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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Ratanakiri

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Ratanakiri province, also called "Rotanah Kiri" (“the land of red earth”) is a province in remote north-east Cambodia. Due to its isolation, Ratanakiri is among the least populated and least developed regions of Cambodia. It has very limited access to governmental services.

 


The province extends from the mountains of the Annamite Range in the north, across a hilly plateau between the Tonle San and Tonle Srepok rivers, to tropical deciduous forests in the south. In recent years, logging and mining have scarred Ratanakiri's environment, long known for its beauty. Ratanakiri is one of the two finest destinations for ecotourism and adventure travel in Cambodia, along with Mondulkiri.

 

Tonle San


For over a millennium, Ratanakiri has been occupied by the highland Khmer Loeu ethnic people. During the region's early history, its Khmer Loeu inhabitants were exploited as slaves by neighboring empires. The slave trade economy ended during the French colonial era, but a harsh Khmerization campaign after Cambodia's independence again threatened Khmer Loeu ways of life. The Khmer Rouge built its headquarters in the province in the 1960s, and bombing during the Vietnam War devastated the region. Today, rapid development in the province is altering traditional ways of life.