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Ratanakiri: An Immaculate Nature Haven in Northeast Cambodia

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If you are looking for a varied adventure in pristine Cambodian nature, you should head to Ratanakiri in northeastern Cambodia.  Ratanakiri offers the keen explorer a haven of natural landscapes such as thick bamboo jungles, lush mountains and crystal clear waters.

The province of Ratanakiri is sparsely populated.  Its 150,000 inhabitants make up only 1% of the whole Cambodian population.  It is also the one of the quietest province in Cambodia in terms of infrastructure and development.

Banlung is the capital of Ratanakiri Province.  It is a small town, with about 17,000 people living in the provincial capital.  Banlung serves as the province’s commercial center.  One of the most interesting places to experience is the town’s market.  Ethnic minorities from all the surrounding villages sell their goods there creating an interesting and colorful atmosphere.

The geography of Ratanakiri Province is diverse.  It consists of rolling hills, plateaus, mountains and crater lakes.  Two rivers, the Tonle San and the Tonle Srepok flow from east to west right through the province.  Ratanakiri is also home to lush jungles, with almost 80% of the province covered in tropical rain forests.  To the north of the province lies the Annamite Range where an abundance of wildlife can be explored.

There are some spectacular must-see sites in the province.  Yak Lom is a clear volcanic crater lake not too far from Banlung.  The area around the lake is covered by jungle as well as hilltribe villages.  It is a great place for a swim, especially during the warm and humid afternoon.    Another area to visit is Virachey National Park, one of the largest protected forests in Asia.  Many visitors to the province never visit Virachey because it is so remote.  The terrain at the national park consists mostly of forests, mountains, grasslands and valleys with encounters of exotic wildlife and hilltribe villages a possibility.   The province is also home to numerous waterfalls including Tuek Cha Falls, a spectacular cascade in a jungle gorge with a zircon mine and even more hilltribe villages located nearby.

You can experience the province with Exo Travel’s Ratanakiri Experience adventure tour.  Travel along the Mekong River for a possible encounter with the rare and elusive Irrawaddy Dolphin and visit what the locals call ‘Tiger Caves.’  You can also see our suggested Cambodia tours page for other exciting experiences in this astonishing country.  If you have any questions about Ratanakiri or Cambodia, please contact us.  We are very happy to answer your questions.

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