After crossing the Mekong we decide to visit the Ratanakiri province, in the far northeastern corner of the country. It’s inhabited by Khmer Loeu (Highland Khmer) minority but it seems they’re not that much of a tourist attraction, as they dress the same as everybody else.
We stop in the provincial capital – Banlung. The region is located higher than the rest of Cambodia, so it’s a bit colder here. It starts raining soon after we check in and for the first time since entering Cambodia we feel cold. The guesthouse we’re staying in is immersed in greenery and our bungalow has a nice view of a green valley beneath. We enjoy it while blogging warmly wrapped in a sleeping bag.
After two days, we feel it’s a good idea to move closer to the town. The guesthouse we choose has beautiful views over the town lake.
In Cambodia bicycles are readily available for as little as 1 or 2 dollars. When it stops raining we get hold of some coconut water, sugar palm juice and local sweets and make our way to the biggest attraction nearby, the Boeng Yeak Lom lake. The water fills a very old volcanic crater making the lake perfectly round. The water is very clear at the edge because the lake is clean. At the same time, the lake is quite deep: about 48 meters at the deepest point.
There is a footpath around the lake and we meet butterflies, lizards and a small snake along the way.
We haven’t seen the sea for some time now and the lake looks very inviting. We jump in providing, as usually, entertainment to the local visitors. This may be the first and the only chance to do so in Cambodia because we’re not going to any islands here and swimming in Mekong… Well, we have our doubts.