Kratié

Travel Guide Asia Cambodia Kratié

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Introduction

Irrawadi delfiin Mekongil, Kratie

Irrawadi delfiin Mekongil, Kratie

© valdek2

Kratié is situated on the banks of the Mekong River in Cambodia and is known for being the home of the rare fresh water dolphin, the Irrawaddy. The best time to spot these unique creatures is early in the morning or at the end of the afternoon. Go out and look for a local scooter driver to take you to the best spots near the small islands in the Mekong. You could also arrange a boat to take you out for a closer look at the dolphins. Since Kratié was spared during the war, you can enjoy a walk past the historic Khmer houses on the edge of the Mekong.

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Sights and Activities

Irrawaddy Dolphin Watching (The best spot to watch the dolphins is Kampi village, 15 km north of Kratie.). There are only around 85 dolphins in the Mekong, but there is a very good chance to see some at Kampi. As river dolphins, these animals don't generally approach boats show curiosity towards tourist boats like some marine dolphins do. There is no best time of day to see the dolphins as their activity patterns don't change much over the course of the day, though it can be pleasant with the setting sun late in the day, and fiercely hot in the early afternoon. The dry season offers generally better opportunities to see groups together and spectacular behaviour (rare though it is), and in wet season the boat trip is considerably longer as the animals move several kilometres upstream from the tourist site. To protect the dolphins, you should ensure that your boatmen follows the dolphin watching guidelines provided and only use oars when near the dolphins. There's also a nice little shop which does benefit the community and helps encourage the villagers conserve the remaining dolphins. By motodop, this trip should be around USD2-4 for the round trip, about 20 min each way. Or rent a motorbike for USD5. Cycling to this spot should take about 60 min, bicycles are available for rent in Kratie and cost about 5,000 riel a day. USD9/person, USD7 for 3 or more, typically including immediate departure even if you're the only one there. Includes a boat trip. If you just want to sit on the bank and watch the dolphins, you still have to pay the same. This is a set government charge.
Basket weaver villages (15 km south of Kratie). There are 3 basket weaver villages near Kratie. The biggest is the Cham village Chheu Teil Ploch with 4,000 villagers.
Concrete Animals, All around town. Spot cranes, rhinos, deer, and even elephants in Kratie. Concrete, sadly, but melancholy reminder of the wealth of creatures that once roamed the local area. Free!.
Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (downtown north Kratie). Here you can sometimes catch a musical performance. Groups sometimes come to perform singing contests here, with both traditional Cambodian instruments and Western. Otherwise, nothing else to really see here. Located by the river by the northern roundabout.
Phnom Sombok (10 km north of Kratie on a prominent hill). A rather nifty temple north of town and situated on the only hill anywhere near Kratie. A long set of steps lead to a pavilion, the interior of which is painted with torture scenes, depictions of what happens to those not virtuous enough to lead a holy and clean lifestyle. Makes a good stop on the way back to or from the dolphins. As a little bonus you might catch a glimpse of the family of monkeys that lives around the temple. Free, but visitors are encouraged to leave a donation for upkeep of the temples.
Sambor (about 40 km from Kratie). This is a pre-Angkorian era settlement. The temples, among which is Wat Sorsor Muoy Roi (temple of 100 columns) contain several colourful murals that tell legends of nature, and other traditional Buddhist stories. The original structure is no longer standing, in its place is a reconstructed temple.
Town Museum (At the north end of the main town near the globe roundabout). This place is almost never open. If you are really keen, go see the Culture Ministry and they might open it up for you (for an appropriate donation, say USD2) - though you'll be lucky to catch them in the office. edit
Villages of the Mekong. There are very interesting places along the Mekong River. You enjoy your day at the villages along both sides of the Mekong river. You can go by tuk-tuk or motorbike.

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Getting There

By Road

From Kampong Cham (to the south) the road is in good repair. From Stung Treng (to the north) the road is sealed, but has fallen into disrepair and the journey can be uncomfortable and slow. If headed into Laos, visas on arrival are obtainable at the Lao border.

The bus/truck station is in the northwest part of town.

Buses from Stung Treng take about 3 hours. As with all forms of transport in Cambodia, get your bus ticket early, and show up even earlier to ensure you get a good seat, as buses will fill up fast as soon as they let people board. With the improving road conditions, bus services have improved and there are now a number of options between Stung Treng and Phnom Penh that stop at Kratie both ways.

