Photo: Riverside scenes, Kratie.

Introduction

Our rating:

A charming, cheerful little town on the Mekong, Kratie is best known for its dolphins, in particular the Mekong Irrawaddy dolphins. Roughly 80 of the dwindling population of these dolphins make their home off the village of Kampi, 20 kilometres north of Kratie. The swirling waters here are considered one of the best places in the world to catch sight of this critically endangered creature.


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But Kratie is worth a drop-by for more than just these sacred dolphins. It makes an excellent base for exploring the river and surrounding areas, including the enviably pretty Koh Trong, a three-kilometre long island facing the town’s riverfront. We’re going to utterly abuse the word “lovely” here, because it really is. One of the prettiest places we’ve seen in Cambodia, with clean, lush villages surrounded by palms and banana trees that you can explore on a nine-kilometre cycle trail, where you’ll find floating villages, a long beach made of sand waves, some of the largest mango trees we’ve ever seen, stunning views across the Mekong, and plenty of warm smiles. Throw in a stop for a coconut or two, and we think you may have found paradise.

Snack time in Kratie. Photo taken in or around Kratie, Cambodia by Nicky Sullivan.

Snack time in Kratie. Photo: Nicky Sullivan

Kratie itself too has enough colonial architecture to reward wanderers, as well as a good handful of welcoming guesthouses, and a smattering of decent restaurants that have grown up to meet the steadily growing number of tourists. The surrounding villages live up to fantasies of lush, riverside Cambodia, with green paddy and beautifully polished stilted wooden homes shaded by thick palms.

Going south is the small riverside town of Chhlong, once home to a busy colonial outpost whose shabby vestiges can be found, including the lovely Le Relais Hotel, which has been closed for the last five years, though workmen were beavering away in the grounds when we visited in April 2016, so ... Travelfish members only (Around 900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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