Getting there & away
The airstrip at Sen Monorom has been sold off and there are plans to develop a new airport at Putang. For now, visitors who want to get to this unique region have to come overland, and this is pretty straightforward thanks to a major dirt highway which is slowly being upgraded to bitumen.
There are two ways to get to Mondulkiri, both of which include the same section of old logging road from Snuol to Sen Monorom, and a third, harsh trail north to Ratanakiri. The stretch from Snuol to Sen Monorom passes through some wild jungle after Khao Si Ma district and is one of the most dramatic and beautiful roads in Cambodia.
There is usually one bus daily between Phnom Penh and Sen Monorom (US$10, ten hours, 7.15am) in the dry season. However, locals say it is safer to take a car or pick-up due to steep hills and unexpected rains. There are also pick-ups heading from Phnom Penh to Sen Monorom (inside/on the back US$12/6, eight hours), leaving from Psar Thmei soon after 6am, but it’s best to head to the market the day before you want to travel to arrange a seat with a driver, as places are limited.
Coming from Kompong Cham, there are few direct services to Sen Monorom, so it is usually necessary to first go to Snuol (12, 000r by taxi, 1½ hours). From Snuol, there are pick-ups to Sen Monorom (inside/on the back 20, 000/15, 000r, three hours).
From Kratie there are direct pick-ups heading to Sen Monorom (inside/on the back 30, 000/20, 000r, five hours) early in the morning. Anyone leaving later will probably need to change vehicles in Snuol.
Getting from Mondulkiri Province to any of these destinations is generally easier, as most locals are going beyond Snuol and so no change is required, plus guesthouses can arrange for the pick-ups to collect.
Experienced bikers will find it a pretty straightforward run these days, on surfaced roads all the way to Snuol and then decent enough dirt roads through to Sen Monorom. If it doesn’t sound challenging enough compared with the old days, don’t worry: once you get to Mondulkiri there are still plenty of tough trails to be found.