Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A splash of untapped beauty at Oryas Waterfall in Ratanakkiri

A splash of untapped beauty at Oryas Waterfall in Ratanakkiri

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Located in the Lam Av village of Koh Pang commune in Veun Sai district, the beautifully isolated falls cascade down 40m into the Sesan River. Yousos Apdoulrashim

A splash of untapped beauty at Oryas Waterfall in Ratanakkiri

The Oryas Waterfall of Ratanakkiri province is one of the few places in the Kingdom that has remained untouched and unexplored. Once tapped though, it has the potential of boosting the eco-tourism for two of Ratanakkiri’s ethnic minorities.

Located in the Lam Av village of Koh Pang commune in Veun Sai district, the beautifully isolated falls cascade down 40m into the Sesan river. Aside from visiting the falls, tourists can enjoy the multi-day journey involving a boat ride, a trek, and sight-seeing in a village.

Specialising in jungle treks and half-day excursions around Ratanakkiri, Green Jungle Trekking Tours-Cambodia co-founder Om Rithy has created many custom tours for guests who are up for the adventure.

“Normally, we have three or four guides for tourists – one speaks English, two are minority peoples, and one acts as an assistant in charge of transportation and other assigned jobs.

“Tourists can spend one or two days for trekking to the [Oryas] Waterfall in Koh Pang,” says 32-year-old Rithy.

Chab Vael, 27, a Kachak minority, is one of the local guides in the village. Vael takes tourists by boat to venture along the Sesan river, docking at the Koh Peak commune.

They then embark on a three-hour hike through the forest of the nearby Koh Pang commune before catching a glimpse of the Oryas Waterfall.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Aside from visiting the falls, tourists can enjoy the multi-day journey involving a boat ride, a trek, and sight-seeing in a village. Yousos Apdoulrashim

“Tourists spend an hour driving from Banlung district to reach the dock. I then take them for a boat ride along the Sesan river for about an hour to the far edge of Koh Peak commune. Then we walk for three hours,” says Vael.

Ashore, the tourists are greeted by the indigenous peoples and the rice fields of Koh Peak’s Tumpoun village.

Vael, who married at 17, tells The Post: “Most Kachak people are farmers and some of them earn from transporting tourists to destinations and selling food.”

On the way to the forest, the tourists spend an hour walking in the village of Tumpoun. Passing through, Vael does not forget to let them soak up the landscape and observe the peoples’ way of life.

After two hours of trekking through the forest, the burble of the waterfall starts to reach the ears of the tired tourists. A huge wooden hut also comes into view, where visitors could relax and have a meal before heading to the falls of Koh Pang’s Lam Av village.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

At about three in the afternoon, a German couple arrived with a local guide at the hut to take a rest after a long hike.

A German tourist who wanted to be known only as Florian tells The Post that he and his wife had never visited the country before but the couple was now on a four-week tour in Cambodia.

“[We] travelled from Ho Chi Minh city [Vietnam] to Phnom Penh, [and the provinces of] Kampot, Kampong Chhnang, Battambang, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kratie, Stung Treng and [our last stop] Ratanakkiri. Then [we] continue to Laos.

“We also love trekking. We’ll spend one night in this jungle. We’re not that tired since we’ve had some trekking experience in Germany,” says Florian.

At the village of Lam Av, 37-year-old village guard Sak Kar waits to welcome tourists. “We started collecting money from tourists two years ago. Initially, we collected 20,000 [$5] for every person who wished to visit the area but changed it to 10,000 riel [$2.50] upon the suggestion of our tour agent.”

“They need to register in our book to make sure that the money will go to the commune for the benefit of all residents. For the past two years, we have worked together to build a trail to the river and a bridge across a channel,” says Kar.

Along with 270 villagers, he spares some time to clean the area and guard it for tourist safety.

“Sometimes there are no guests at all and some days we only make between 20,000 and 30,000 riel. On the good days and during the peak season, we receive around 20 to 30 people,” says Kar, who mostly spends his time at the waterfall.

After enjoying swimming in the river and taking photos at the Oryas Waterfall, Vael and the tourists take another three-hour trek on the way back to the Tumpuon village where they have the option to visit the village’s traditional grave.

“The grave visit costs 5,000 riel [about $1.25] per person. For my guiding service, I charge $15; they pay me $25 for the boat rental,” says Vael.

Though the indigenous people of Koh Pang and Koh Peak communes could benefit from the influx of tourists, eco-tourism has been down in previous years.

“The number of both local and international tourists has decreased compared to the same period last year, especially during the peak season from January to February. Foreign tourists frequent the area more than the locals,” says Rithy.

For more details, visit Green Jungle Trekking Tours-Cambodia’s Facebook page or reach them at 088 454 6466. The company charges $45 per guest for a one day and one night of adventure.

Watch video:

MOST VIEWED

  • Investors’ $14.4M projects approved

    New investments from local and foreign sources continue to pour into Cambodia despite the Covid-19 pandemic remaining a lingering threat to regional and global economies. This comes as the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to contract between one and 2.9 per cent this

  • NagaWorld casinos set to reopen, schools to follow

    NAGACORP Ltd has requested that it be allowed to reopen its NagaWorld integrated resorts in Phnom Penh after the government recently approved casinos to operate again, provided they follow Covid-19 prevention measures set by the Ministry of Health. Mey Vann, the director-general of the Ministry

  • Rubber exports stretch 17%

    Cambodia exported 97,175 tonnes of natural rubber in the first five months of this year, surging 17 per cent compared to the same period last year as the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Khuong Phalla told The Post on Thursday. Phalla,

  • ASEM supports Kingdom’s proposal to postpone meeting amid Covid

    The 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM13) scheduled to be held in Cambodia in November has been postponed until mid-2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation press statement released on Saturday said. The decision was made during a two-day meeting

  • Coffee maker roasted for producing fake product

    The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Counterfeit Committee will send a suspect to court on Monday after she allegedly roasted coffee mixed with soybeans and other ingredients, creating a product which could pose a high risk to consumers’ health. On the afternoon of July 2, the

  • Cash handout programme 80% complete

    Minister of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation Vong Soth confirmed on Thursday that the implementation of the Cash Transfer Programme For Poor and Vulnerable Households During Covid-19 had been implemented for more than 80% of the over 560,000 families. The programme was introduced one week ago.

  • Cambodia armed with money laundering laws

    Money laundering will now carry a penalty of up to five years in prison while those convicted of financing terrorists will be jailed for up to 20 years, according to new laws promulgated by King Norodom Sihamoni and seen by The Post on Thursday. Comprising nine

  • Where is Cambodia’s exit strategy that can save the economy?

    With the prospect of being slammed by a double whammy, the government is working on an economic recovery plan to deliver it from Covid-19 and the EU’s partial withdrawal of the Everything But Arms scheme in the next two to three years Cambodia is

  • Schools to be reopened in ‘three stages’

    With guidance from Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, is in the process of reopening schools in three stages. But no timeline has been set, ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said on Thursday. Soveacha said the first stage will be to

  • Kingdom, UN discuss rights

    A year after Cambodia received 198 recommendations from UN member countries, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR-Cambodia) met with the Cambodia Human Rights Committee (CHRC) to discuss following-up on the Kingdom’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and