In less than an hour, we reached Kachon (N13 58.305 E106 53.331). After paying US$1 for admission, I was led to the Tompuon cemeteries located inside the jungle, a short distance from the village. According to Tompuon customs, families are buried together and tombs are companied with effigies of the deceased. Wealthier families have concrete tombs and shelters. Not very sure if it will be disrespectful, I asked the guide if I could take some photos. He nodded and I quickly snapped some shots.
I woke up to a chilly morning. Voen Sai, Chunchiet cemeteries, volcanic lakes and waterfalls were in my agenda. But I knew it would be impossible for me to squeeze in all the sights in one day. Voen Sai is 35km northwest of Ban Lung and the Chunchiet Cemeteries at Kachon is a further one-hour boat ride away. Lumkud volcanic lake is 63km to the east of Ban Lung. The waterfalls are scattered in the south and located as far as 35km from Ban Lung. Well, I will just plan and improvise along the way.
My first stop was the protected area of Yeak Lom (or Yak Loum or Yeak Laom). Located 5km east of Ban Lung, Yeak Lom lake (N13 44.009 E107 00.974) is believed to be created 700,000 years ago as the caldera of a large volcanic crater. The indigenous inhabitants of the area, the Khmer Leu hill tribe people, have long considered the lake as a sacred place where spiritual creatures reside. I reached the lake before 7am and both the ticketing booth and visitors center were closed. There was nobody around. It was peaceful. The beautiful lake was a pristine blue and exceptionally clear.
Almost perfectly round, Yeak Lom lake is 45m deep and 750m in diameter.