We're going to Cambodia in March, and planning on spending a few days in Rattanakiri. We've decided to fly from Phnom Penh to Ban Lung to save some time, but we'll return to Phnom Penh over land.
What is a realistic time frame to plan for the return trip? Can you do it in one day, or should we plan on staying the night in Kratie?
Also, I'm intrigued by the irriwadi dolphins in Kratie. I'd love to hear from someone who's seen them. What are the chances of actually getting to see them, and is it worth our time?
Thanks in advance for any advice and whatever else you have to share!
#1 amb257 has been a member since 9/2/2007. Posts: 3
Welcome to Travelfish amb257,
Yes you can do it in a full day of travel, but if you've got the time an overnight stay in Kratie is well worth it. The dolphins are easy enough to see -- you can see them from the bank or you can do a short boat trip out into the river from where you can see them close up. Is it worth it? I saw them the once, I wouldn't make a huge effort to see them again, but if you're in Kratie, why not!
Enjoy Ban Lung -- there's a bunch of interesting things to do there -- if you've got time, do a day trip out to the minority cemeteries -- involves a trip on a crummy road then an hour long boat trip, but well worth it.
Thanks for the quick reply, somtam! The more I hear about the dolphins, the less interesting they become :) I think we might rather spend some extra time in Rattanakiri instead...
What do you know about the flights between Phnom Penh and Rattanakiri? The Phnom Penh airport website says they fly on days 1, 3, 5, and 7 - is that Mon, Wed, Fri and Sunday? And how reliable are the schedules?
Thanks again for the help!
#3 amb257 has been a member since 9/2/2007. Posts: 3
Well, you know, if you've seen the TV show "Flipper", you've probably seen enough dolphins...even if it was a different type!
I've never flown that flight, but my partner has as have other friends -- the planes are often late (like hours late) and cancellations are more common than they should be... so if you're planning on timing the flight to coordinate with a flight out of Phnom Penh, that may not be such a hot idea.
Rattanakiri is a great destination -- I really need to put more information into that section... there's the aformentioned cemeteries, there's a large National Park which you can do two day treks into from Ban Lung and there's the volcanic lake. It's certainly worth a few days.
That's not to say Kratie isn't worth a peak -- dolphins aside, its a pretty riverfront town, with a surprising range of creature comforts.
Kraitie is a really gorgeous town - I totally ignored the dolphins as I hate the sea and everything in it, but had an amazing time walking around the place. I was there in the wet season so it might be different now, but if you walked down the street which is essentially the fish market you get to a point where the road just vanishes underwater. When I was there there were a bunch of kids who got their kicks from hi-fiving you, I assume they're still there because Cambodia's reliable like that...
Ban Lung was something else. There is a place in the LP Guide which says it's a beer garden and part time brothel. It's not. It's a brothel. If you want to meet up with any workers from certain high profile, United Nations based NGOs, not to mention any names, which would be UN-fair...that's the place to go though. Of course, they could have just been taking turns in 15 minute stake outs...
To be fair though, Ban Lung is a hole. The crater lake is also a hole, but an amazing one. It pretty much makes up for everything wrong with Ban Lung and is worth going for that alone. It seriously is perfectly circular, crystal clear and an amazing place to hang out and go paddling/swimming, depending on your abilities...
#5 Introverse has been a member since 12/2/2007. Posts: 11