The eight-hour trip on the bus to Mondulkiri was the longest journey of my life. To reach the final destination of our class trip to one of Cambodia’s most beautiful places we passed through Kandal, Kampong Cham and Kratie provinces. It wasn’t going to all fun on the trip, as my classmates at the Department of Media and Communication at RUPP and I were divided into groups to do class projects about eco-tourism, however, we were sure to find plenty of time for fun on the trip.
Being used to watching never ending traffic and looking at buildings that reach high into the sky, I really enjoyed the view along the way to Mondulkiri, filled with various types of trees, expansive fields and rolling mountains. Once the long trip was finally over we were dropped off at the city centre, where we checked out the central market and surrounding parks. The market was small and unimpressive and the park was filled with dust instead of flowers, so we weren’t anxious to stick around.
Since 80 percent of the population was comprised of ethnic minorities, making me think it would be rural and lack a lot of modern influence, I was surprised to see there were plenty of guesthouses and karaoke bars nearby. It seemed there were very few differences between life out here and back in Phnom Penh.
But, after talking to some of the native people I began to notice a gap between Cambodians in the city and ethnic minorities in the country side. The indigenous people often live alongside nature and make a living by farming and growing vegetables. Among other things, living deep in the forest or far away from civilization makes it harder for ethnic minorities to get to school and receive a proper education.
Now that industry is beginning to get started in the province, people are able to move about more and even start their own businesses in the area. We saw an example of this two nights during a party at Angkor Forest Guesthouse, where we were staying, when people were invited to dance to Khmer music and indigenous music from local minority population.
The hardest part of staying in the northern forest of Cambodia was the cold weather in the evening and especially in the morning. I had to cover myself with two blankets just to sleep, and wear a sweater whenever I left my room. Beyond that, I liked everything in Mondulkiri, especially the natural tourism sites. I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to say yes if anyone asked me to go there again.By: Dara Saoyuth
This article was published on Lift, Issue 50 published on December 22, 2010 You can also read the article on Phnom Penh Post website by CLICKING HERE
- Study Tour to Mondulkiri (saoyuth.wordpress.com)