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www.hotsia.com > Combodai > Stung Treng
 

Stung Treng is a northern province of Cambodia. It was formerly called Xieng Teng and was once a part of the vast Khmer Empire, then the Lao kingdom of Lan Xang and later the Lao kingdom of Champassack. During the period of French Indochina it was again ceded to Cambodia.

The provincial capital is also named Stung Treng and is an important trade hub with a few hints of Lao influence scattered about, owing to the fact that the Lao border is about 50 km away. Its a friendly, quiet country town situated on the confluence of the San River and the Mekong River. It actually sits on the banks of the San River, with the mighty Mekong coming into the picture on the northeastern outskirts of he town.

The San River goes by three names, depending on which of the locals you speak to. Some call it the Kong River because the San and Kong Rivers merge together about 10 km northeast of Stung Treng town, confusing people about which name the river should bear. Others call it the Sekong River, which is the combined name of these two rivers. Whatever name the fiver beside the town goes by, its another one of Cambodias beautiful picture-postcard river towns. Its a nice place to kick back and chill out if you are on a circuit tour of the Northeast River Scene, from here to Laos.

The San River is fronted in Stung Treng by a nice stretch of paved road. Its the centre of socializing (as in most Cambodian river towns) in the late afternoon and early evening hours as the locals ride up and down the stretch enjoying the view and each other.

Drink and dessert stands spring up earlier to serve the daily merrymaking crowd. Its a nice spot for a walk or jog any time of the day as the river road turns into a pleasant rural road that leads to the airport 4 km north of town.

The river port area just in front of the small city park is fairly busy, handling trade between Cambodia and Laos. The ferry across the San River to where National Highway No 7 continues north to the Laos border is also at this pier. The fare is 300 riel per head. We went for a ride on this stretch (2,000 riel for taking a big bike on the ferry), but there is not much to see along the way besides light jungle and some remnants next to the road that was a target of carpet bombing during the Vietnam War years (the road was recently overhauled and is now one of the best in the country). The road works its way eastward so it does not afford views of the Mekong River as one would hope. The few residents we saw along the way were truly amazed to see the likes of us, who would want to be there.

Stung Treng province, which covers an area of 11,092 square kilometres, is a remote and sparsely populated province in the northeast of Cambodia. It borders Lao to the north, Ratanakiri to the east, Preah Vihear to the west and Kratie and Kompong Thom to the south. The province is divided into five district, 34 communes and 128 villages.
Stung Treng is a unique province quite distinct from other Cambodian provinces in the Mekong basin. Extensive forests, intersecting rivers and streams and low population density characterize it. Stung Treng includes also the western chunk of the massive Virachey National Park, accessible from Siem Pang, a small beautiful town on the Tonle Kong. The province also features three big rivers the Tonle Kong, the Tonle San and the mighty Mekong with its hundreds of small islands scattered on the river stretch in Stung Treng Province.
 

 

How to get there

Air:
There is no flight operating to this province yet.

Bus:
Coming from Phnom Penh, Stung Treng town is accessible via NH No 7 (348km). There are several bus companies, such as PPT and Sorya going daily to Stung Treng. The easiest way to get there is to buy a ticket at the central bus station southwest of the central market. Sorya goes twice a day, at 7am in the morning and 12am noon. The trip will take around 7-9hours and costs approx. US$8.

Bullet Boat to Kratie:
Unfortunately, the bullet boats usually dont journey beyond Kratie. The stretch between Kratie and Stung Treng is loaded with small islands and clumps, with a fair number of dead trees thrown in for good measure. The journey is made only when the water is very high, which doesnt occur during a good portion of the rainy season. When the boat is running it beats taking a share taxi as, unlike the road, the river affords a smooth ride. The trip downriver to Kratie takes around 4 1⁄2 hours and six to seven hours coming upstream from Kratie. As of May 2000, the bullet boat was running every other day at a fare of 20,000riel. If the boats are making the run, take it- its a pretty stretch of the river. Its not sure if they still run, probably just occasionally.

Share Taxis/Pick-up:
Share taxis ply two routes from Stung Treng, one to Banlung (Rattanakiri) and the other south to Kratie.

