Our trip to Mondolkiri (and Kratie + Kampong Cham) was terrific. Steve and Jodi had access to a truck which made independent travel much easier - especially since Aya came along ;)
Mondolkiri ranged from cool to freezing - it was amazing! Aside from the high altitude, the rain + humidity made it even colder. The downside was the slippery roads, which delayed us more than once.
Bou Sraa Waterfall
The waterfall is magnificant but the less known hike down the opposite side of the falls was breathtaking. Complete with swamp crossings and jungle ladders, great views are available for the adventurous.
Our truck was the centerpiece of at least 2 adventures. The first was a dissapearing act. On closer inspection, the truck had creeped backward across a parking lot 50m to nessle itself inbetween a pile of bricks and a tree. It must have had the perfect tilt since it missed several trees and support beams for the carpark along the way. And the best part - no damage to the truck or the parking lot fence!
The second was getting stuck on the way to Leng Khin Falls. The road was so slippery we had to turn around but then we couldn't go up any hills. We spent more than an hour ripping vegetation out from the side of the road to coat the slippery road in foliage. Our efforts proved successful as it only took us 4 hours to get back to the main road (including a truck river-wash)
We saw the signs for a few days before finally committing ourselves to finding the place. And there were definitely a few times where we second guessed ourselves and thought about giving up.
Like when we pulled up to the last 'Bananas' sign which pointed straight down a rabbit trail surrounded by jungle. Or when we got to the end of the track and were met with a rundown wooden house and a bulldog guarding the front steps. Or when the German owner assured us Bananas was open (even though she was wearing her pyjamas) and ushered us THROUGH her house to her back 'patio' and sat us at a crumbling wooden table near a creek. Or when I had to use the bathroom and she motioned me towards a toilet in the jungle stained with who knows what and open to the elements (there was a door, but it had so many holes in it, it didn't need to be there). I prayed hard the entire time I did my business that no other brave souls would walk down her rabbit trail and catch me mid-pee. Or when the power kept on switching off leaving us in pitch-black, mosquito-filled darkness. Or when our new German-owner-friend went on a tirade about how much she hates Mondulkiri and missionaries and Cambodians and we just stared at her in silent amazement.
But in the end, it was all worth it. The food was incredible. Think gourmet European food - bisque and duck and salad and passionfruit mojitos (that's not really european, but you know...), and eggplant parmesan. And it tasted even better considering it all came out of a shack in the woods made by a rather feral (as someone described her later!) host.