Excursion Ban Lung

Yesterday I took a minivan from Sen Monorom to Ban Lung. In the beginning we had half an hour delay as a Spanish girl missed her passport in her hostel 🤨. And after lots of discussion and phone calls we took it from her hostel. I didn’t felt good that morning as I had a strong stomach ache since the evening before. After we returned from the Bunong village I was just laying in the bed, and took some medicine. In the night I had even high temperature and I was a bit afraid of getting something like Malaria or what else. But in the second half of the night I could sleep a bit and in the morning the high temperature was gone. It was the first time since about 4 months, since I entered China, that I got such troubles. I didn’t even ate something since lunch the day before. My first small snack was on a stop with the bus in the morning. Shortly before noon we arrived in Ban Lung and I went to my hostel, and relaxed in the afternoon again.

In the beginning we drove through lots of forest
Then it changed to grass and…
…eventually plants, with very few traffic on the road.

Bunong Village Visit

Tuesday we made a tour to a Bunong village, that’s an indigenous tribe which is living near the border to Vietnam. This tribe has also it’s own language, which is spoken but there is no writing of it. There are 5 groups living in actually 3 villages with a total population of 1,200 people. Our guide picked us up at a cafe in Sen Monorom in the morning. After a drive of less than one hour we arrived at his house, where he lives with his family and his parents in law. Originally he’s a farmer and he told us about his plantation. For sure he’s growing rice, but opposite to the lowlands he only can harvest once per year. And after five years he need to change the field due to the soil. Then he has banana, papaya and some other fruits. All in all it’s mainly for self consumption as far as I’ve understood.

In the morning we took a walk through the village and stopped at several houses, when someone was at home, or just on the street when we made other villagers by chance. I was a bit surprised when I even saw a Catholic Church in the village, but there seem to be only a few catholics in the village. A few Vietnamese people are also living in the village, which seem to have money. At least there houses are quit large compared to others. One of them is doing business with wood and furnitures in Vietnam.

We had lunch in our guides house. The food is still cooked the same way as in the last few hundred years on open fire. The drawback of open fire is, that the whole house is full of smoke. If you’re not used to it, you can get easily headache from the soot, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and other fine stuff. After lunch we could have a small power nap, before we continued to the nearby waterfall. I was awake from the power nap as there was a strong rain and a small cat looked for a shelter near my head, as the rain was a bit loud. On our way back from the waterfall to the car it also shortly started to rain. In the late afternoon we were back in the town.

Lookout over the hillside of Mondulkiri province…
…on the way to the Bunong village
Entering the village. The bords on the RHS are for house construction and sometimes dried up to two year
The chains are not for snow…but for muddy dirt roads in the raining season
Robust technology is everything what matters here…a frame, four wheels and an engine. Nothing more needed for a hard working tractor
Village view…only few people are at home, most of them are harvesting rice
Original local hut with grass roof and wooden walls
The kids are happy even without electronic toys and sweets
Gas Station, the fuel is pre filled in one litre junks in the old Coca-Cola glass bottles…due to the corrosion of gasoline
Liquid energy delivery…easy and robust, far away from being electrified
The same house layout since hundred of years: Open fire in the middle, on top the rice is stored for the whole year, on the LHS you can sleep and behind of it the “wine” is stored
Pepper is very popular plant here
Scarfs, Bags and even Dresses are still made by the women in the village
Fresh tabaco for drying later and eventually smoking
On the way to the…
…waterfall. But then directly it started to rain.

Sen Monorom Walk

Monday the weather forecast was not very good. Hence, I skipped to book any tour, as these are pretty expensive and ranging from 40 to 100 US$ per day, and didn’t want to waste the money. In the end the weather was much better than forecasted…well OK, could be, drawn a suboptimal decision. So I just walked through the town, crossed the old runway from the airstrip and went up a hill on the other side. From here one has a nice view over the town and the vicinity around it. Shortly before it started to slightly rain I went back.

The road in front of the hotel
Lookout to the town, the old airstrip is still clearly distinctive in the centre
Now the rain is approaching…
…but it’s not as worse as I expected

Excursion Mondulkiri Province

Yesterday morning we took a minivan to Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri Province. We passed several small towns and a lot of agricultural villages. After about half of the drive we needed to change the cars, this was a bit surprising to us. But after 7 hours we finally reached Sen Monorom…and it directly started to rain. In a local coffee shop we asked for some guides, but as also the weather forecast for the next days was bad, we just skipped the trekking for the next day. After some late lunch we took a tuk-tuk to an lodge a bit outside of the town, as it continued raining. After arrival, I just relaxed in the mini hut, as there was nothing more to do here.

On the way
Stelt Houses are quit dominant on the way
Even my little hut is one of them. Just relaxing during this rainy late afternoon.

Phnom Penh City Walk

Saturday I walked through the city of Phnom Penh. As the water festival and dragon boat races were over, there was no longer much to do in the city. I just walked to the bus station and I organised some tickets for the next day. In the evening I enjoyed the view at the Tonle Sap River with a beer, before heading to the night market. As there were only bad options, I didn’t opted for a new T-shirt.

Walking along Tonle Sap River
The flags from right to left: Cambodia with Angkor Wat, Royal Family, Buddhism