Rattanak Kiri is the mountainous northeastern frontier province of Cambodia that borders Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east,Mondul Kiri Province to the south, and Stung Treng Province to the west. It extends from the mountains of the Annamite Range in the north, across a plateau between the Tonle San and Tonle Srepok rivers. Famed for its stunning natural beauty and ethnic diversity, Rattanak Kiri is full of natural and cultural treasures just waiting to be discovered. Its capital is Banlung City.
Rattanak Kiri boasts some of the most striking landscapes the region has to offer and is home to several settlements of ethic hill tribes. Among the many picturesque natural sites are the crystal clear Yeak Laom volcanic lake, incredible fresh waterfalls, gem mines, and a dense rainformest teeming with exotic flora and fauna. In contrast to modern day opulence, this province remains largely untouched as the majority of the population in Rattanak Kiri is made up of ethnic minority groups living harmoniously with nature.
Most visitors to Rattanak Kiri choose to base themselves in Banlung City from where excursions can be arranged to visit the Khmer Loeu villages and an array of natural sites.Banlung, Cambodia
Kampong Chhnang is a province well known for its fine clay pottery. The name of the province says it all in Khmer: Kampong Chhnang means "Port of Pottery". The people of this province enjoy making pots, vases and various others types of ceramics during the off harvest seasons.
Interesting sights in the province include two floating villages and a hamlet famous for its distinctive pottery.
The quiet village of Ondong Rossey is where the area's famous red pottery originates. Almost every household in this region populated by serene rice fields dotted with sugar palms is making some form of pottery or so. The pots, mostly unpainted but decorated with etched or appliqué designs, are either made with a foot-spun wheel (smaller pieces) or banged into shape with a heavy wooden spatula (larger ones). The intricate process is fascinating to observe.
A short boat ride from the waterfront will take travelers to two amazing floating villages: Phoum Kandal to the east and Chong Kos to the northwest. Many of the village inhabitants there are ethnic Vietnamese. Living on the water, they have all the amenities a mainland village would have - houses, shops, vendors, petrol station and even a mosque.
Kep, a province on Cambodia's southern coast, is a former resort town known throughout Cambodia for its relaxed, sun-dappled beaches and mouth-wateringly fresh crabs. In recent years, the province has undergone a revival, with many foreign and domestic vistors making the trip to indulge in its luxurious beachside resorts, tropical islands, and toothsome seafood.
During Cambodia's golden years before 1970, this lush coastal region was a seaside playground for affluent. Although Kep's beaches may not be in the same league as those in Preah Sihanouk, travelers seek out its tranquil atmosphere and unadulterated coasts.
A small section of the beach doubles as a regular crab-trading depot and the Crab Market (Psar Kdam) on the water’s edge serves as a popular tourist destination. Fishermen bring in baskets of crabs by the boatload, and waterfront restaurants cook them fresh, usually boiled with a few fragrant sticks of famed Kampot pepper. Fish, squid and prawns are also on offer, often cooking slowly over coals at the front of all the restaurants.
For a relaxing day trip, visitors often travel to a nearby island such as Rabbit Island (Koh Thonsáy), which is only a short boat ride off Kep's coast. Here, you'll find beautiful seaside views, bamboo platforms and basic bungalows, and plenty of rustic charm. A boat back during the evening sunset is not to be missed.
The Cardamom Mountains
The Cardamom Mountains is a mountain range in the south west of Cambodia, jutting into southeastern Thailand. The highest elevation of the Cardamom Mountains is Phnom Aural at 1,813 metres (5,948 ft) high. This is also Cambodia's highest peak. This range of mountains formed one of the last strongholds of the Khmer Rouge, and many parts are largely inaccessible. The inaccessibility of the hills, however, helped to preserve the area.
Tourism is relatively new to the area. In 2008, Wildlife Alliance launched a community-based ecotourism program in the village of Chi-Phat, marketed as the "gateway to the Cardamoms". However the number of international visitors remains very small in comparison to the tourism development of Siem Reap (home to Angkor Wat) or Phnom Penh.
