Samlot

Samlot is a place of truly wild beauty where tigers, bears, elephants, rare deer, peacock, civit cats, leopards, porcupine and other species of rare, endangered flora and fauna can still be found hiding in the Cardoman Mountains as can be small communities of forest monks. Plus, as the forests of Banlung have been felled for their luxury hardwood and as Rattankiri has become overrun with tourists, Samlot, whilst under threat, still remains abundantly stocked with rolling hills of virgin forest and valleys of lush and uninhabited jungle. 

Neverthless, deforestation is a major concern. Large commercial interests chop down luxury hardwood for vast profit; impoverished locals encroach on forest land and chop down trees so they can plant crops on land formerly occupied by virgin forest. Much timber finds its way over official border points between Samlot District and Thailand such as Sen Choav, 400 pass, Peam Tang and Ting Mong. Other luxury timber finds its way across the border on ox carts and pick up trucks using unofficial border passes. 
And when an area forest is chopped down everything else of value is also ruthlessly taken. Animals are trapped either, in the case of rare deer or wild forest pigs, to be eaten, or, as is the case for bears and tigers, for their body parts to sold on to the lucrative and ever hungry Chinese ‘medicine’ market via traders in Battamang. 
CMAC and MAG are continuing to demine roads and free the land for agricultural development. This is crucial work as most villages in this place of rugged natural beauty do not have sufficient agricultural land to be self sufficient in food. Many produce just enough rice (‘mountain rice’) to last just five months a year. As a comparison, Muslim Chams - considered Cambodia's poorest ethnic group - produce enough rice to last themselves nine months of the year.
One positive factor is that Samlot has begun to slip down the list of areas of Cambodia with the highest number of current mine casualties. Sadly however, one new problem is that people with small plots of land are beginning to clear land further away from demined areas and as a consequence many new mine victims are appearing on the roles. 
It’s neither a large nor spectacular waterfall but its set in a tree rimmed depression beneath blankets of vegetation; trees, creepers, ferns, lianas, bamboos and the virgin forest come in countless shades of green. The trees, including one spectacular large tree with an intricate root system running through the waterfall, provide both cool and shade and the pool of clean and clear turquoise water is ideal for swimming and bathing in.
Sadly, some signs of civilisation are beginning to appear in the form of discarded water bottles, chewing gum wrappers, shampoo wrappers and other unlovely bits and pieces of litter discarded by the occasional Khmer visitors who come to picnic and enjoy risking their lives by climbing the trees up through the waterfall in typical daredevil style. These visitors are still fortunately few in number though and the area around the waterfall is still beautiful and far from trashed. It’s an intimate, peaceful and memorable pla