MY EXPERIENCE IN ECO-TOURISM VILLAGE MONDUL YORN
I visited Mondul Yorn, Ratankairi province, together with two German friends at the beginning of October 2017. We booked a 2 days / 1 night package. Ratanakiri is located in the northeast of Cambodia. It took us 8 hours by minibus to get from Phnom Penh to Banlung, the provincial capital city, where we stayed overnight. In the morning of our first trip day, a local guide from the NGO “Save Cambodia’s Wildlife” met us at our hotel and brought us to the O’ Tabok river in the north of Ratanakiri by car, it took about one hour to get there.
When we arrived at the river, two local villagers were waiting for us with small motor boats. About four persons can sit in one boat. It took about two hours with the boats to get to Mondul Yorn, which is located in a very rural area at the edge of the Virachey National Park. The villagers are members of the “Brao” ethnicity. When we arrived in the small village, we met the local villagers and brought our luggage to our homestay. It was a small house, made of bamboo, but the comfort level was surprisingly good. We had our own little rooms, some electricity, and a mattress with a mosquito net around it.
At first, we had some time to relax and walk around in the village. There was a very calm atmosphere, some pigs, cats and chicken running around freely. At noon we had a tasty lunch, we could eat some local products such as cooked fish, vegetables and rice. There is also a volleyball field, where the villagers played in their free time and invited us to join their game. In the afternoon, we went fishing by boat and net with some of the villagers. We could watch how they throw the fishing nets. I even tried it myself. Be warned, it is not so easy to throw the net as it might look like. In the evening, the fish we caught earlier was prepared and we had dinner at one of the villagers’ houses. After that, a jar vine was prepared for us all and we spend the evening with a group of villagers, trying the typical Brao alcoholic drink, which tastes sweet. The next morning, after breakfast, we went into the forest with the villagers. We took the boat upstream of the O’ Tabok river, not too far from the village. We walked about 2 hours through the jungle, the nature is impressive. On the way, our guide gave us some information about the trees and animals in the jungle, we found some animal traces. As explained and shown by our guide, many of the herbs and plants, which we saw during our trek, are collected and used by the villagers for cooking or medicine. Due to the humid and hot weather condition, it was in the rainy season, I was quite exhausted when we arrived back at the boats. After a final lunch in the village, we said goodbye to the villagers and embarked on the journey back to Banlung, where we arrived in the afternoon. This Trip to Mondul Yorn has its’ own character. It is difficult to find a village in south-east Asia, which is more remote. If you seek for any kind of artificial entertainment by the villagers or a lot of action, this is the wrong place. But if you want to experience the very rural life in Cambodia, a life with simple comfort that can be surprisingly good and calming, you should get to Mondul Yorn. Far apart from modern society, you get an idea, how the daily life of the indigenous people in Cambodia can be like nowadays. In our case, the 2 days trip was a bit short, related to the long journey to get there. Depending on your personal character, it might be better to stay there for at least 2 nights, if you feel confident to spend some time under these simple conditions. To visit this project go to here.