Enjoy the hospitality of Tampuan tribal villages in the North East of Cambodia.
Escape the urban rush and experience the unique culture of the Tampuan tribal villages. By immersing yourself in local culture you will gain a deeper understanding of rural life in Cambodia. Learn about the spiritual significance that the Yeak Laom region holds for the Tampuan, try your hand at traditional crafts, and sample the local cuisine over dinner with your hosts. The Yeak Laom is perfect place to reconnect with nature. You can explore the local landscapes and protected wildlife areas, or swim in the crater lake, before discovering waterfalls hidden amongst the jungle.
The 5 Tampuan tribal villages are set in the idyllic landscape of Yeak Laom lake at the heard of Ratanikiri, in the North Eastern area of Cambodia. Relax in one of the homestays or book a half day heritage and cultural tour of the Tampuan community, one of eight indigenous groups in this area, and immerse yourself in local culture by trying local crafts such as weaving and basket-making.
From Sovann Hean, Yeak Laom Lake Committee
“I’m Sovann Hean, I am Tampuan and I work for the Yeak Laom Lake Management Committee. I can speak four languages: Tampuan, Khmer, Kreung and English. I earn an income for my family through my rice and soybean farm in another district called Lumpat. I live in Loan village (one of five ethnically Tampuan tribal villages near Yeak Laom) with my wife and four children. I hope to see more tourism in our villages so that we can share our culture and help the next generation of Tampuan people. Through working at Yeak Laom Lake, I want to be able to help Yeak Laom Community by finding solutions to bring more income to the community. Having a homestay program and community-tourism in our tribal villages I believe is one way we can do this. I really would like to see Tampuan culture strong. When tourists come to learn about Tampuan culture and talk with our community I think more youth and women will understand English and this will help to grow community tourism into the future. I think this is also important for bringing extra income to help support poorer families within our community. Step by step we hope to help Tampuan families in our community.”
A visit to the Tribal Villages at Yeak Laom directly supports local Tampuan families who often struggle to earn sustainable income all year round. The Yeak Laom Community would like to see its youth have a culturally strong future. By booking one their tours or homestay experiences, you can support the sustainable, alternative livelihoods for local people and help to keep traditional cultural practices strong.
The villages at Yeak Laom are home to Tampuan people, one of many tribal groups in Ratanakiri. Local families earn a living through working on farms and harvest a variety of crops including rice. In 1998, the Tampuan villages at the Yeak formed a Laom community-based ecotourism site with the aim to use tourism as a way to protect the local biodiversity and local area. Tourism in the area is managed by a committee of local indigenous people to ensure that tourism can develop in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to the local people and the environment.
This project aims to:
· Protect and promote indigenous culture
· Increase opportunities for local Tampuan people through sustainable tourism
· Protect the natural environment and wildlife of Yeak Laom
As part of their project, the Tampuan community invites tourists to learn hands-on about their indigenous culture, spirituality and traditional practices. By visiting this project and booking the Tampuan homestay, not only will you gain a unique insight into Tampuan village life, but you will also be supporting these community goals. This is partly done through the price of the homestay, and partly through your respect and learning of the local culture, which in turn helps protect and promote the culture.
Families live communally in a mixture of traditional wood and concrete homes, elevated on stilts. Traditional cultural handicrafts such as woven baskets and hollowed, carved gourd (a type of vegetable) are used to collect water and carry vegetables from local farms to Banlung market. Within the villages, Tampuan women can be seen busily weaving brightly coloured textile, a Tampuan cultural tradition and important income for many families. The fabric is woven under the house on large wooden looms. Today, the community welcome tourists into their villages to experience their lifestyle and culture. A visit directly to local families does the most to support local and sustainable development within Yeak Laom villages.
The Tampuan Tribal Villages at Yeak Laom lake offer pre-booked homestay style accommodation. Homestays are a mixture of traditional wooden and modern materials. Each house is elevated on stilts and has wooden stairs to the entrance. Private rooms with a bed, mattress, blankets and mosquito net are available for overnight stays. Bathrooms are external to the house and include a squat toilets and bucket style shower.
Tuk-tuk and moto dop transport is available from Yeak Laom to Banlung. However, best this is best arranged from Banlung town through your guest house or close by to Banlung market. Alternatively, motorbikes and bicycles can be hired too.
The tribal villages at Yeak Laom offer you an opportunity to live like locals and experience Tampuan culture hands on. What is on offer:
- Homestays: Accommodation is within a local style house in a tribal village with private rooms and the hospitality of a Tampuan family! An all-inclusive package includes meals, cultural activities (such as weaving or basket making) and Tampuan traditional clothing dress up.
- Cultural Tours: If sleeping in a village isn’t your style, a half day cultural tour allows you to experience village life with the help of a local guide. Tours include organic farm fresh produce for lunch with a local family and two cultural activities in the tribal villages. Tours start from Yeak Laom lake ticket office.
- Yeak Laom Lake: A visit to Yeak Laom Lake offers opportunities to get active, experience nature and relax in an idyllic location. Walk the perimeter of the lake (approx. 1 hour), swim at one of the platforms and relax in one of Ratanakiri’s unique locations.
- Chasing waterfalls: Further afield, Banlung town has many waterfalls to explore. Hire a motorbike, bicycle or be driven by tuk-tuk to one of the region’s waterfalls. Most impressive is 7-Step waterfall, Kachanh or Cha-Ong. Roads can get messy during rainy season so make sure you check with your guesthouse, homestay or at Yeak Laom Lake for information.
Ratanakiri, Cambodia’s northeastern province is easily accessible by road. You can reach Banlung, Ratanakiri’s provincial capital by VIP minibus. It takes approximately 7-8.5 hours from Phnom Penh, 7 hours from Siem Reap and 2.5 hours from Mondulkiri (note from experience, the journey is always a little longer than listed by the bus companies). There are a variety of bus companies offering day and night travel to and from Banlung from which the Yeak Laom community is a short distance away.
For easy and hassle-free booking, we would recommend using a fantastic local online booking platform bookmebus.com, that offers good customer service and easy access to travel times and routes for your journey.
YEAK LAOM LAKE AND TRIBAL VILLAGES
From Banlung town, Yeak Laom Lake and tribal villages are a 15minute tuk tuk ($5) or moto dop ($1.25/5000 riel) which can be found easily at the bus station, the centre roundabout or in front of the local market. Motorbikes ($5 per day) and bicycles ($3 per day) are available for rent, and their booking can easily be arranged at your guesthouse or through a local tour company.
Tampuan Indigenous Community
OTHER TRAVELLERS EXPERIENCES
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My Experience in homestays in Ratanakiri
Indigenous Homestay in Ratanakiri
Spending a night at Tampuan Homestay
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