Mondulkiri is located in south-eastern Cambodia. The province’s capital is Sen Monorom. Mondulkiri is the largest but also the most sparsely populated province in Cambodia.
It borders Ratanakiri to the north, Stung Treng province to the northwest, Kratie province to the west, and Vietnam to the south and the east.
Mondulkiri means “Meeting of the Hills” which is the perfect name for a province with rolling hills as far as the eye can see. There are many hill tribes still living in the region and more than 10 local dialects.
Mondulkiri is home to the Bunong people, many of whom are mahouts and have been living in the region for more than 2000 years. The Bunong people are predominantly animists. Animists believe that all living things possess a soul. So, the environment and all it encompasses is considered sacred. There are many hill tribes still living in the region and more than 10 local dialects.
Along with lush green hills and forest, what the area is most famous for is its spectacular waterfalls. The fertile soil means a variety of crops can be grown including strawberries, coffee, cashew nuts and rubber.
Sen Monorom is the base for exploring Mondulkiri. The beauty and tranquillity of the town and the fact that it’s so undeveloped makes for an unforgettable journey.
Once part of Kratie Province, King Norodom Sihanouk split the province and created Mondulkiri, with Sen Monorom as its capital in 1962. With evidence of local tribes inhabiting the area for over 2000 years, Mondulkiri has a rich history.
The forests and waterfalls are considered particularly sacred, and containing powerful spirits. The Bunong belief system is based on respect for nature, and that a healthy forest is vital for cultural survival.
Mondulkiri is considerably cooler than other regions in Cambodia, especially in the evenings.
Rainy season: June – October (20c – 25c)
Cool season: November- February (average 20c)
Hot season: March-May : (20c -30c)
What to Do
Mondulkiri Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary
The Mondulkiri Elephant & Wildlife Sanctuary was created in order to protect the local habitat and wildlife in Mondulkiri Province. The sanctuary is a non–profit community project developed and sponsored by a local environmental protection Non-Government Organisation (NGO).
The sanctuary hosts many ecotourism and conservation projections and protects the livelihood of the indigenous people of Mondulkiri while educating the local community on environmental issues.
The sponsoring NGO also takes responsibility for Mondulkiri’s domestic working elephants once they reach an age they are no longer able to work, and is working on an active reforestation program specifically aimed at Cambodian youth.
Boo Sra Waterfall
Boon Sra Waterfall is located around 43kms from Sen Monorom. To reach the waterfall you travel along a road rich in red soil. This spectacular waterfall falls in three stages, though the third cascade is so deeply hidden in the forest it’s unable to be reached.
Sen Monorom Waterfall
Down a rich red soil road, lined with rubber, cashew nut and coffee plantations, you will Sen Monorom Waterfall. Located only 5kms from the main town centre, the waterfall is extremely popular with both locals and tourists who join together to enjoy the stunning nature and bathe in the natural waters.
This waterfall also has three stages, the second being the most spectacular.
Rum Near Waterfall
Around 10kms from town, Rum Near Waterfall is definitely worth a visit during the rainy season when it’s at full flow. The area surrounding the waterfall is rich in fertile soil and locals are able to grow more diverse fruits and vegetables including avocado.
Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary is one the largest protected wildlife sanctuaries in South East Asia. Bordering on Vietnam, the protected forest area is under threat, though many are making a serious effort to protect the fragile ecosystems located in the area. The protected forest area also incorporates Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Phnom Nam Lyr Wildlife Sanctuary and Yok Đôn National Park which is on the Vietnamese side of the border.