For the trip to Banlung, bring food, water and mosquito repellent because if there is a breakdown (not uncommon) on this bumpy backwoods laterit road you may be caught in the jungle for the night. Share taxis usually go in groups in case of a breakdown, but as the other taxis are usually full as well, people do end up stranded and sleeping out in the elements at times. The five-hour trip stretches to seven hours during the rainy season (fare: $8-10 for taxi/$5-7 on the back of a Pick-up).
From Stung Treng to Kratie, the fare is about 20,000 riel.

Motorcycle:
Banlung to Stung Treng
The 146 km journey from Banlung to Stung Treng takes 5 1⁄2 hours during the rainy season, so knock at least an hour off of that in the dry season. The road is generally lousy, passing through areas of bomb craters that create deep lakes during the rainy season, but you can skirt around the perimeter of most of them. Where you cant, the road goes zigzagging through the jungle, which is slow and slippery in the wet months.
Having said that, there are a few decent stretches and the last 19 km (after the road merges with Highway 7) are fairly easy ones. The same suggestion we made in the share taxi part of this section applies for riders on this road. Bring food, water and mosquito repellent. If you have a breakdown, there may not be anyone else coming by, depending on the time of day. Its always best to get an early start to improve your chances if you do have a problem.

Stung Treng to Kratie
The recently new paved National Highway No 7 has now become one of the best roads in the whole country. The trip is 142 km and takes about 1 1/2 2 1/2 hours. There is no problem regarding security.

 

Where to eat

There are just a couple of restaurants in town, but if you are on a budget trip youll find nice very reasonable food just on the markets west front. There are some cookeries with quite a wide range of cheap Khmer, Chinese and Lao food open until the early night. Late afternoon the typical small stalls offering several fruit juices and delicious baguettes.

Mekong Blue:
This nice decorated caf and restaurant halfway from the centre to the airport is not only a place to eat but to see beautiful silk weaving settled in a gallery style. They offer light Cambodian but also some Western food.

Arunreas Restaurant:
They make the most of their parkway location by having a small sidewalk eating area. Its a pleasant enough early evening spot as the locals ride by on their evening motorcycle pleasure cruise. They have good food (Western and Khmer), and an English menu to go along with English-speaking staff.

New World restaurant:
This restaurant is just one block west from the market and offers a mix of Asian flavours from Cambodia, Thailand and China plus a fair selection of beers.

No Name Restaurant:
Located across the parkway from the Arunreas, this place is easy to spot, as it always seems to have Coca Cola and Player umbrellas set up. The food is tasty, but is prepared to try your hand at Khmer as they dont speak English and there isnt an English menu. The staffs are very friendly, though.

Kolap Stung Treng Hotel & Restaurant:
Good Khmer and Chinese food with an English menu and beer girls, to boot.
 

Where to stay

Sekong Hotel: (tel: 074/973762)
This ex-government hotel is located to the West of the boat port. Its a very pleasant place with its nice layout and location next to the San River. Bib rooms with nice old wooden furniture and a Western bath are US$ 10 a night with a fan, or a whopping US$ 20 a night to flip on the a/c. They say the electricity is expensive in these parts. Better bargains are the simple rooms in the back of the complex. They have a fan and Western bath for US $ 5 a night. The friendly Khmer lady owner has her staff (family) head to the market for warm French bread in the mornings and serves it with espresso coffee.

Sok Sambath Hotel: (tel: 012/327677)
Thats probably the best hotel in town near the market area. The rooms are well tended with TV and creature comforts like hot water for those who are willing to spend an extra dollar. They also have a Chinese breakfast in the morning. The fan rooms are quite basic but come at a reasonable price for $7 for two.

Mohasal Hotel: (tel: 074/973999)
This place is situated in the far south of the town but is therefore a quite place. The air-con rooms are a bit old so its just worth to consider them for getting away from the trouble. The rooms have big ornately carved wooden beds. The price is around $5-10.

Preap Sor Guesthouse: (tel: 012/936235)
Clean and simple rooms with a Western bath for US$ 10 a night with a fan. Its double what the price should be. Adding a/c puts the price at US$ 15.

Riverside Guesthouse: (tel: 012/439454)
This guesthouse is located next to the riverside in front of the station. It is a very friendly-run place wit basic fan rooms and bathroom. The staffs are very helpful but its mostly crowded with backpackers. The rooms are around $3-6.

Amatak Guesthouse:
Very basic rooms with a floor fan, bed and mosquito net. Its clean and there is a share bath for US$ 5 a night.
 

