Trekking in Ratanakiri
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Apr 11, 2012 7:00 PM Last Post By: HenningWessel
Apr 9, 2012 9:35 PM
Trekking in RatanakiriHi all.
Can anyone make any recommendations on trekking in Ratanakiri? I only have time this time around for a day trip or an overnight trip, and I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile for such a short trip. The guide I've been speaking to would take us somewhere in O'Chum (maybe Kalai - a community forest that another poster said they'd heard wasn't worthwhile), or he could take us somewhere in Voen Sai for a higher price. Has anyone done any short trips like these and can recommend if they're worth the money or not? I like hiking and camping and all that, I'm just used to doing it on the cheap and more independently.
Apr 9, 2012 9:48 PM
Ratanakiri is worth seeing f you prefer something adventure.
Here is a program for your reference:
Day 1: Phnom Penh - Ratanakiri
Take a domestic flight to Banlung
Visit waterfalls;Teuk Cha Ong,Okatchagn.
Day 2: Ratanakiri
Direction northwest , cross bamboo forest before reaching the village of Voeune Sai located on the left bank of the Se San River. Upstream of the Se San are a certain number of Tampoun villages that practice funeral statuary; if possible by boat (otherwise by jeep) visit to the village of Ka Chaoan with its superb totems.
Day 3: Ratanakiri – PHNOM PENH (B)
Early shopping in the Banlung market, then a little trip to the volcanic lake of giant Loam, superb place surrounded by pristine rainforest. Swim or take a walk around the lake before leaving for the airport. Flight Banlung / Phnom Penh.
Apr 9, 2012 9:52 PM
2Thank you, I'm already in Banlung. The trip down the river is indeed a nice trip. It's the trekking in particular that I'm looking for information on, but thanks anyway for your reply!
Also, unfortunately, there are no longer any flights to Banlung.
Apr 10, 2012 12:54 AM
Apr 10, 2012 10:50 PM
4Uh, a day trip?
I wouldn't go on a trek.
Do the standard 4x4 trip out to the San river, visit the different minority villages, take a boat trip, come back, relax with a gin and tonic.
@ Discovery Indochina. You're giving out wrong info. There's no fliight to Banlung and hasn't been for 4 years. Please update your database.
Apr 11, 2012 12:40 AM
5Sorry, I meant that we have more than just one day to do things around Ratanakiri, we just haven't included any trekking in our plans yet and have a bit of extra time to play with. I just moved up to Banlung recently, and I have some friends coming up for the holidays, and we're trying to decide how to spend the time.
We'll definitely be doing the trip up the river, as well as a few other trips, but we have an extra day or two and are wondering if we should spend it doing a trek. No one I've met here so far has done any trekking, but I'm getting the sense that maybe I should save it for some other time.
Henning, have you done any trekking in Ratanakiri? Where and for how long? Would you recommend it?
Mangoholic and Uomo, where did you go with Do Yok and for how long?
Apr 11, 2012 1:44 AM
Apr 11, 2012 4:47 AM
7I wouldn't recommend trekking near Ban Lung. I was just there a couple weeks ago and wanted to trek into Virachey national park, figuring the only chance of seeing primary forest would be in the park. But after stopping by park headquarters and hearing about the trekking options I wasn't impressed. As a single person I would have had to pay $120 for one night, or $149 for two nights, and even the two nighter would only spend one night in the actual park, so you wouldn't even go that deep into the park. The only worthwhile trek is to the grasslands (veal thom, i think?). But that's 7 nights and something around $500. They recently had to reroute some of the trekking paths because of a huge rubber plantation that a Vietnamese company created in a part of the park near the border, and much of the park anyways is secondary forest, having a history of disturbance, albeit at low level. So no to Rattanakiri if you're a diehard trekker. I ran into quite a few young tourists in Ban Lung who were thrilled about the idea of sleeping in hammocks in the forest, and their naivette and enthusiasm about a glorified camping trip was enough for me to dismiss the reputation of the area as a trekking destination.
I also spent a few nights in Chi Phat in the Cardamom mountains where they have an ecotourism program. I would definitely recommend that to anyone interested in trekking. I am even considering going back just to spend more time there. You can do a mountain bike trip for 2 nights, deep into the jungle. It's mountainous, pretty, and remote. You may even see elephants. Even if you don't go trekking, you can rent a kayak or a mountain bike from Chi Phat village for a day for only $10 and go off exploring on your own. There are waterfalls and caves only a few km from the village.
Apr 11, 2012 6:55 AM
8The Veal Thom trek has got to be one of the best in Asia if you have the time (see the pics in the links in my signature line below). But yes, you need a week to do it (but what's wrong with spending a week in the jungle?)
I did a couple of day trek with Do Yok. I was more interested in learning about animistic folklore than trekking when I went with him, partly because I had already done the Veal Thom trek and was sort of "trekked out" already. Do Yok is really good at relating folk tales and local culture, and that's the fun part, IMO -that and the rice-wine drinking. Yok can arrange anything you like outside of the national park. Just staying in one of the villages near the Sesan River and getting drunk on rice wine and listening to stories all night will make for a very memorable trip and will make the trip to Ratanakiri worthwhile.
Apr 11, 2012 8:32 AM
9Nothing wrong with spending a week in the jungle, but for $500??? Don't quote me on that figure, but it's something around there. I was hoping to be able to do a 4-6 day trek accompanying rangers on a patrol, which i figure must be cheaper because they'd be going on patrol regardless of whether you come along or not. Not in Virachey though. This would have been in the Cardamoms from Kravanh to Chamnar, or possibly Thma Beng. Except nobody from Conservation International has replied to my e-mail inquiries and I can't get through to anyone by phone. It seems my only chance would be to show up in Kravanh and see if it's possible. If anyone has done this or has more information on it please reply.
Apr 11, 2012 8:57 AM
Apr 11, 2012 9:41 AM
11Agree with Mangoholic's statements about trekking with Do Yok. Great fun watching him hunt for frogs and freshwater crabs in the rivers and ponds. He's in his element. I still have 2 bamboo cups that he cut down and carved for me. I did a 3 day/2 night trek, though only 2 days were actual trekking. The third was mainly visiting minority villages. As I said before the trekking itself was interesting but not brilliant. To be honest I'm not sure exactly where we were but the sound of chainsaws was never too far away! The rice wine drinking is fun up to a point but I got the distinct impression that for some people in some of the villages drinking rice wine and cheap whiskey is their main occupation.
Apr 11, 2012 10:28 AM
12Yes prices are high in Ban Lung, one reason I did not go, but thought it more around $40 a day, I hired a motorbike 1 day for $5 + $2 petrol and went around the countryside, the other day I hired a bike and went to the lake. Most of the area around BL seemed to be rubber planations. Rice wine not good for the guts.
Apr 11, 2012 4:29 PM
Apr 11, 2012 7:00 PM
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