Ratanakiri is a Cambodia’s northeastern province which shares the borders with Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, Mondulkiri Province to the south, and Stung Treng Province to the west. For a long period in its history, the Khmer, Lao had exploited Khmer Loeu residents as slaves and Thai empires dominated the region. In the French colonial period, the slave trade was stopped. After Cambodia had its independence again, a harsh Khmerization campaign threatened the life here. The region had been devastated by the Khmer Rouge in the 1960s and bombing during the Vietnam War. Nowadays, the province is rapidly developing and traditional ways of life is altered. Ratanakiri is known for its lush forests. Its population is 118,000 people, accounts for less than 1% of the country’s total population.
Inhabitants sparselylive on the hilly basalt plateau between Ratanakiri’s two major rivers.They gather 100 to 300 people in a village, though the provincial capital of Banlung (by far Ratanakiri’s largest settlement) has a population of 17,000.