Shopping

As it is quite common in Cambodia even small cities, such as Stueng Treng have at least one bigger market. You may also find a market in Stueng Treng centre, which is a bustling place, selling goods from Laos, Vietnam and, of course, Cambodia. There is also a small night market that sets up on the southwest side of the market, and there are also small drink and food market shops near the Preap Son Guesthouse on the opposite side of the market. To take something special from this province along, buy some precious handmade weavery.
 

Where to see

Fresh Water Dolphin
Nowadays the dolphins live mainly in the rivers and waterways of Kratie and Stung Treng provinces. The number of these mammals is estimated to be between 40 and 60 and they are often seen travelling in small groups of 6 to 10 individuals. The females usually give birth to young once every two years most often during the months of June to August. The young dolphins are about 1m in length at birth and suckle milk. By adulthood the dolphins can attain a length of over 2.5m and weigh up to 180kg. Their diet consists mainly of small fish, shellfish and snails. The dolphins can swim at speeds up to 40km per hour and stay submerged for periods between five and ten minutes.
 

Hang Kho Ba Pagoda
Hang Kho Ba Pagoda is the cultural and historical site, located at Hang Kho Ba Village, Hang Kho Commune, Steung Treng District in Six-Kilometer distance from the provincial town by the road to the airport, then turning left across the river of Se Kong. The pagoda of Hang Kho Ba is over 300 years. The local people there speak Lao majorly.

Steung Treng province has been recognized in two special characteristics:
- The province riches in sweet tamarind fruit.
- The province riches in Pa Si Yi fish
- Pava fish.
 

Kantuy Ko
Kantuy Ko is located in Samki Village and Commune, Steng Treng District, about 4 kilometers (15mn) from Provincial Town. It is the Nature Wildlife and Preserves.
 

Koh Ksach Resort
Koh Ksach Resort is located along the river of Se Kong in 5 kilometer distance from the provincial town. The site features a beautiful sandy beach, 2 kilometers long and one-half kilometer wide, where visitor can swim or relax. A natural site, it can be visited only during the dry season and especially popular during Khmer New Year.
 

Mekong River Trip to Laos
The Mekong River between Stung Treng and the Laos border is very light on population and heavy on beautiful scenery. Boulder outcroppings, numerous sets of rapids, swirling pothole currents, wide sweeping stretches of river and forested landscape along the banks all await the boat traveler. It makes for a great trip, either for the traveler that wants to continue on to Laos or for those wanting to enjoy a wild stretch of the Mekong in Cambodia.

The trip is difficult to downright impossible to make on this shallow stretch of the Mekong during the dry season, with cont less sunken islands and a virtual forest of trees growing right in the middle of the river. The trip becomes an obstacle course for the boat drivers this time of the year, as they carefully try to choose the best way to guide their craft through the maze that nature has created without losing a propeller to the river. The best time of the year to take this trip is from May to November when sufficient upstream rains have raised the river to a level that allows the boats to pass through carefully.

There is not a whole lot to do once you get to the border area, but travelers can leave their passport with Cambodian immigration (at the small checkpoint on the west bank of the river) and cross to the Laos side to eat at a riverside restaurant and look at the tiny market in the Laos village of Geedahn. Cambodian immigration officers may ask you see them, but it is not a fee set by the central government so you dont have to pay it. There is also a guesthouse to stay at near this village (on the Laos side of the river, but a couple of hundred meters south along the riverbank where it is still Cambodia). Which was built here for border traders that lose the day light hours and need a place to spend the night. Its a nice enough place, but overpriced, with a room that includes two big beds and a fan going for US$ 8 a night. Electricity is running between dusk and midnight. To take the trip, head down to the riverbank area (near the small bullet boats just east of the pier) in Stung Treng town before 8:30 am and talk to one of the operators of the small freight boats. The fare is 15,000 riel (one way) and the trip to the border area takes about 5 hours, but is cut down to just over three hours on the trip back south as the swift current on this stretch of the Mekong pushes the boats right along.