These relatively isolated mountains now form an important tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion, the Cardamom Mountains rain forests. One of the largest and still mostly unexplored forests in southeast Asia, it is separated from other rainforests in the region. The moist climate and undisturbed nature of the rocky mountainsides appears to have allowed a rich variety of wildlife to thrive, although the Cardamom and Elephant Mountains are poorly researched and the wildlife that is assumed to be here still needs to be catalogued.
They are thought to be home to over 100 mammals such as the Large Indian Civet and Banteng cattle. The rivers are home to both Irrawaddy and humpback dolphins and are home to some of the last populations on earth of the very rare Siamese crocodiles and the only nearly extinct batagur baska, or Royal turtle remaining in Cambodia. while the forests are habitat for more than 450 bird species.
Koh Kong Province
Koh Kong is a quaint border province that has long had a reputation as a 'Wild West' frontier location. Situated at the southwestern tip of the country near the mouth of the Kah Bpow River, the city is only 10 kilometers from the Thai border. Koh Kong has a long coastline and a large forested interior that embraces part of the Cardamom Mountains and a section of Kirirom National Park. Its tourist attractions include a theme park, beaches, waterfalls and a rich mangrove forest.
There are many offshore islands nearby Koh Kong, the most interesting of which is Koh Kong Khoa, a practically uninhabited jungle paradise with seven magnificent white sandy beaches. This island is only about a forty five minute water taxi ride from shore.
Koh Kong has enjoyed quite a few tourism development projects that have turned the province into a great tour destination. The province is linked to Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk Province via Sre Ambel by National Route 4. This newly built road provides visitors yet another option to access the province by road. A drive on this road is highly recommend to those who love nature; the road winds through some of Cambodia's least developed and unspoiled regions - the Cardamom Mountains. Amidst thick forest, streams and charming waterfalls, the adventure rewards with scenic sites for stopovers and great photography.
Mangroves are spread along the coast from Kep to Koh Kong, and they cover an area of over 50,000 hectares in Koh Kong. Mangroves are specialized tropical trees that live on the edge where rainforests meet oceans. These ‘rainforests by the sea’ are rich breeding grounds for shrimps, prawns, crabs, shellfish, snails and fishes, especially the beautiful Mud skippers that seem to enjoy the surface more than being in water. They are also nesting sites for many shore birds, lizards, sea turtles, and many other exotic animal species.
Situated in northwestern Cambodia, Banteay Meanchey--“Fortress of Victory” in Khmer--is a charming province that offers a wide selection of natural and historical attractions, including ancient temple complexes, wildlife reserves, and a crane sanctuary. Though primarily known to visitors for its Thai-Cambodian border crossing in Poipet, Banteay Meanchey is much more than just a passing-through spot. Adventurous travelers will find the province presents plenty of opportunities to sample authentic Khmer culture and take in the stunning natural beauty Cambodia has to offer. Banteay Meanchey's capital is Serei Sophon (also known as Sisophon).
The main attraction in Banteay Meanchey is the 12th century temple of Banteay Chhmar.
Built under Jayavarman VII between the 12th and 13th centuries, the Banteay Chhmar Temple complex is a lesser-known, but equally magnificent, alternative to the Angkor Wat temples. Just two hours from Siem Reap, Banteay Chhmar is a unique historical treasure: a massive, sprawling temple complex tucked away in a largely-untouched location, surrounded by lush vegetation. Banteay Chhmar Temple is one of the two temple complexes outside of Angkor that feature massive stone “face-towers” bearing Bayon-style enigmatic smiles. Abundant sandstone bas-reliefs in the temples depict images of mythical Cambodian battles along with scenes from daily life.
The enormous complex of Banteay Chhmar is perhaps one of the most intriguing in the Khmer empire, both in terms of its scale and its relative seclusion. This mysterious temple complex embodies perfectly the image of a lost Khmer city; ruined structures with exotic carvings are strewn about in dense forest surroundings, while the occasional bird call echoes through the temple walls to break the stillness. Those who visit the temple will find many beautiful carvings hidden amongst the ruins and broken colonnades.
