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Introducing Samraong

There are towns called Samraong throughout Cambodia – the name means ‘dense jungle’, sadly a rarity in this area today. This Samraong, the provincial-backwater capital of Oddar Meanchey, is emerging very slowly from decades of isolation, a legacy of its frontline position in the long civil war. There’s nothing for foreigners to see or do up here unless they happen to be in development work – something much in demand around here. There’s a border crossing with Thailand 40km to the north at O Smach.

It’s worth noting that in 2006 and 2007, mines and unexploded ordnance injured more people in Samraong District than in any other district in Cambodia.

The Acleda Bank, facing the scruffy little market, changes travellers cheques.

The best place to stay is the Meanchey Hotel (011 700099; r US$5-10; ), often used by NGO workers, which has 24 simply furnished rooms. Air-con rooms have hot water.

In the evening food stalls pop up around the market. Next to the Meanchey Hotel, Heng Heng Restaurant (012 983083; mains 4000-6000r) is hardly more than a shed with red plastic chairs, but the food is decent.