Gosselin family in the rubber plantation
The group summiting the hill behind nature lodge
Steve + Aya sipping a 'balcony bucket' in Kratie
Amie + Aya having a good chuckle
At the stage where everything goes in the mouthGosselins above the Bou Sraa waterfall MondolkiriSteve + Aya having a good timeAmie at the second tier of Bou Sraa waterfall MondolkiriBreak in the road eastern Kg. Cham.  Need to turn the truck around 3 hour loss.Entrance to 'Bananas' restaurantAmie + Aya at Sen Monorom waterfallSteve and Aya inspecting the sandbagging in Kg. Cham cityAmie + Steve in the rubber plantationAya stole the show in all rural areasLook at aya's legsMotherhood in the 2010sAmie + Steve at the 'sea forest' near Sen MonoromJodi + Steve at the 'sea forest' near Sen MonoromAya + AmieGoofy JodiAya never closes her mouthSteve meets a kittyAmie, Aya + Jodi hanging out at the bunker near Kg. Cham airstripAmie + Aya at Wat Nokor Kg. ChamAya holding dad's beer in the rubber plantationAya tasting coconut didn't go well after thisAya dragged along hikingSwamp cross hiking down to Bou Sraa 2nd tierAmie decending to Bou Sraa 2nd tierThe road near Bou Sraa waterfallSteve + AyaThe Steve's helping to fix a flat tire just had a great ideaFlying Papayas!Steves and Jodi at entrance to Nature LodgeAmie caught posing at the 'sea forest' near Sen Monorom

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 😉

Highlights:

Temperature

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.

The Truck

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)

-steve-

Bananas

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…

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