Kratie (which is pronounced kra-che) is a peacefully quiet town in Eastern Cambodia. Full of charm, its most popular attribute is the rare Irrawaddy (pink) Dolphins, but there is more to this peaceful riverside town which makes for the perfect stop between Phnom Penh and Laos.
Kratie is home to some of the friendliest and most welcoming locals in Cambodia. Part of what makes it so special is that it’s still a little off the map for many tourists, so it still holds most of its original charm.
Easy to navigate, the town can painlessly be explored by bicycle, with motos and boats available for further exploration.
Much of Kratie remains intact as it seemed to escape damage from wartime that created so much destruction in other provinces.
French architecture is still evident, blended with traditional Khmer wooden houses, and restaurants and guesthouses suiting both local and western tastes ensure visitors have a pleasant stay.
The picturesque scenery includes lush rice fields, sandy shores, quaint villages and flourishing fruit trees. The sunsets are also quite spectacular but the best view is spotting a critically endangered dolphin with its pink hue.
Kratie has a tropical climate. On average, conditions are as follows:-
Cool season: November- March (18-26c)
Hot season: March-May (27c -35c)
Rainy season: May – October (26-34c)
Kratie is rich in culture. Here you can witness everyday living of the local Khmer with traditional stilted houses and lush rice fields. Steeped in history, of particular cultural significance is 100 Pillars Pagoda, built in the 16th century by King Chann Reachea.
Things to Do
Koh Trong is a small island in Kratie Province. Adorned with floating villages, beach and shady trees, it is perfect for cycling and taking in the spectacular views of the mighty Mekong River.
Chhlong is a small riverside town south of Kratie where the remains of the thriving colonial period are still evident. Home to wooden stilted homes that appear to float on water in rainy season, Chhlong is well worth a look on the way to nearby Sambor (home of the 100 Column Pagoda).
100 Column Pagoda
The 100 Column Pagoda is located in Sambor district of Kratie, around 36kms north of the centre of Kratie. It was constructed in the 16th century by King Chann Reachea, and the 100 columns were dedicated in memory of his beloved daughter Vorakpheak.
Mekong Turtle Conservation Center
The Mekong Turtle Conservation Center aims to help protect and educate about one of the most endangered turtle species in the world, the Mekong Soft Shell turtle. Here baby turtles are nursed until they are strong enough to be released into the wild.
Kampi is one of the best places to catch a rare glimpse of the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin. The dolphins gather in deep pools in order to feed and by hiring a boat, you may be lucky enough to get up close with one of these beautiful pink mammals.
Phnom Sambok, is a small mountain with twin peaks. In order to reach the mountaintop, you’ll need to climb a number of concrete stairs. The reward is an amazing view over the countryside to the Mekong River. The surrounding forest is rich in bird life and you may spot a monkey or two.
Other popular activities include camping and fishing, hiking, cycling and kayaking.