• How to get there
Ratanakiri is situated in the northeast of Cambodia some 500 Km from Phnom Penh and 450 Km from Siem Reap. So from these cities by bus or minivan, you can expect a 7-hour plus bus or taxi journey to this quite remote province. Bordering Vietnam in the east, Laos PDR in the North, Steung Treng province in the West and Mondulkiri to the South, there are two major rivers crossing the province, the Sre Pork and Sre San Rivers.
There are a few ethnic minority peoples in Ratanakiri and the vast majority of these indigenous people are subsistence farmers, who grow rice, corn, pumpkins etc. Some of them grow additional crops such as peanuts or cashews. There are large plantations surrounding the capital of Banlung. Most of them plant peanuts, coffee, or cashews.
Additionally, Ratanakiri boasts hundreds of square miles of lucrative rubber plantations, of which rubber is mostly exported to neighbouring Vietnam. In mineral wealth, Ratanakiri boasts gold, gemstones, granite and onyx. Fertile red soil, water sources, wild animals and quality hardwoods abound and the weather and scenery are perennial assets.
Recently illegal logging has become a serious issue in Ratanakiri.
• Where to go
In and around Banlung the big attraction is unspoilt nature, such as lakes and waterfalls, of which there is quiet a few.
There is also a wildlife sanctuary at Lumphat, some 30 Km south of Banlung city.
• Food and Accommodation
There are plenty of hotels in Banlung nowadays, including some more pricey, upmarket ones, but plenty of backpacker rates and mid range prices too.
If it’s local food you are after there is no shortage of local restaurants here, and the hotels catering for tourists can serve up some pretty good western dishes.
Banlung is some 500 Km from Phnom Penh and 450 Km from Siem Reap. With no major hospital in Banlung, for anything more serious than one of the clinics can deal with, it’s off to Thailand again.
Again a very quiet town and as yet not to many tourists (but growing) so all in all not much to worry about as far as safety is concerned. Common sense prevails.
• Entertainment and Shopping
As usual the market is the focal point of the town for shopping. Here you will find many goods made by the outlying minority groups on sale in the market