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Kratie


Kratie is an interesting town to spend a day or two. The town itself has some attractions but the main attractions are just outside town. You will need a motorbike or bicycle to explore.

Kratie, Cambodia at the Mekong river Kratie town center

The Town Center

What is there to see in town? Not a whole lot but I found it fun to scroll the market. I was surprised what I saw available especially compared to my first visit in 1995 to the town.

Kratie, at the Mekong river

There is some interesting French colonial architecture to explore. Some of the old French buildings are nowadays in use by the Cambodian government.

Kratie town center

Kratie's location at the Mekong with a straight view towards the west can generate some spectacular sunsets. Not surprising many of the street food you will find here.

Accommodation and food

There are several cheap guesthouses in town but I prefer the Heng Heng II (no spelling error, Tripadvisor has the wrong name), a hotel only a few years old. It gives similar prices as the guesthouses but it has the hotel services including cable TV.

I've stayed here in 2010 and 2013 and was very satisfied with the room and service. If you come with your own bicycle, they'll give you a room at the first floor so you can keep your bicycle in the room.

French colonial architecture

In the evening you can enjoy the sunset from the balcony as Heng Heng II is located right at the Mekong riverside. There's little need to make a reservation. The next door Heng Heng I is their guesthouse.

For food (and internet) you can go around the corner. And, as said earlier, some excellent sate is to be found at the riverside. Some of the guesthouses offer excellent food from the menu. I can recommend the Khmer curry!

Kratie Khmer curry

Fresh water dolphins

The main attraction is of course visiting the Irrawaddy fresh water dolphins, some 16 km north of Kratie town center.

I was told there's less than half a dozen living in the wild but the breeding center is doing excellent work here.

Kratie, Mekong river dolphins
This is where you hire a boat to see the Mekong dolphins

They are breeding at the moment (mid 2013) around 40 dolphins and the river population is made aware of the uniqueness of these elusive animals.

The Irrawaddy dolphin travels in between Kratie and the Khong Phopheng waterfalls at the border of Laos and Cambodia.

At Khong Island you can also try to get a glimpse of the Irrawaddy dolphins. I tried to see them here twice but more than a few fins and a head coming above the waterline I didn't see. The dolphins are very shy, maybe due to over fishing in the Mekong.

Koh Trong and Sambour

Should you cycle from Stung Treng, Sambour is an option to explore. It's a few km north of Sandan. To reach Sandan and Sambour, travel another 15 km to Sandan and 12 to Sambour.

Sandan village center
Sandan village center

Sandan has little to offer than a few refreshments but Sambour is more interesting with 16th century Wat Sarsar Mouy Roy (destroyed in the 1970's by Pol Pot). Here you can enjoy traditional dancing or join a Khmer cooking class (this can be arranged through the amazingly friendly Tourist Office in Kratie).

There is a turtle hatching station and you might be lucky (I wasn't) to see them being released.

Koh Trong is nice enough for riding the bicycle around the island in the middle of the Mekong. There is a homestay which might be an excellent way to find out more about the connection between the local Cambodians and their connection with the Mekong river. For the cyclist coming from Stung Treng, this could be an excellent overnight stay and shorten the distance between Stung treng and Kratie.

The Mekong river at the point where you find the dolphins
The Mekong river at the point where you find the dolphins

Angkor/Siem Reap
Phnom Penh
Angkor -> Laos & Phnom Penh
General Cambodia

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