In the north of Cambodia lies Ban Lung, a busy city with a beautiful market where ethnic minorities from the area try to sell their stuff. If you want a few days of “back to basics”, then the jungle of Ban Lung is a beautiful area to go through for three days. It’s really pretty primitive, so think about it. For example, you sleep in a hammock for the first night, equipped with mosquito net! The second night you spend in a small tree house, accessible by a steep staircase. Toilets and showers are not found on the way. You wash yourself in the river and go into the bushes for a number one or number two.
During the tour, there are usually two guides, one that speaks reasonable English and a guide from one of the tribes in the region, who knows the area like the back of his hand. If only one guide goes, chances are you only have the “local expert” who can’t speak English.
Primitive Tour at Ban Lung
On the first day, you mainly walk through the jungle over a reasonably passable path that is not steep anywhere. At the end of the afternoon, you arrive at a waterfall. Here, you can swim and rinse the sweat off. The hammocks are hung up and the guides will make a delicious dinner for you in a primitive way. For example, they stuff pieces of meat and vegetables into a bamboo stick, which is put in the campfire. Rice is cooked in a saucepan above the campfire. After a while everything is cooked and you enjoy a delicious meal.
On the second day, you first walk through the jungle. After a while, you arrive at a river. Here, the local guide cuts down huge bamboo sticks at least 12 feet in length. He makes a big raft in just a few hours. Meanwhile, you prepare lunch together with the guide. Everything is kept warm in large banana leaves, which you get from the jungle. You then leave on the big raft. On the way, you see small settlements, where the locals are doing laundry in the river, washing themselves or fishing. You will also regularly encounter herds of buffalo cooling off in the river. A few times you go by some rapids, but the bamboo raft keeps afloat well and there is never any danger.
Sleeping in a tree house
That evening we slept in a small tree house. We climbed up a steep staircase and dived into our bed. It was special to sleep so high up and hear the sounds of the jungle at night. The last morning, you are up early to walk to a place where you will see a very nice sunrise. Beautiful to see the colours of the sun appearing above the fog in the horizon. Then you walk to the settlement where the local guide resides. Here, you have one last lunch. After that, you go back to Ban Lung and enjoy a shower in your hotel.
We booked this tour at Parrot Tours in Ban Lung. There are another two good companies. They are all in the same street and they can tell you where to find their offices at your hotel.