The crater lake of Boeng Yeak Lom

Trip Start May 01, 2010
Trip End Apr 30, 2011

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Where I stayed
Tree Top Ecolodge

Flag of Cambodia  , Khétt Rôtânăh Kiri,
Saturday, December 18, 2010

We have been unlucky with our bus journeys of late. The most recent was no exception! We crossed the border into Cambodia with no problems and got on a bus to take us to our first Cambodian destination, Stung Treng, from where we planned to do a boat trip to see the highly endangered Irrawaddy River Dolphin. Shortly after setting off, the bus ticket guy got talking to us and told us that our guesthouse in Stung Treng had closed, that dolphin watching was difficult to arrange, and that the ATM no longer worked with foreign cards. He then suggested that we go to Ban Lung instead which was further and more expensive. We thought this all sounded suspicious and wondered if he was lying to us. However, Ban Lung was our next planned destination and we reasoned that we could always go back to Stung Treng if we discovered he was indeed lying so we decided to take his word and continue to Ban Lung. After a further half an hour or so we discovered that he had told some other passengers on the bus that the bridge to Ban Lung was broken and that they would have to continue on to Phnom Penh which is about 9 hours south! On hearing this I marched to the back of the bus, where he was standing, and had some choice words with him. I was then followed by Tom who had some even choicer words with him! Eventually we ganged together with some other passengers who also wanted to go to Ban Lung and he arranged for a bus coming the other way to stop and take us back north. Remarkably the bus was going to Ban Lung where we arrived 5 hours later!

After this stressful start, we were very pleased when we arrived at the Tree Top Ecolodge, a small resort style place with big wooden bungalows overlooking a jungly valley, and very reasonably priced. The main reason for coming to Ban Lung, other than its setting in a remote part of Cambodia, was Boeng Yeak Lom, a large blue crater lake surrounded by tall trees. The ethnic minorities of the area consider the lake sacred and believe that there are mythical creatures living in its depths. When we arrived at the lake we were not at all disappointed. The water was a beautiful shade of blue and looked very inviting. Dotted around one side of the lake are large wooden jettys with steps down into the water. We chose the furthest one from the entrance and spent the whole day here swimming and reading. In fact we liked it so much that we spent the whole of the next day there too!

After our not so promising start to the people of Cambodia, we can easily say that everyone else we have met has been lovely with smiles and 'hellos' very forthcoming. Tomorrow we head south to Kratie, another good location to go dolphin watching.
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