Bou Sra Waterfall is a magnificent sight, tumblingthrough a gorge set in the jungle near the Bunong town of Bou Sra. It can now be reached by a 35 kilometre road that is now virtually paved all the way from Sen Monorom, cutting the journey time down to around half an hour, depending on your driving. The non-paved sections are still quite tricky, and need to be approached carefully (slowly). As you approach Bou Sra, you’ll spot coffee and pepper plantations along the way.
The dramatic three-stage falls create a natural and relatively safe swimming pool, which is popular with both locals and visitors alike during the warmer months. Beautiful nature photography is a possibility here, as is just hanging out and enjoying lunch in a relatively pristine and quiet piece of natural Cambodia. Sadly, when we visited in April 2016 in the midst of the second annual drought in a row to hit Cambodia, the falls were reduced to not much more than a trickle. Locals said they had never seen the falls reduced to such a low level. But there were still plenty of families picnicking, snapping selfies, and generally enjoying themselves under the shady trees.
Drinks and snack vendors can be found here, or you could bring along your
The site is managed by the owners of the Mayura, who have put in a visitors’ centre, proper walkways and the highest zipline in the region. They’ve also instituted a waste-management system, so the spot is mercifully free from the great piles of plastic that tend to accumulate on other Cambodian beauty spots.
Surrounding the waterfalls, beautiful, dense tropical forests are rich with birds and wildlife. We have never heard or seen so many birds in Cambodia as we did in the forests around Mondulkiri, and this site is no exception.
Entrance to the waterfalls is $2.50 for foreigners.
We didn’t have a go on the ziplines, but they were installed by the same people who set up the Flight of the Gibbon at the Angkor Archaeological Park. This means you can safely expect a brilliant ride, set up to the highest safety standards. They are the highest in Asia, with seven lines, one going right over the falls, a sky bridge. Tickets are $69 person for a half-day excursion, including pick up and drop off.
The nearby village of Bou Sra isn’t exactly a tourist mecca, but it’s pleasant to walk around and see how people live in a rather remote slice of Cambodia. Some traditional Bunong straw huts are still in existence, while most people reside in large, stilted wooden houses, with higher ceilings than lowland Cambodian dwellings.
The Bunong weaving centre employs women making traditional shawls — an art almost lost after the murderous Khmer Rouge era — and these attractive cotton weavings can be purchased on-site for the princely sum of $4 or $5 each. The people of Bou Sra are facing slow cultural destruction, as foreign rubber plantations cut down the forests from which they used to forage. These slash-and-burn plantations can be viewed from the road on the way into town — a not-so-heartening look at Cambodia’s possible economic future.
Full day tours can be arranged from most guesthouses which include a stop at Bous Sra Waterfall, a local coffee plantation, Phnom Doh Kromom Pagoda and an English speaking guide. The cost is around $20 per person on the back of a motorbike or $60 to rent a car which can hold up to five people.
By Nicky Sullivan
Last updated on 15th May, 2016.