Kratie

Trip Start Sep 27, 2009
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37
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
U Hong Guest house

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

We arrived in Kratie at 6pm after a 11 hour bus ride from Siem Reap, it was only supposed to take eight hours but for some reason it took us ages. It was dark and pouring down with rain when we arrived so not the best start and the guest house we wanted to stay in was full so we just opted for the one next door as we couldn't be bothered walking around in the rain. The room was very basic and $7 so wasn't exactly value for money.

Kratie is a small town in Eastern Cambodia on the bank of the Mekong River. Kratie is the best place in Cambodia to spot the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and is also a good stop over point for us on our way to North East Cambodia. We couldn't believe how wide the Mekong River and how clean it was.

We found a nice little restaurant and had the best meal we had so far in Cambodia, we had a chicken coconut curry and beef lok lak which were both delicious and some well needed Angkor beers. We went back to the guest house to find cockroaches infesting in the bathroom and a lizard in Em's bed, we tried to change rooms but the guy just handed us a cockroach spray instead so we slept well that night.

Next morning we got a tuk tuk to near by Kampi to go see the Irrawaddy dolphins. We got a boat for $7 with a couple of Swedish girls and went out on the Mekong River. We were really surprised how many dolphins we saw and how quickly we spotted them, they were constantly coming to the surface all around us but the closest to the boat they came was about 10m. They seemed fairly shy but who can blame them as they have nearly been hunted to extinction. The Irrawaddy dolphins have really stumpy noses and small fins, grey in colour and grow up to 2.5m. It is estimated there are only 75 dolphins left in the Mekong after they were hunted during the Pol Pot regime. It was a great morning and we enjoyed actually seeing some wildlife for once and the sights were great on the tuk tuk ride there and back.

We spent the afternoon on Koh Trong which is an island in the Mekong River. We got the local ferry to the island which cost $0.25 each and hired some bikes when we got there.The island is 1km wide and 4km long, this illustrates how wide the Mekong River is there is an island of this size and we still had to get a ten minute ferry to get there.

Koh Trong was a beautiful little island with the friendliest people. We cycled 9km around the island along a dirt track through the traditional Khmer villages. We cycled past all the local stilt houses which lined the edges of the island, the stilt houses are just wooden boxes on stilts with not a great deal inside, they are built on stilts so they are not affected by the flooding during the monsoon season. The middle of the island was just all fields of orchards and rice paddies, there were chickens and cows everywhere. The people were so friendly everyone we passed were shouting hello and giving us big smiles, it was really nice. At one end of the island there was also a floating village which is literally as it sounds, loads of houses floating on the river, it was really impressive.

That evening, after changing guest houses we went back to the same restaurant and had another great meal. Kratie is a pretty run down town which is India smelly and quite dirty. The market wasn't up to much and there is not a lot around the place to be honest but seeing the dolphins and visiting the island made the stop more than worth while.    
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