Ban Lung was a last-minute addition to our itinerary, but the past two days have proven it to be a good decision. It’s not on the main highway that runs from the border to Phnom Penh, but at the end of dirt road four hours off the highway. It is an incredibly dusty place as all the roads except one are dirt. Trucks and motorcycles are continually spewing exhaust and kicking red dust up into the air. Many people wear surgical masks around town, while others occasionally lift their scarves or hands to cover their nose and mouth. And despite being a small place, its definitely crazier than anywhere in Lao- the market is insane, the town is crowded, and people, bicycles, and motorcycles are everywhere. It really feels to good to be a happening place again. Plus, the Khmer people are great. Everyone we’ve met so far has been friendly, nice, treated us fairly, and spoken better English than Lao or Thailand.
can you see Joylani?
Yesterday we hired a motorcycle to take us to Ta Kieng, a waterfall about 10km away. It took a lot longer than it 10km usually takes, since the roads were so bad; sometimes we were just bouncing up and down and back and forth as we rode over tons of bumpy rocks and holes. At some points, we were riding on a balance-beam of road between meter-deep potholes on either side. When we couldn’t drive any further, we hopped off a walked a couple hundred meters to the falls, where the tame stream picked up speed and roared down into large clearing below. We descended some nearby stairs into the bowl of rock. Down there, it was shady, misty, and cool, which didn’t exactly make me want to go swimming. But then I saw some vines across the pool. So we walked back around the waterfall to the other side where I had a couple gos at swinging from the rocks into the pool.
Joylani cannonballing into the lake
After lunch in town, we got another moto that took us to Boeng Yeak Lom, a crater lake 5km east of town. It was amazing. A circle of crystal clear water surrounded by jungle all the way around. It’s a actually been made into a park that is administered by the local tribe, so its well taken care of. Lots of families and groups of kids were picnicking or swimming. There were two docks on the lake, each with wide wooden steps descending into the water. I preferred jumping off the railings though, rather than slowly descending the steps. The water was the perfect temperature- cool, but not cold. It was super clear too, as I look down and see my feet clearly as I tread water. We spent a few hours there and liked it so much that we spent all of today there too- swimming, talking, and hiking around the rim of the crater. Ban Lung is definitely out of our way, but we’ve been plenty rewarded for coming and its been a great first impression of Cambodia.