I should mention that I intend to travel to Rattanakiri next Tuesday. I do not know how often I will have the chance to access this log prior to my departure and therefore give some information in advance.

I do not intend to take my laptop with me. This is mostly because I did not manage to connect it to the network and therefore could not properly back up my computer. I do not want to risk my data. However, I take my camera with me and more than 400 mb of memory. This way I hope I can provide numerous pictures afterwards.

The “lonely planet” which I bough for 3 bucks in the market (4th edition 2002) does not have to say more than two pages about Rattanakiri. However, the German guide (“Reise Know How” 2003) offers extensive information. I quote the introduction:

“Rattanakiri ist die nordoestlichste Provinz Kambodschas und grenzt im Norden an Laos und im Osten an Vietnam. Das Kontoum- und das Chhlongplateau bilden die natuerlichen Grenzen zu seinen Nachbarn … Endlose Urwaelder, duchzogen von Huegeln, Suempfen und Wasserlaeufen, machen Rattanakiri in seiner Unwegsamkeit zu einem der am wenigsten erforschten Landstriche unserer Erde. Tiger, Leoparden, Rotwild, Elepfanten, Krokokile und das fast ausgestorbenen Kouprey leben hier noch im Schutz der dichten Tropenwaelder … Die hier lebenden Bergvoelker, die Khmer Loeu, die sich in 21 ethnische Gruppen mit unterschiedlicher Kultur und Sprache gliedern, siedeln bis in die unzugaegnlichsten Winkel der Provinz. Die bekanntesten Staemme sind die Charai, Kaco, Tampuan, Kreung und Brau. Unter den etwa 80.000 Einwohnern von Rattanakiri leben neben den Bergvoelkern, viele Laoten und vietnamesische Minderheiten. Die Khmer sind hier im eigenen Land in der Unterzahl.“

I mentioned earlier that I believe this situation makes Rattanakiri a challenge to both decentralization and democratization of the political system. I contacted various organizations which have operations in this province and I am confident that they will assist in my research. I will travel with another of our project translators. He is political scientist, CPP member and writes his master about political parties. Given that Sunday is election I cannot expect him to stay longer than until Friday.

However, if I find local organizations on the spot that make meaningful research possible without my co-traveler being present I tend to think that I stay longer. Even with regard to security concerns involving the upcoming election this would seem to be a rational decision, since political unrest caused by national election is not likely to have heavy impacts in such a remote province (which people told me is a different Cambodia).

The German tourist guide notes that “aus touristischer Sicht gehoert Rattanakiri zu den interessatesten Provinzen in Kambodscha. Ausserdem gibt es weder Minen, Strassenraeuber noch Rote Khmer. Lediglich die weit verbreitete Malaria kann die Abenteuerlust etwas trueben.“

Since I have my mosquito net as well as two sorts of mosquito repellent with me I think I am on the save side with regard to the only thing which limits the delight of traveling Rattanakiri.

One thought on “Rattanakiri”

  1. Hi,
    Did you come across a village “kiri kiris (?) on your travels.
    I think the inhabitants are Khmer Loeu (jarai).

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