The plan for today is to ride from Kratie (Kracheh) to Banlung (Ban Lung) in Rattanakiri (Ratanakiri). This is not a big deal in terms of distance but we anticipate the road to be in poor shape, particularly between Stung Treng (Stoeng Treng) and Banlung. We start the day with a generous breakfast at the Red Sun Falling Restaurant, a great place for Western food in Kratie and the only one as far as I know, run by a guy named Joe from Chicago. They even serve delicious brownies but unfortunately not this morning.
Continue reading Kratie to Banlung in Rattanakiri via Stung Treng
With a week of holidays on the occasion of Cambodia’s Water Festival comes the prospect of a multiple day trip to the northeast, with fellow traveling enthusiasts Katrin, Becky and Toby. The overall plan is to travel Cambodia’s northeast from Phnom Penh on a loop via Kampong Cham, Kratie, Rattanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie, Prey Veng, Neak Luong back to Phnom Penh. Admittedly, details of the route emerge only on the flight. The only given in the plan is the part from Banlung in Rattanakiri to Sen Monorom in Mondulkiri, a stretch of forest, mountains and wilderness which we anticipate to be the most exciting part of the trip.
For today we aim only at reaching either Kratie or Stung Treng.
Continue reading Phnom Penh to Kratie along the Mekong via Kampong Cham, Wat Hanchey, Stung Tran, Chhlong
It is one of these rare opportunities my job provides to visit Rattanakiri, and I travel the pleasure to travel there with my colleague Phal. Not the first time, since we went there before, in 2003, to undertake interviews. The plan for today is to travel to Stung Treng via Kampong Cham and Kratie by mini bus and ideally all the way to Banlung in Rattanakiri province. I tune out the work-related aspects of this trip and report what may be interesting for the traveler.
Continue reading Phnom Penh to Banlung, Rattanakiri via Kratie and Stung Treng, by Minibus
The plan for today is to ride from Kratie back to Phnom Penh. We decided to go follow the National Road 7 through Snuol, Memot (Memout), Suong and Chob to Kampong Cham. From Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh we want to give the dirt road along the Western bank of the Mekong a try.
The Adventure Cambodia guide book has a ‘Phnom Penh to Kratie’ motorcycle info section:
“If you are going to Kratie from Phnom Penh, the road to Kampong Cham is excellent, the road from Kampong Cham to the Snuol junction isn’t that great, but it’s definitely doable. The last section taking you to Kratie from Snuol has some huge bomb craters that fill up and look like lakes during the rainy season, but it’s also doable; you’re just going to get wet.”
Well, it is definitely rainy season right now but times have changed, and not only recently.
Continue reading Kratie to Phnom Penh via Snuol, Memot, Kampong Cham, Riverbank Villages
The plan for today is to get from Chhlong (Chloung) to Kratie town and later to visit the Irrawaddy-Dolphins north of Kratie in the Mekong River and some other local highlights depending on road conditions and time availability. We get up relatively early, check out, get on the bike and ride as far as we can get, which is only a few hundred meters. We find a man with a boat who is willing to give us a ride of 5 km or so towards Kratie until we can proceed on a solid road. The ride takes us in early daylight through spectacularly flooded landscape. I blend Maraile’s and my own photos.
Continue reading Chhlong to Kratie by Motorbike and Various Boats, Sambor, Irrawaddy Dophins, Phnom Sambok
For this weekend Maraile and I have been planning to visit Kratie province, for a number of reasons among them the fact that much of the province is flooded right now. The plan for today is to leave in the afternoon and spent the night either in Kampong Cham, Kratie or Chhlong (Chloung) depending on how far we get. Saturday we want to spend in Kratie province and return at some point on Sunday to Phnom Penh.
Continue reading Phnom Penh to Chhlong via Kampong Cham by Motorbike
Again, we start early in the morning. For some reasons I do not get much sleep. We pack our stuff and have breakfast. Yet I do not feel like eating and seeing other people having breakfast makes me feel sick. We plan to ride all the way back to Phnom Penh, with a lunch break in Kampong Cham provincial capital. Bun Tach had warned me the other day that my front tire is broken and I need to ride carefully. In addition, we are uncertain about the state of Pongro’s bike, since it fell down many times. So we decide to go to the moto doctor before we head to Phnom Penh.
