Tampuans live in small villages scattered throughout the Northeast province of Ratanakiri. They’ve lived here for thousands of years, practicing rotational slash-and-burn agriculture. They plant dryland rice on one tract of land for several years, until the soil gives out, and then move on, returning years later after the soil has been naturally replenished.
Recently, land grabbing and deforestation have seriously affected the Tampuan people’s traditional way of life. Thousands of Cambodians, pushed out from the crowded lowlands, and moving into the Highlands and taking land.
But Tampuans are resilient and adaptable. Now often they plant cashews, rubber, or cassava, in addition to rice, as a boost to their income. Many can read, all have cell phones, most have motorcycles to get around.
Yet they still cling to to their cultural identity , refusing to be assimilated into the Khmer majority.
On another topic, I stumbled across an interesting read by a fellow WordPress blogger about travel in Southeast Asia being a sort of “Coming of Age” for our Millennial generation. I felt his thoughts were relevant.
Visiting Ratanakiri? Find a up-to-date map of Banlung here, along with annotations and recommendations….Tags: banlung, Kampuchea, montanyard, ratanakiri