Yak Loum Lake © Ethan Crowley
Rantanakiri Province is Cambodia's version of the Wild West. Situated in the northeast of the country, along the border with Vietnam, it is rather inaccessible but definitely worth the extra effort as it is an area of stunning natural beauty. Visitors travelling to Rantanakiri will discover lush tropical rainforests, volcanic lakes, pristine waterfalls and abundant wildlife including Asian elephants, monkeys, guar and many endangered bird species. The province also boasts slightly cooler weather than most of the country. Close to half of Rantanakiri province is a protected area in the form of the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. One of the key tourist attractions is Yak Loum, a perfectly round crater lake with crystal-clear waters, surrounded by dense jungle foliage. The lake is great to swim in and a relatively short distance from the town of Banlung. There are interesting villages to visit which allow for authentic cultural experiences.
Be aware that the roads in this region are not great; they are very muddy when it is wet and covered in thick red dust that makes everyone appear orange in the dry season. Boats are a popular mode of transport for scenic trips. As a destination for the eco-tourist or adventure seeker Rantanakiri is a paradise.