-the-beaten-track, but since its discovery tourists are most numerous. So Ratanakiri is still a remote province in northern Cambodia interesting to visit. The word "Ratanakiri" itself is a derivative of two Cambodian words, which are combined to mean "place of gems and mountains." The word comes from the Sanskrit word Ratna (GEM) and Girié (mountain).
Banlung capitalThe rather dusty capital, Banlung, is located in the central highlands province about 365 miles (586 km) Phnom Penh reminiscent of a wild western town, even if it is east. Its wide red laterite roads are bordered by a new road, and replace the old houses. Lomphat is a small town in the southern plains, which was once the ancient capital of Ratanakiri.
There are some other small towns like Ta Veng and Voen Sai. The province is increasingly popular for thousands of tourists every year. Especially for those seeking close contact originality, hidden roots of ethnic groups and abundant wildlife. Therefore, ecotourism abounds, due to lush wildlife and remote tribal villages. Most of the inhabitants of Ratanakiri are indigenous minorities.
Cambodian ethnic minorities account for only 10-20% of the total population. The minorities in Ratanakiri carry on their backs, special basket, beautiful, different colors plaited reeds, basket of different sizes according to age. They carry all their products. Most women wear on their heads a turban made with their "Sarong", piece of cotton fabric, usually small red-based tiles.
Beautiful waterfalls, clear rivers meandering through stretches of jungle and hills that meet mountains near the Vietnamese and Laotian border offer a complete program for nature lovers. The remains of an ancient volcano near Banlung exist in the form of a clear lake that was formed after the active volcano went dormant. There are also some ancient lava fields that reflect the fact that the area was bustling past. Yeak Laom Volcano Lake: This beautiful place is not far from the city and is ideal for a swim, picnic or hike around the crater of the old volcano. Due to the extraordinary depth of 48 meters from the lake, its water is exceptionally clean and clear. The lake is almost perfectly round and measures are about 750 meters in diameter. It has a small informative local museum.
Yeak Lom lake
The gem mines
Gemstones and cut
In 1995, the governor of Ratanakiri has officially set aside 5,000 hectares (12,350 acres) in protected areas, including Lake is one. In 1996 obtained using the Development Center and International Research of Canada and the United Nations Development Programme to develop effective management program resources. This area represents more high kick of Cambodia to preserve a site. Full-time guards are working to ensure the area is protected. The main swimming and picnic area has a beautiful wooden deck which is great to use for a jump in the crystal clear water.