Located in the northeastern part of Cambodia, Ratanakiri is an undiscovered hidden gem. Because of that, this place attracts tourists rather than any Cambodia Tour Packages of the wild, primitive nature, from nature to animals, plants, and people. This article is a collection of meager information from this province about tourist attractions, activities, and notes when traveling here. Keep on reading before preparing and traveling to this gem!

Overview Of Ratanakiri

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A small corner of Ratanakiri, with the green color of the forests and the crystal-clear lake (Source: tourismcambodia.org)

In the northeast of Cambodia, bordering Laos at Attapeu and Vietnam in Gia Lai and Kon Tum, is Ratanakiri province. The section covers an area of 10,782 square kilometers and consists of a municipality and 8 counties, with the capital being Banlung. This area is home to more than 184,000 residents, representing 1% of the country’s population. In the past, it was formerly occupied by the Khmer Loeu. However, due to the impact of the colonial war and the Khmer Rouge civil war, the indigenous people here have changed, mainly Jarai, Kreung, and Tampuan.

The terrain of Ratanakiri is varied from mountains, plateaus, and waterfalls to lowland basins and crater lakes. It was estimated that in 1997, more than 80% of the province’s area was old-growth or secondary forest, which thrived on fertile basalt soil. This land is also famous for many precious ores, such as rubies and sapphires. Tourism in the province began to develop in 2002, focusing mainly on eco-tourism in parallel with preserving traditional values. The local government also provides English language and tourism skills programs for locals to improve the quality and better experience for visitors.

What To Do In Ratanakiri

There are plenty of things to do in Ratanakiri that Cambodian Tour Packages may suggest for travelers. However, there are the most must-visit attractions and must-try experiences:

Watch Beautiful Waterfalls

Ka Chanh

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Ka Chanh waterfall is covered with green by surrounding trees (Source: Internet)

Ka Chanh is a waterfall in the commune of the same name, named by the Kreung ethnic group. This 12-meter-high waterfall is about 6 km southeast of the capital Ban Loung. It originates from the Kan Teung Canal and empties into the Sere Pok River, Lum Phat district. Along the canal are rubber plantations leading upstream, providing shade and stunning views. After descending 72 wooden stairs, visitors will reach the foot of the waterfall, which is suitable for camping, picnicking, and swimming in the cool blue water. In addition, here, they also provide elephant riding and experience services; you can book in advance.

Ka Tieng

About 7 km southwest of Ka Chanh is Katieng waterfall in Lbang I commune, Lumpart district, where you can ride an elephant here. The waterfall is named after the Kreung hill tribe, Ka Kieng village. This spot is about 10m high, with a flow throughout the year. The scenery around the road to the waterfall is lined with forest trees, suitable for picnicking, sightseeing, and relaxing. It is also one of the places less visited by tourists, so it is quite quiet for those who want to find a peaceful little corner.

Cha Ong

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Cha Ong waterfall with a large cave-like dome below (Source: Tripadvisor)

About 2 km west of Ban Loung town is Cha Ong waterfall, located in the forest of Cha Ong village, far from O’Chum. It is the highest waterfall in Ratanakiri, about 25m, with the flow originating from Phnom Eysei Patamak and Phnom Svay.
Visitors can go to the stream below it to comprehensively view the waterfall, with a large cave and many large rocks. You can rest in the cave and immerse yourself in this natural flow or sit on those rocks to see its magnificence.

Experience Highland Tour

Highland Tour, founded in 2010, is a company dedicated to providing guided tours around Banlung. The staff can speak Khmer, English, French, and indigenous languages. Visitors may have jungle trekking trips for one day or optional days, staying in homestays of ethnic minorities. The trips are intended to help travelers immerse themselves in the local culture, from the surrounding nature to traditional customs, beliefs, and food culture, especially the local dolphin dish.

Challenge Sona Trekking

Sona Trekking is provided by an experienced local guide, Keo Sona. In addition to ethnic minority languages, he can also speak English, Lao, and a little French. This service offers trekking trips lasting from 1 to 7 days, depending on visitors’ needs. Visitors can join the trip to experience the locals’ life, customs, food, and nightlife, including a campfire. Moreover, the instructor can provide more knowledge about medicinal plants, dangerous animals in the forest, and how to distinguish the types of bamboo to use as baskets or houses for local inhabitants.

What to Pay Attention When Visiting Ratanakiri

Ratanakiri is a province that attracts many tourists, but the area’s nature is still not fully developed. It can also be seen as a part of helping to preserve the wildness and history of this place. Therefore, when visiting this area, there are a few that the Cambodian Tour Packages remind you of the most:

  • Should stay in or around the capital city of BanLung: As it provides the necessary services and facilities for exploration and safety
  • Respect local customs, traditions, and craft villages: Pay attention to dress, words, and actions, should ask the guide in advance to make sure.
  • Avoid buying gems from dealers of unknown origin: There are many gem ores here, so if you want to buy them as gifts, you should ask an experienced one and require documents to confirm clearly.
  • Protect the environment: This is an absolute must when traveling, especially to natural areas.


How Far Is Phnom Penh From Ratanakiri?

The distance between Phnom Penh and Ratanakiri is around 600 kilometers. Visitors can use buses and minivans or drive themselves to move from the Cambodian capital to here. The interval will range from 7 hours 40 minutes to more than 9 hours, depending on the route.

How Many Villages Are There In Ratanakiri?

According to various statistics, there are more than 240 villages in Ratanakiri province, with more than 75% being ethnic minorities. They come from 8 main ethnic groups: Tampu, Kreung, Cha Ray, Pnov, Pnong, Ka Chak, Ka Vet, and Lun. Indigenous people are mainly farmers, and the food source is self-sufficient.


Ratanakiri not only hides the wild beauty, with diverse flora and fauna, but also the long-standing cultural customs of the locals. You will have invaluable experiences as you acquire new knowledge about plants, foods, and beliefs. Referring to Cambodia tour packages, finding the right itinerary and guide is essential at the beginning of the trip. Bear your mind that you should take the necessary notes when coming to this area to immerse yourself in the new and most complete!

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