If you want a faster journey, approach one of the small fiberglass boat operators, the ones that have the 40-hp outboard motors-they want US$ 20-$25 (one-way) to make the trip- but if you are looking for a quick trip or fast fun, the trip time going upriver is cut down to only 1 hours. The slow boats are fast enough coming back downstream so you could save money by grabbing one of those on the return trip. For those wanting to cross into Laos using this route you will need a Laoss visa in your possession and you also need to stop at the main police station in Stung Treng town (see map) to get a letter of permission to cross the border at this point. This is shown to Cambodian immigration will not let you stamp out of the country without this letter.

 

Ou Pong Moan Resort
Ou Pong Moan Resort is the natural and man-made resort which locates at Pong Moan village, Ou Pong Moan Commune, Steung Treng District in nine-Kilomter distance from the provincial town. The resort locates at the turning point to the provinces of Ratanakiri, Kratie and Steugh treng. At Ou Pong Moan resort, tourists are usually interested in:
- Ou Pong Moan has water source from the ground. The water source locates at 80-kilometer distance from the recreational site and flows all seasons. The water is suitable for swimming.
- At the riverside, there are small Kho Chos for leisure and resting.
- 10 Kwh electricity dam which is favorable for tourist development activities.

 

Phnom Preah Theat
Phnom Preah Theat is located in Thmey Village and Commune, Stung Treng District, about 2 kilometes (5mn) from Provincial Town. It is a Nature Wildlife and Preserves.
 

Preah Ko Temple
Preah Ko Temple is located in Intersection of Skong River and Mkong River, Thla Borivat District, about 3.5 kilometers (10mn) from Provincial Town.

 

Pream Buorn Lveng Temple
Pream Buorn Lveng Temple is located in Kang De Sor Village, Thala Bariwatt Commune, Thala Bariwatt District, about 6 kilometers (15mn) From Province. It is the Historical Site.
 

Thala Barivat Resort
Thala Barivat Resort is located at Thala Barivat district in 4 kilometers distance from the provincial town. This area can be accessible by going across Se Kong river and Mekong river to the provincial road of Preah Vihear.

Thala Baricvat is the historical resort in which the Preah Ko timple built in 7-8 century, made of red bred during the feign of the king, Javvarman I. In front of the temple, there is a statue of Preah Ko ( sacred cow) available in Cambodia next to the Preah Ko statue, there is a space having 10-squar meter area for playing the game of Viey khil annually, before the Khmer New Year. The game played during four days and three nights. It starts in the afternoon at 2 Oclock and lasts for two hours. The game played during the festival of the ethnic minority of Kouy.

There are many small, ancient temples near the Thala Barivat, but most of them, such as Prambuon Lveng temple, Srei temple and Angkor Kmao temple have been heavily damaged over time.

 

Wat Phnom, Stung Treng
Wat Phnom, Stung Treng Borrowing the name of the famous land mark temple in Phnom Penh, this one isnt high enough for a good view of the area, though you can see the mountains along the Lao border to the north. Anew wat is currently under construction on the site. River Scene, from Here to Laos The San River is fronted in Stung Treng by a nice stretch of paved road. Its the center of socializing (as in most Cambodian river towns) in the late afternoon and early evening hours as the locals ride up and down the stretch enjoying the view and each other. Drink and dessert stands spring up earlier to serve the daily merrymaking crowd. Its a nice spot for a walk or jog any time of the day as the river road turns into a pleasant rural road that leads to the airport 4 km north of town.

The river port area just in front of the small city park is fairly busy, handling trade between Cambodia and Laos. The ferry across the San River to where Highway 7 continues north to the Laos border is also at this pier. The fare is 300 riel per head. We went for a ride on this stretch (2,000 riel for taking a big bike on the ferry), but there is not much to see along the way besides jungle and the remnants of a road that was a target of carpet bombing during the Vietnam War years. The road works its way eastward so it does not afford views of the Mekong River as one would hope. The few residents we saw along the way were truly amazed to see the likes of us, would want to be there.

 

Wildlife
Cambodia is home to some of the most significant populations of mammalian wildlife in Asia. Endangered species such as leopards, tigers, bantams, gaur, barking deer and the near-extinct Kouprey the Kingdoms national animal and the worlds rarest large mammal have been sighted off the beaten path. In addition, wild elephants still roam remote pristine forests and monkeys and snakes abound in mountainous areas. While the international market for endangered species poses a great threat to the preservation of the Kingdoms wildlife, conservationists strive to research, document and preserve them.
 

 

 

 

 

 
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ͧѡ mr.Hotsia ç ç ѷ Brian Flatt