Located on Cambodia’s rugged eastern border with Vietnam, Mondulkiri is inhabited by more hill tribe minority people than ethnic Khmers, and their unique cultures are visible everywhere in this magical jungle province.
Dotted with waterfalls and rivers, cloaked in forest, Mondulkiri is an eco-tourist’s paradise and a hiker’s dream. There are few roads, and even the famous Bou Sra waterfall – one of the best known in the country despite its remote location – is best reached by motorcycle. The hill tribe people have long used elephants to negotiate the narrow jungle paths. This wilderness is rich in wildlife and bird species. This unspoiled mountain province offers treks through Mondulkiri’s dense jungle with a guide from one of the local hill tribes.
Cemeteries, shrines and other religious expressions of the animist hill tribes are common to stumble across during treks into the jungle surrounding the sleepy capital of Sen Monorom, and their unique thatched homes and bridal houses are often perched high above the ground on long stilts.
Mondulkiri is incredibly rich in beautiful waterfalls, and 150 kilometres north of the provincial capital, an area known simply as the Riverside is an ideal goal for adventurers to take a break during a longer hike or a ride. The golden and red sands at this river beach on the Srepok River are particularly beautiful and the river forms many small islands at this popular picnic spot with locals in Koh Nhek District.
Perhaps the most incongruous discovery to be made in the province, though, is a long abandoned pine tree plantation located a few kilometres from Sen Monorom, where the trees suddenly emerge from the jungle still obediently standing in perfect straight lines. Local legend has it that King Norodom Sihanouk, who had proclaimed pines to be one of his favourite species, ordered the plantation created more than 40 years ago.
Rice, fruit trees, vegetables, strawberries, coffee, rubber, gold, honey, cashew nuts.
Much of the province is on a plateau, and elsewhere, rolling hills rise into jungle covered mountains with many powerful waterfalls.
Mondulkiri Project is perhaps the most ethical way to interact with elephants in Cambodia. There are no elephant rides at all, but visitors can trek with them through the protected area of forest where they live, swimming with and washing them in the river, and learning about the elephants and the local hill tribes.
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