In the 1970s, the Sen Monorem and Ou Reang areas were fairly heavily bombed – for reasons still not well-known. The area to the north of the runway – in what is now a tree plantation – was heavily hit, including possibly one strike from a B52 so it may be wise not to wander off the beaten track here. The only other place in town known to be hit is the old bridge, 50 m north of the current bridge at the bottom of the main street. This caused the main road to be diverted to its present route afterwards.
Land mines are not a problem in this area, but the area has always been considered a low priority for the clearance of unexploded bombs, so do take care when wandering around and listen to the advice of locals.
See the very important warnings on the Dak Dam page
With the occasionally ferocious high winds in the area, the practice of burning fallow and last year’s grass can get out of hand very fast. We came very close to being burnt out of the Arun Rea II guest house when the burning of a neighbouring field got out of hand. The fire spreads incredibly fast, and with flames 50 feet high, can be very difficult to extinguish. The fire came to within 2 metres of one line of buildings and to within 10 metres of our cabins. With huge amounts of smoke and the dust kicked up by the wind, it is a frightening experience. The locals will be grateful for any assistance given but do take care. Be prepared to evacuate the area with your passport and key possessions within one minute. It’s particularly important not to get cut off by the fire, but remember that once an area has been burnt through it will slow or stop any successive waves of fire. Note that part of the local skill in fighting fires with no water is too light fires ahead of the main wave to create a burnt zone. However this controlled burning can also et completely out of hand as well, as we saw!
It took an exhausting four hours to control this particular fire, by which time we were covered in soot and grime. So much for our day off relaxing!