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- Kratie -

"So off we went, on a sunset boat ride on the Mekong River. Honestly, if I hadn’t seen a single dolphin, I still would have been happy with my decision to fork over the extra cash and go. Cruising along the Mekong at sundown was serene and relaxing. The sunset was radiant.
So, we did see quite a few (about five) Irrawaddy dolphins playing in the Mekong. I wouldn’t say that it is worth the effort to journey to northeast Cambodia just so see some dolphins swimming in a river. If you do love wildlife and appreciate getting a glimpse of an at-risk species, then it may be worth it to you."

The town

Kratie is one of Cambodia's eastern provinces with less population, who make their lives on the riverbanks of the Mekong. Beyond the riverbanks it is a remote place with almost no population and thick-forested areas to calm down. The provincial capital is also called Kratie and lies also on the banks of the mighty Mekong River, which emboss the province from the North to the South.

The stretch of the river around Kratie town is the home to a group of rare sweet water Irrawaddy dolphins. Therefore the dolphins are the main tourist attraction of the province and the town. The river also has hundreds of green island, and circling water, which are also a nice attracting to some tourists.
Kratie town is sleepy, but picturesque with sandbars and big islands out front and bends in the river. Unlike in many towns around Cambodia, the war years were fairly kind to the French architecture and the roads, at least in the town itself.

The best spot to watch the dolphins is Kampi village, 15 km north from Kratie. There are only around 85 dolphins in the Mekong, but there is a very good chance to see some at Kampi.

 

As river dolphins, these animals don't generally approach boats show curiosity towards tourist boats like some marine dolphins do. There is no best time of day to see the dolphins as their activity patterns don't change much over the course of the day, though it can be pleasant with the setting sun late in the day, and fiercely hot in the early afternoon.


irrawaddy dolphin

There are some nice-looking homes of French and Khmer style scattered about, adding to the pleasant feel of the place. You'll also find a bustling market which is a great place to watch frogs being skinned (and escaping first through the holes in the nets), sample some delicious foods (such as freshly grilled corn cakes) and generally take in rural Cambodian life. The rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins make their home in the Mekong River, just north of Kratie. With only around 120 remaining, they are surely worth a visit. Whether you are just on a trip seeing the river towns along the Mekong or taking a full circuit trip around the east and northeast, Kratie is a nice place to spend a night or two. The river scene of Kratie has a beautiful river boulevard with dozens of snack and drink stands in the late afternoon and evening, making this a nice spot to chill out and watch the people parading by. There are also a few big concrete decks along the river scene. The river road is a great place for a stroll or jog. Enjoy the dramatic sunsets over the Mekong.

Whether you are just on a trip seeing the river towns along the Mekong or taking a full circuit trip around the east and northeast, Kratie is a nice place to spend a night or two. The river scene of Kratie has a beautiful river boulevard with dozens of snack and drink stands in the late afternoon and evening, making this a nice spot to chill out and watch the people parading by. There are also a few big concrete decks along the river scene. The river road is a great place for a stroll or jog. Enjoy the dramatic sunsets over the Mekong.


The Mekong River

Kratie province is 11,094 square kilometres big, which is categorized into several areas such as 83% forest, agricultural land 8% and red land 0.5% in Snoul district.
It's located in the East of the country and is bordering to the North with Stueng Treng, to the East with Mondulkiri, to the West with Kampong Thom and to the South with Kampong Cham.
The province consists mainly of thick forested area, where you still can see the 1970-75 bombings due to big craters in the countryside, some filled with water. You also may find the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations, even if it's just a small percentage of agriculturally used land concerning the rest of Cambodia. The province features the biggest river of the country (approx. 140km of it), the mighty Mekong with its small rapids and critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins.


Buying French Bread