Far from all the commotion and attention-grabbing cities of the central and southern parts of Cambodia, travelers who do make an effort to visit Banlung, Cambodia, will be rewarded with peaceful rolling hills and a tranquil atmosphere.
Located in the province of Ratanakiri, Banlung is situated in the northeastern corner of Cambodia. It is well over five hundred kilometers from the capital city of Phnom Penh, and almost just as far from Siem Reap, which often puts travelers off from visiting this city.
Banlung itself is a dusty and rugged city; while not particularly picturesque or exceptionally interesting, the city does have a central market that sells all the basic needs such as produce, fruit, meat, clothes, toiletries, and other household goods. There is also a surprising amount of restaurants available, serving both local and Western foods.
However, what typically draws visitors to this part of the country is the nature. All around Banlung are dipping valleys and free-flowing hills offering stunning views. There are also many waterfalls, lakes, grass plains, and forested areas.
One of the more popular spots close to Banlung is the Yeak Laom Volcanic Lake, around six kilometers away from the city center. It's a volcano crater that is now filled with freshwater; this spot is a local favourite. Within the park's vicinity, visitors can find easy walking trails lined with thick forests. Swimming and picnicking are also favourable activities here too.
In Banlung, many also opt for trekking experiences surrounding and within the Virachey National Park and visiting minority villages. Currently only one tour company has the license to operate tours within the boundaries of the Virachey National Park.
There are plenty of budget accommodation options available in Banlung. There are a handful of Banlung, Cambodia hostels available, however they are often basic and in poor conditions. Instead, guesthouses might be a better option, as there are plenty, and some establishments can be considered somewhere between guesthouse and hostel.
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