Dolphin Watching at Kratie

Kratie Travel Blog

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I set off on a 6 hr bus ride from Phnom Penh to Kratie at 7.15am in the morning. I didn't know I was in for a hell ride. Haha. I wasn't that bad really. There just wasn't enough space in the storage compartment under the bus so had i to put my backpack infront of me so I hardly had space to move my legs throughout the 6 hrs. To make matter worst, I was sitting next to this old lady whom had 3 times as much stuffs as me. She was probably doing her monthly grocery shopping in Phnom Penh and heading back to the village. Her stuffs basically blocked up my exit and I was basically trapped in my seat. I almost freaked out when I nearly missed my stop as no one told me when the bus stopped at Kratie.
Kami viewing site
There was no announcement, neither was there any fellow traveller (whom speaks English) whom was getting off together that I could check with.
The bus just stopped briefly and dropped off some locals. I just continued sitting for another 5 minutes and finally sensed something was wrong knowing that the bus had travelled long enough and frantically called out to the bus driver, "Kratie! Kratie!" The driver didn't really understand what I was trying to say because they pronounce "Kratie" as "Ka-che". Thankfully he finally understood what I meant and told me to get off. I probably will be heading further north for another 3-6 hrs had I missed the stop.

Kratie is a small province beside the Mekong river. It is also the best place to find the very rare river dolphins Irrawaddy.
This place is tranquil and not as busy and touristy as Phnom Penh. I was probably down on my luck for the entire trip as I fell for yet another tourist trap, even in a small town like Kratie.
I thought I did my research well on accommodation and had decided on staying in this guesthouse called You Hong. As usual, I had people rushing to me recommending a 'good' guesthouse where they would be paid commission. I politely declined all of them and just told that I would be staying in You Hong. I just need directions to the place. Well, some 'kind' soul whom couldn't get any commission from me directed me to You Hong II saying that its their new branch, clean and bigger. I actually believed him, and got a room in You Hong II only to realized later that You Hong just a few blocks away was the real deal.
Meking river
I was probably paying a bit more for a less inferior room. Oh well, I am not a fussy person and besides I was just gonna stay for a night. I can only comment that I didn't even want to bathe at the end of the day because the toilet just looked terrible.

The funny thing is I actually went over to You Hong guesthouse to book a tour with them, knowing that they should be more reputable since they were highly recommended on Lonely Planet and on the internet. I also met a nice friendly couple from France (Adrian and his girlfriend) where we went on the dolphin watch trip together. It was a 30-40 minute ride by motocycle to the Kampi Irrawaddy dolphin viewing site. Nothing beats a nice relaxing ride in the countryside. No heavy traffic, no smoke, just fresh air and great views of the villages and the surrounding sights.
Kratie Market
It was late afternoon when we arrive at the dolphin viewing site, the weather was good and I was really excited to see the dolphins. It was a well deserved trip, all the efforts and long hours of traveling, I finally got to see the dolphins. People whom don't know much about dolphins might find the trip boring because they don't really get to see the 'whole' dolphin or even see them leap out of the water. What they only see is fins surfacing from the water occasional with a puffing sound (to breathe air). These are wild dolphins, unlike those you see in oceanariums where they have been trained to performed. Moreover, the irrawaddy river dolphins are more shy animals compared to their other relatives that live in the ocean. After the trip on the way back to town, we stopped at a hill temple for breathtaking view of the mekong river and its surrounding. It was near evening time then, the sunset at the mekong was just spectacular, if only I had a better camera to capture that moment. That was definitely the highlight of my entire trip in Cambodia and Vietnam!

I end the day with dinner and drinks with Adrian and his girlfriend were we had a nice chat about our own countries and the places we had visited. I am leaving for Phnom Penn next day morning. Come to think of it, I could have stayed for another day at Kratie just because of its serenity.
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Kami viewing site
Kami viewing site
Meking river
Meking river
Kratie Market
Kratie Market
Kratie Market
Kratie Market
Kratie Market
Kratie Market
Kratie Market
Kratie Market
Sun Rise at Mekong River
Sun Rise at Mekong River
Kratie
photo by: Deats