Those are my boots in the morning. They had gotten pretty wet yesterday, since they where filled with water several times when we had to cross creeks. Those are Meinl boots, equipped with a gore tex membrane which makes them water proof. Although those boots where outside all night while there where strong winds they are still pretty wet in the morning. Getting into them still feels like water is standing in them. I am somewhat surprised that it takes so long to dry those boots. And even of today, almost one week later, they are still not entirely dry, which I find quite disappointing. After all, what is the point of having water proof shows if they never ever get dry once they get water inside?
Continue reading Mondulkiri Fifth Day: Sen Monorom, Snuol, Kampong Cham, Phnom Penh
I wake up the next day when Pongro is knocking on my door. It is already bright daylight. Pongro tells me he is alright. And it looks like we will proceed with the trip.
Japanese Bridge in the morning
So I go with the same moto taxi driver who was helpful yesterday to find a mechanic. After asking in a few shops we find a mechanic who is willing to take care of our bikes and claims to be familiar with big motos. So we go back to the guesthouse and later we push the motos the few hundred meters to the shop and go to a food place close by to have breakfast.
Continue reading Mondulkiri Second Day: Kampong Cham, Snuol, Sen Monorom
Today is Monday and the plan for today is to travel back to Phnom Penh. We bought the tickets the other day for about $15 for both of us. At about 7 am we get picked up at the hotel. However, a number of seats in the bus are still not occupied and we go to the bus station close to the market to wait for more customers.
Moreover, Reaksa forgot a pair of shoes at his friend’s house and we need to wait anyway for somebody to pick them up. So we keep waiting at the station. Children and women try to sell all sorts of snacks and soft drinks.
Continue reading From Kratie to Phnom Penh via Kompong Cham by Mini Bus
Today is Sunday and we decide to take a day off. That is to say we check the tourist guide and local sources to find out what sights we want to see today. Kratie is famous for the fresh water dolphins that can be observed in the Mekong. And there are a number of pagodas, of course.
We started with an extended breakfast. I was lucky yesterday to catch both the weekend edition of the Cambodia Daily and the Phnom Penh Post. They have decent café at this place close to where the boats approach, at riverside.
Continue reading One day holiday in Kratie Province – Sambor, Dophin Watching (Anlong Psaut), Phnom Sombok, Phnom Srey, Phnom Proh, Wat Roka Kandal
Today is Saturday. As usual we do not care much about the weekend and intend to visit another indigenous village. So after we had breakfast we take a taxi and travel about half an hour north to meet the Chairman of the associated Commune Council.
We meet this guy and than drive together another thirty minutes before we reach the place where we take a boat.
This is on the way.
Continue reading Forth Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province
This is the view from the balcony of the hotel at one of the pagodas in town in the morning.
Continue reading Second Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province
The following is my account of the third field trip to Kratie province. This trip took place some weeks ago and at this point it is already getting difficult to remember the details. However, experience tells me that I won’t do it later if I do not write it now. This is going to be a general report. Although I would like to incorporate details of my work and the research findings I won’t have the time at this point. In case somebody reads that and is interesting in an in debt account of my field work I am still more than happy to provide detailed minutes of my interviews. However, this is a tremendous amount of paper and most likely not very exciting for the average reader.
We decided to go to Kratie by mini bus, which is the way I got there for previous field trips as well. The way it works is that I get picked up with a moto by somebody who is send by the company which operates the mini bus. This is about 6:30 in the morning at Hun Sen Park, where police is still maintaining increased presence.
Continue reading First Day of the Field Trip to Kratie Province – From Phnom Penh to Kratie
Next day we get up fairly early again to get the boat which leaves at 7 am to Kompong Cham. I have been traveling with those boats many times now and am getting used to it. And I still like it.
Continue reading From Stung Treng to Kompong Cham by Speedboat and from Kompong Cham to Phnom Pehn by Taxi
This is the report of my second trip to Rattanakiri. Unfortunately I did not even complete the article about the first one. Due to the fact that I am leaving tomorrow again I try to make this short and get it done quickly. It is not likely that I will find time after this field trip, since I will be busy analyzing the collected data and writing my final report. This leads to another consideration: I think it would be interesting to include reflections about my work in this article here. However, I will have to write my final report with exactly those reflections. Therefore, I do not want to double my work and make this a article primarily about traveling with more general information. I am more than happy to provide the countless minutes I take or my reports once they are finalized. For better readability I will divide this journey into a number of smaller reports.
Continue reading First Day of the Second Field Trip to RAttanakiri