Monday, October 26, 2009

Ka Chanh

Ratanakiri is a province in Cambodia's Northeast bordering both Lao and Vietnam. Long cut off from the rest of the country and a battleground during the Vietnam war, it is slowly becoming a destination of it's own despite foor transport facilities. Attractions are a mild climate, various tribes and some outstanding nature. However slowly this nature is disappearing as the primary forest is being replaced by extensive rubber plantations, changes which also result in the increased marginalisation of the original inhabitants.

The province contains many beautiful waterfalls, many still waiting to be discovered. Near Banlung (the provincial capital) local waterfalls are already well established on the tourist trail. We were there this April co-inciding with the nation's New Year celebrations. So the waterfalls around Banlung were well visited, avoiding the crowds by going early morning is just one solution.

One of the best accessible waterfalls is known by Kan Chang, Kinchaan, Kah Chahng Ka Chanh and / or Katchang. I've decided to proceed with Ka Chanh, which had the most hits with google as well as was used by Wikipedia. Lonely Planet though persists with Kinchaan which seems quite beside the pronunciation.

Ka Chanh is located just 6 km from the town center, two km back on the road to Stung Treng and then 4 km south. It is very clearly signposted and there is a big car park for which an entrance fee is required. The day we visited many kids were jumping around in the pool beneath the 7 m high falls which had been rejuvenated by recent rainfall.

Food and drinks are available locally. Banlung is the place to stay overnite. Try the Yaklom Hill Lodge, an ecolodge 2 kms out of town, for solitude and silence.

For another great experience
go for a skinny dip at the 700,000 year old Yeak Loam volcanic lake, at the end of the day.
Nice cool water.
Go any other time of the day it's packed beyond description.

More photo's of Ka Chanh falls on the seasoakingwaterfalls photo web site.

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