Banlung, or Ban Lung depending on how you like to spell Khmer words is the capital of Ratanakiri province in Eastern Cambodia. I decided to go there. Here’s the Ban Lung guide.
Getting to Ban Lung
It’s about 8 hours from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and 3-4 from Stung Treng. If you’re driving there’s lots of thieving Khmer policemen ready to separate you from your money, keep to the speed limit!
What’s Banlung like?
It’s a really cool out of the way jungle type city. If you like rural cities with a laid back atmosphere then you’ve hit the honeypot.
What to do in Banlung?
Coming here is all about going to visit the villages of the local minorities. To do this you’ll require a local guide.
There’s also the lake. This is a volcanic lake you can apparently swim in. There’s lots of hawkers selling crap. There’s also a lot of supposedly good honey and Khmer beef jerky for sale. I tried an extremely weird almost savoury honeycomb type thing. I’ll write more about it later, but it tasted a lot like vomit.
There’s a couple of waterfalls in Banlung, but you’ll need to go by motorbike.
Street food Banlung
The town itself has a great few streets with big food markets. Standard Khmer cuisine, such as lort cha is everywhere. One little highlight though was a random schrawma/kebab stand. This made our night. Best kebab in Banlung? Why not.
Surprisingly good for such a small town. There’s small bars littered everywhere, even a “Reggae Bar” which I assume is where you buy weed. The mainstay is Balcony Bar, which is also where we stayed. They have $1 Anchor Beers, can’t say fairer than that!
Sleeping in Banlung
One of the highlights of the town is the plethora of extremely cheap and decent hotel options. There’s high end resorts for those who require it down to $3 huts and home stays.
We stayed at Balcony Hotel which had good rooms for 9 bucks, huts for 3, a great bar and an actually clean swimming pool.
Ban Lung isn’t earth shattering, but there’s stuff to do here.