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Trip Report Ratanakiri mini trip report

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A few days ago I returned from a week's journey to Ratanakiri, the province in the farthest reaches of northeastern Cambodia. I've been wanting to go there the entire time I've lived in Cambodia, but I was always too big of a sissy to brave the journey.

I had the forethought to buy two bus tickets so I could have some room to spread out. This turned out to be very wise, since the bus ride that was advertised as being 10 hours long was actually 18 hours long. I kept trying to avoid thinking about where I could have been after 18 hours being bunched up on a Cambodian bus. The bus ran out of gas once, then later stopped at a police roadblock where it was discovered the driver didn't have a driver's license and then it broke down three times. I was very happy that I brought my own food after seeing what was on offer at the roadside stands where we stopped. There was no toilet on board and only one real toilet at any of the places where we stopped along the way, the rest of the time, it was in the bushes. I gotta say, the bus journey is somewhat akin to a tattoo, or childbirth; it's gonna take a while to forget the awfulness of it but in the end it doesn't detract from how great the takeaway experience was. Taking a private car from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap would be an option, but not cheap.

Ratanakiri is by far one of the most amazing destinations I've ever been to. It's the Wild West. It's untouched. Undeveloped. Un-everything. It is the Cambodia I always imagined. After a couple of years here in Siem Reap which is getting more Disney-esque every time I step outside, it was a welcome change.

I am looking forward to returning in the wet season to do some trekking. It's exceedingly beautiful there even in dusty season. I can't imagine how lovely it must be when everything is green.

A highlight was going a couple of hours upriver to see the sacrifice of a water buffalo at a hilltribe funeral ceremony. Another was finding and purchasing some amazing textiles from the local women in some of the villages as well as sampling the locally grown tobacco and coffee, 2 of my favorite things, both superb.

If anyone is interested in getting so far off the track, there isn't one, be in touch and I'll give some tips.

Here are some pics:
http://tinyurl.com/3e4xwpe

Cheers!
Lori

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