Difference between revisions of "Stung Treng"
Revision as of 03:24, 20 May 2009
Stung Treng (also Stoeng Treng) is a small town in northeastern Cambodia, and can easily be described with the word "outpost" more than anything else. Many tourists heading to/from Laos pass through here, though few stay long as Banlung and Kratie offer far more excitement, activities, and remedies.
Yes, Stung Treng does have what could be considered an airport, and Royal Phnom Penh Airways flies here for $50 one way, $95 round trip, for a journey taking about an hour. Though this is a fast way to get to Cambodia's remote northeastern provinces, it's a much better idea to head up here either overland or by boat, because there's so much to see in between here and Phnom Penh. Either option is also far cheaper than flying out here as well, so you should generally avoid the airport here unless you are pressed for time and want to get out to one of Cambodia's most remote regions.
Fast boats used to be the best way to get here, but Chinese money has made the roads a joy (at least compared to their old state!). Regular boat services north and south no longer run, though small speedboats can be chartered for trips to non-standard destinations.
National Highway 7 from the Laos-Cambodian border to Kratie via Stung Treng is being upgraded during the last year and the process is still going on. So it`s not a problem any more to do the trip by bus/ minbus in either direction. Every guesthouse will sell you a ticket. Keep in mind that it can be quiet difficult to get public transport directly at the border, so it`s worth considering buying a ticket to your "final" destination. The minibus to the border takes about 1,5h, while it`s a 4-5h drive to Kratie (much more in the rainy season)
Trucking from Kratie is also an option, and will set you back 20-25,000 riel for riding in the back of the truck, and 25-30,000 riel if you wish to ride in the cabin. As discussed on the Kratie page, trucking is somewhat less safe than other modes of transport, and can take much longer. However, trucking in Cambodia puts you in much greater direct contact with the locals (as it's locals you'll be sharing a truck with most of the time), and isn't that one of the purposes of travelling?
Since the town is so small, there's no point in using anything other than your own two feet to get you anywhere within the town itself. If you decide to see any of the area's limited sights, simply hire one of the few motodops around for no more than a couple of thousand riel.
Most tourists who end up here do so only for a couple of hours before being rushed on south to Kratie or north to the Laos border. But, like anywhere in Cambodia, you could easily spend a day here relaxing by the river (don't plan on a week here, of course). There are a couple of sights to see here, but not enough to seriously keep yourself occupied.
The only meaningful sight in Stung Treng is watching the sun set and rise over the landscape. Great for lounging in a hammock, bottle of Angkor Beer in hand, lazily chatting with your compadres.
Since the town is so small and out of the way, there isn't a whole lot to do in Stung Treng. As mentioned above, one day is enough here.
There exists a weaving co-operative towards the north end of town, which warrants a visit for the lovely fabrics and patterns they produce.
From a more sustainable and responsible point of view rather than the negativeness stated on this page: Stung treng Province is a beautiful place with some historical value as well. The Ramsar site to the nirth that connects to Laos is a real treat to explore and several (nearly extinct) Irrawaddy Dolphin pools surround this charming provincial town. Furthermore are several NGO's such as Tourism for Help and Mlub Baitong active in the region and welcome any kind of support from the travellers where needed. The town links well to Banlung (Ratanakiri) and can be used for more than just a stopover. Hikes are available to see the 4000 Islands area from the mountain top and the unique merging of 4 main rivers (also known as the Mekong plus 3 Area) makes the place for a great river exploration.
Most cheap guesthouses can be found at the riverfront or the street just behind it. Expect to pay 3$ for a small room. However, if you can spare two or three dollars, the hotels below offer much better value for money.
Border Crossing to Lao
Stung Treng is the last outpost before the Lao border. The crossing sees few visitors for the time being despite the 87 km of excellent road all the way up to the border. It's on the Lao side that the road gets extremely bumpy. However, work is underway and likely to have changed by the end of 2008. Most people that cross this border do it on a tourist bus covering also onward transport on the Lao side - ask in your guesthouse or at the travel agencies. There is no scheduled means of (public) transport to the border and even if you have a motorbike driver or a fast boat taking you there, you may have to walk on the Lao side to the village of Voeng Kham to find some form of transport (about 4 km from the border). Keep in mind that Lao does not issue Visas on arrival at this border and bring some small domination dollars to pay the "processing" fee of 1$ to 2$ on each side of the border.