A short trip through rubber plantations will take you to the waterfalls, on the way back we shall stop by Lake Yalaom, a round lake surrounded by the forest, to have a swim (ideal for the first afternoon)
Direction northwest today, we cross bamboo forests before reaching the village of Voeune Saï (35km) located on the left bank of the Sé San river ; the view on the Chinese village on the other side of the river is quite pretty.
Besides, this place is nearly a Chinese enclave in Cambodian territory, most villagers, who are there the thirties, don’t even speak Khmer.
Upstream of the Sé San are a certain number of Tampoun and Katcha villages that practice funeral statuary ; if it is possible, we will take a boat to go to the village of Koh Peak that has superb totems, if not we shall reach it by car.
Today we head north towards Laos and the village of Taveng We come first to a clearing in the forest which is paved with lava. A few hundred meters from this clearing there is a waterfall – in the rainy season of course –surrounded with tiger caves. Then we shall stop at different villages situated on each side of the road. About two thirds of the way we shall come to a big village on the right where (according to the season) you will see very high bachelors’houses ; When the young men marry, their houses are destroyed to be rebuilt by younger ones at the following season.
This is a long day ; we head east, towards the border of Vietnam on a very good road. We drive through rubber trees and cashew nuts plantations and stop at Bokeo for refreshments. Then we can decide to take a look at the nearby Bokeo zircon mines or drive directly north to the Se San river on which we shall take a boatride. After a 90 minute ride in the middle of a beautiful nature we reach an abandoned Jaraî village which has an interesting cemetery. Many wooden statues accompany the dead in their last trip.
We head north east across bamboo forests to the village of Voeun Sai on the left bank of the Se San river, the view on to the Chinese village on the other side is particularly attractive; this region is almost a Chinese enclave in Cambodian territory, as a number of villagers still do not speak the khmer language even though they have been living there for generations.
Upriver we shall find a number of Tampoun and Katcha villages who are famous for their funeral statues. We get there by car and cross the river by boat to visit the graveyard. We carry on upriver, if we wish so, we may stop in another village that houses a graveyard, similar to the other one but less visited, then we reach a big island in the middle of the Se San river. We organize the camp : mats on the beach, campfire… and the evening can start. We leave in the morning after breakfast and go back to Terres Rouges.
You will reach the place through immense rubber tree forests planted by the French in 1961 and what is left of the Tampoun forest – the Cambodian immigrants have been burning it for six years to turn it into fields – the Three Districts is a kind of favela that was inhabited by three thousand people lost in the middle of the forest ; the zircon rush has completely transformed the place : there are hundreds of shafts 60cm wide and 12m deep, down which the miners go without any protection, only lit by candles ; accidents do occur. Right now most of of the miners have left for the Bokeo area which seems more promising, but some already came back. A few miles from the mines you find the « seven steps river » thus called because it is interrupted by as many overhanging rocks ; it is a pleasure to bathe in these waterfalls