In the vicinity, there are at least a dozen smaller temples, all in ruinous state. These include Prasat Mebon, Ta Prohm, Prom Muk Buon, Yeay Choun, Pranang Ta Sok and Prasat Ciem Trey.
Banteay Chhmar is not on the tourist map, but a trip to this exotic site is one adventure you will harbor in your memory for a long time.
Kampong Speu Province
Kampong Speu, west of Phnom Penh and almost on the capital's doorstep, is a province that’s often overlooked, but an ideal place to get off the beaten track. Speu is the Khmer word for “starfruit”, but Kampong Speu is actually famous for its palm sugar, which is considered the best in the Kingdom. The province also produces plenty of teuk t'not chu, or palm wine.
Mount Aoral (Phnom Aoral) is tallest mountain located in this landlocked province bordered by Kandal, Koh Kong, Pursat, Kampot, Takeo and Kampong Chhnang. It is at 1813 meters above sea level.Kampong Speu, Cambodia
Takéo is the capital of Takéo Province, Cambodia. As of 1998 it had a population of 39,186. The town and province is known for its silk weaving and the province is home to about 10,000 of the total of 15,000 Cambodian weavers. Most silk weavers in the villages are near the national highway in the direction of Takeo town. The technique of silk weaving could have possible come to the Khmer during the Funan Empire, probably in the 2nd Century, from India and China.
Chisor Mountain - Phnom Chisor is a mountain north of the city of Takeo. At the summit you will find some temple ruins from the 10th and 11 Century. From the mountain you have a good outlook on the environment. The climb is 503 steps. At the summit there is a simple beverage stalls. For the 26-kilometer Journey can take a moped.
Phnom Da - a 17 meter high temple dating back to the from the Funan kingdom (6th century) on a 100 m high hill. It can be reached by an hour boat ride from Takeo. Farmers on the partially flooded rice fields and fishermen and many duck farms can be observed. Large wooden boats deliver cargoes from Vietnam.
Angkor Borei - On the road from the town of Takeo is Phnom Da temple. Previously, this was an important trading center. At the harbor there is a small museum documenting the Funan kingdom.Takeo, Cambodia
The Royal Palace in Phonm Penh Cambodia, is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal resident of the king of Cambodia. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in 1866, with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge.
The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-1800s. It was gradually built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the four divisions at the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma
The Silver Pagoda is a compound located on the South side of the palace complex. Its main building houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. Most notable is a small 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha (the "Emerald Buddha" of Cambodia) and a near-life-size, Maitreya Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds dressed in royal regalia commissioned by King Sisowath. During King Sihanouk's pre-Khmer Rouge reign, the Silver Pagoda was inlaid with more than 5,000 silver tiles and some of its outer facade was remodeled with Italian Lee.
The Royal Palace has had some modifications to its buildings; some have also been demolished completely. The Throne Hall there today is actually not the original one King Norodom would have used when the palace was first built. It has become a popular tourist attraction in Phnom Penh. Visitors are able to wander around the Silver Pagoda compound and the central compound containing the Throne Hall, however, they may not enter the Khemarin Palace compound. The Khemarin Palace compound is where Norodom Sihamoni, the present King of Cambodia currently resides.
The Royal Palace is daily open from 08.00 am till 11.00 am and from 02.00 pm till 05.00 pm. You have to be suitable dressed, long shorts seemed to be ok but certainly no sleeveless tops.Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The distinctive rust-red National Museum next to the Royal Palace was dedicated by King Sisowath in 1920. Over 5000 objects are on display, including Angkorian era statues, lingas and other artifacts, most notably the legendary statue of the 'Leper King'.
Though the emphasis is on Angkorian artifacts, there is also a good collection of pieces from later periods, including a special exhibition of post-Angkorian Buddha figures.
Visiting the museum after, rather than before a trip to the Archeological Park in Siem Reap helps lend context to the Angkorian artifacts. Multi-lingual tour guides are available inside the museum.Phnom Penh, Cambodia