Waterfalls, Crater Lakes & Dinner In Family Home..

Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
Trip End Dec 31, 2015

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Where I stayed
Star Hotel

Flag of Cambodia  , Khétt Rôtânăh Kiri,
Monday, January 17, 2011

We arrived in Ban Lung and got straight on the back of a motorbike – the last resort apart from walking with a heavy bag – to Star Hotel, a grand, turquoise-tiled old house that's been converted into a hotel, which is full of huge dark wood furniture. Our room and bathroom were huge and there was a random giant sized chair next to the wardrobe, which made my sixty litre ruck sack look small. 

The following morning we learned that the town of Ban Lung has one ATM and, despite trying three or four times and accruing about $16 dollars in charges, it didn’t want to give us any money.  Luckily we had about $100 dollars left in cash, which would be more than enough to get us to another town with multiple cash points….but the nearest town was seven hours away, where we’d just come from!   

We frantically scribbled numbers on a scrap of paper calculated how much our room would cost, food for three days if all we ate was rice and water, our bus to Siem Reap, to see if we’d have enough left over to do a trek.  But unfortunately if we did do a trek we would arrive in Siem Reap with about $3 and if we still had trouble getting money out we would be really stuck.

We met a man called Maden who ran a tour shop in the town.  He was really helpful dropping the price right down when we explained our predicament.  He even invited us to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with his family or to let us post him the money afterward so that we wouldn’t be leaving Ban Lung without experiencing the trek we’d traveled so far to do. 

Feeling humbled by his generosity we politely declined feeling uneasy about accepting so much from such a poor family and worrying in case we couldn’t send them the money for some reason.  We decided instead just to do a tour of the nearby waterfalls then head onto our next destination.  Maden was so kind that even though we weren’t booking a trek with him, he still invited us round for dinner that evening. 

We stopped at two waterfalls and the crater lake, but I think we had the most fun on the motto going along dusty roads through the local villages where all the kids waved at us.  The waterfalls were very different.  One was really tall and splashed onto rock from a big overhand that you could walk behind and underneath and the other was short but a lot wider and gushed into an icy pool of water that made our skin look even more orange than the dust from the road. 

We walked around the lake and met four giggling girls squirting each other (and us) with a spray bottle.  Paul asked if he could take a photo and they suddenly fell silent, had a really serious look on their faces and starting pulling out all of these modeling poses.  The youngest girl was about three years old and didn’t quite understand the peace sign so after trying to copy the others she eventually gave up and just put her index finger up!
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