Eco Tourism & Wildlife, Northeastern - Ratanakiri

Get Closer to Nature in the Ratanakiri Region

An elephant under the protection of the Elephant Valley Project in Mondolkiri 
(Elephant Valley Project)
An elephant under the protection of the Elephant Valley Project in Mondolkiri (Elephant Valley Project)

The road from Phnom Penh to northeast Cambodia follows the Mekong River to Kratie through the beautiful Cambodian countryside. The great river is dotted with islands which, in the dry season, are lined with sandy beaches. Located opposite Kratie and only accessible by ferry, Koh Trong is worth a visit. Discover this tiny island by bike or horse cart, meet its people, rest on its beaches and don’t leave before tasting its huge pomelos.

A few kilometres from Kratie, you can observe the Kampi rapids from a platform before taking a local boat to see the rare freshwater dolphins (Irrawaddy).

Before reaching Ratanakiri, stop in Mondulkiri province where the Elephant Valley Project welcomes rescued and retired elephants. Currently, 11 of these beauties wander around 1,100 hectares of pristine forest and are cared for by dedicated conservationists. As a visitor, you’re invited to join the elephants in their own habitats and learn firsthand about their personal histories, daily routines and how to help preserve their landscape. Mondulkiri is also home to several waterfalls including Bousra waterfall and its natural pools where you can enjoy a refreshing swim.

Bousra Falls in Mondolkiri, the highest in Cambodia (Shutterstock)

Wild and natural in its red earth beauty, Ratanakiri is an ideal area to tap into your adventurous side. Follow the lead of Indigenous guides and local conservationists who are deeply connected to these remote landscapes.
Throughout the region, guided treks can take you through dense clusters of bamboo and old-growth forests blanketing the hilly terrain. Wildlife abounds out here, and your guide may point out tropical creatures like gibbons clambering in the canopy and small-statured sun bears. Cambodia’s largest protected park is Virachey National Park, home to a dwindling population of Asian elephants.

Along your journey, you’ll learn how locals work with their natural surroundings by collecting water from the foliage, creating bamboo rafts and foraging for edible vegetation. Water flows freely in this region, including a trio of waterfalls within reach of Banlung: Ka Tieng, Kinchaan and Chaa Ong.

Straddling the provinces of Kratie, Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri, the Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary features a variety of landscapes, from thick forests and plains to verdant mountains and meandering waterways.

Spot large mammals like elephants and leopards roaming about and drinking from water holes, and keep your eyes open for the rare red-headed vultures that recently returned to the sanctuary.

Discover ecotourism opportunities throughout Northeastern Cambodia. Through education, awareness and local support, your visit can help preserve nature’s bounty for generations to come.

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