Mondulkiri

Mondulkiri was my last stop in Cambodia.  There really isn’t much to see in the small city, but it is a fantastic place to sit back and enjoy the scenery.  I spent the better part of three days exploring the area on a motorcycle and had a nice time.  The only downside was that I was there in low season so the city was very quiet.  A motorcycle rental is essential, the city is really spread out and the countryside around there is gorgeous.

I stayed at a really neat place called the Indigenous People Lodge that offers traditional grass huts with basic modern amenities inside:

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The accommodation was very comfortable but you’ll want to avoid eating your dinners there as the food is rather expensive and not particularly good.  Also, for your motorbike rental you’ll want to go to the Mountain Centre guesthouse a 20 minute walk away as it is significantly cheaper than rentals from the hotel.

The following day I rented a motorcycle with the intention of going to the Sen Monorom Falls which frankly sucked but the hydro dam next door created a nice little lake. 

Photos from the day of exploring:

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The city has a number of restaurants all around but the good ones tend to be on the outskirts of town, in the middle of nowhere.  For lunch I had a tasty soup and juice at Cafe Phka:

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After lunch I ventured out a little further away to the Bousra Waterfall.  You can swim there and many people were going for it but the water didn’t appear all that clean to me:

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In the evening I went to the Nature Lodge.  It’s in a super relaxing setting in the countryside.  Food isn’t particularly good but the lounge is such a pleasant place to hang out that it’s worth a visit.  They also run an excellent (but small) elephant sanctuary nearby:

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The following day I ventured out on my rented motorbike to explore the countryside and the nearby coffee plantation in particular:

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There is a gorgeous clay road right in front of the coffee plantation that leads back to town.  Pictures don’t capture how pretty the super wide road looks in person:

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A short video of me on that road:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/169348493

Clip of Motorcycle Ride in Mondulkiri from Andres Hannah-Suarez on Vimeo.

 

For dinner that night I ended up at a quaint little restaurant, Mondulkiri Pizza:

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I booked a day in the L.E.A.F. elephant sanctuary run by the Nature Lodge.  We started off with a 2 hour walk through the jungle and then we met up with the two resident elephants.  The sanctuary has rescued two working elephants from the nearby villages.  Rather than buy the elephants from the owners who would then likely use the money to buy more elephants, the sanctuary essentially borrows the elephants and compensates the families with an income comparable to what they would get from the labour of the elephants.  In turn two mahouts (elephants minders) are hired to look after the elephants.  The elephants are released every evening into the wild, and the mahouts find them in the morning and make sure they are fed and bathed.

You’ll want to avoid any supposed sanctuary that involves elephant riding.  The wooden saddles hurt the elephants even if padded, and elephants need to eat approximately 100 kg of food a day which means that they need to spend up to 20 hours a day eating.  Also, elephants are social creatures and work of any sort interferes with their social lives.

Photos from my time on the sanctuary:

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For lunch they fed us an amazing vegetable curry stew that is cooked in a chunk of bamboo instead of a pot.  The chunk can only be used once and adds a remarkable amount of flavour to the stew:

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They welcome volunteers at the centre, and put them up in a traditional grass hut:

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The main task after work was to help out with the elephants bathing.  I got hit by a leech when I got to the water and the elephants were constantly crapping into the water so I opted to stay on shore and film the process from there:

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https://player.vimeo.com/video/176901285

00099 from Andres Hannah-Suarez on Vimeo.

 

Effects of the leech.  If you notice you’ve been bitten by a leech, best course of action is to pour a little salt on them or some insecticide.  If you just brush them aside you’ll end up with an open bite that takes quite a while to stop bleeding:

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I’ll leave you with one final picture with an elephant, and with a shot of a nearby waterfall where we went for a swim at the end of our time on the sanctuary:

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