Located at a high elevation on the Vietnamese border, Mondulkiri almost feels like another Cambodia. Home to an array of grassy hills, rain-forests and unique flora and fauna, this remote province has an adventurous feel and makes for a scenic addition on a tailor-made tour of Cambodia.
Despite occupying the largest land mass of all the country’s provinces, the local population is remarkably small and consists predominantly of several minority groups (chunchiets), including the notable Pnong tribe. The Khmer Rouge is largely to blame for this current population sparsity; during the 1970s the region fell under the group’s control, resulting in the forced displacement of local populations and ultimately in the deaths of half the regions’ populace.
A visit to Mondulkiri offers the chance to witness a raw and unfiltered Cambodia, venture off the beaten track and gain a richer understanding of the country’s scarred past as well as ethnic and cultural diversity.
Rare wildlife can also be found wandering the rugged land, which often surprises the first-time visitor to Cambodia, who tends to associate the country with the splendid temples of centuries-old powerful kingdoms rather than with tigers, bears and leopards. Wildlife enthusiasts flock to the region especially for its community of wild elephants. A handful of elephant sanctuaries have emerged in recently years, offering visitors the chance to learn about local conservation efforts and get up close to these remarkable creatures in their natural habitat – an experience sure to please visitors of all ages.
Those with an adventurous spirit will also appreciate the many stunning waterfalls that can be found hidden in the depths of thick forested terrain dotted throughout the region. The crown jewel of these is without a doubt the dramatic Bong Sraa, whose rocky double edge gives way to an unusual double drop, plunging water 15 metres, then 30 metres, into the jungle below. The smaller Romanear and Monorom Waterfalls are also good options to trek to, for they attract fewer tourists but still maintain dramatic views, providing a sense of wild seclusion.
Whilst staying in Mondulkiri, make sure to take a trip to Wat Phnom Doh Kromom, a Buddhist temple in the province’s capital of Sen Monorom. Here, beautiful vistas over the city are offered, which are especially striking at sunset.
Features in the following itineraries
- Susan Ford, India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Jaime Benitez, South India