There are daily buses from Siem Reap to Kratie. They leave at 07:00 and cost USD10. You will have to switch buses half way through this journey at Skuon or Suong.

Share-taxis and minivans serving Phnom Penh (4-5 hr), Stung Treng (2 hr), Kampong Cham (2 hr), Ban Lung (4 hr), Sen Monorom (4 hr), and a number of other small towns go from the taxi stand a block north of the market. Prices to Phnom Penh and Stung Treng are about 20,000 riel per seat. These are much faster than the large commercially operated buses and comparably priced, though slightly less comfortable. Purchase an extra seat or share 3 between 2 of you for comfort. From Phnom Penh or Kampong Cham share-taxis and minivans can save several hours buy taking a road directly south of Kratie that most of the commercial bus companies do not use and bypassing Snuol.

Trucks arrive from various neighbouring towns and provinces but you have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of this form of transport carefully. They are less safe and often slower than buses, as well as being more expensive. The one (potentially) overriding positive is that riding in a truck you get the chance to have a much closer connection with local Khmers than if you were riding in a tourist bus, particularly as you'd be surprised how many Khmers in the provincial capitals are somewhat proficient in English. Expect to wait a couple of hours for the truck to fill up, assuming you're the first one there.
from Kampong Cham: 10,000 riel in the back, 15,000 riel in the cabin, 8-10 hr
from Stung Treng: 20-25,000 riel in the back, 25-30,000 riel in the cabin, 10-12 hr
from Ratanakiri: USD12 in the back or in the cabin, 12 hr

By Boat

With the improvement of the roads, ferry services along the Mekong River from Kampong Cham no longer run. If you are feeling adventurous, you might find a rice-barge on its way north from Kampong Cham.

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Getting Around

As the town is so small, ignore offers from touts to take you from the bus stop into town, since it's a walk of just a few minutes. If you feel compelled to hire a motodop to take you anywhere within town, you won't need to pay anything more than 500 riel for your short journey. To visit sites outside the town, you'll need to hire a motodop for a few dollars - standard prices are posted around the guesthouses, typically USD3-5 depending how far and how long you go for.

Bicycles are by far the best way to get around Kratie and enjoy the town at your own pace. Most guesthouses will organize you one, but they usually all come from the same shop - from the front of the market head south until the street ends across from the Ministry of Water Resources. On the corner there bikes can be rented from a lovely Khmer family for USD1 or 4,000 riel per day. Easy to spot this shop - look for all the bikes!

Motorbike rentals are available at just about any guesthouse. A 110cc Honda step through bike for USD6 per day. Given the tiny size of the town, you won't need one to do anything within Kratie, and the roads outside Kratie aren't in great shape, but it can be a great way to look around the country side a bit further afield.

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Eat

Eating at small food stalls offers a cheap alternative to restaurants, with fried noodles available, chicken rice porridge, foetal duck eggs and others. Servings are generally smaller than in nearby restaurants. The riverfront night market has been moved to the road out to PP. Follow the riverfront and keep going when it turns inland.

Mekong Restaurant. Typical Khmer food including staples such as of fried rice, grilled chicken, and rather tasty French fries. USD1-2. edit
Red Sun Falling (On the waterfront opposite the port building/bus stop). A backpacker staple with good food and drinks, and the expat touch. Prices are reasonable, but not as cheap as the nearby Khmer food. Service can be slow, but what's the hurry? The Red Sun Falling also has a good selection of books for sale, which you can browse while you wait. There is a new owner, Joe's right hand for many years, who is carrying on with the books and food as usual without the grumpiness. However, Joe's specials will be missed, as well as his famous St Valentines parties. Free Wi-Fi.
The Thea Sdav Restaurant (Near Wat Ou Ruessei). Students eat here early in the morning rice with meat and vegetables or a soup before they go to school. Seasonal and daily menu of typical Khmer food including BBQ, Khmer salads, eggs and soups, home made prahok, freshly made fruit juices, ice cream and Khmer herbal spirits. USD0.50-2.

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Drink

Watching the sun go down over the Mekong, with a cold beer or a tuk-a-lok (fruit shake) on the river front, is one of the joys of a visit to Kratie. There are many stalls which set up in the late afternoon to service that need (and stay open until midnight, unusually late for a Cambodian provincial town).

Red Sun Falling will stay open until the last person leaves, which can be pretty late, and the new Marlees Bar offers the other bar option in town.

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Sleep

Balcony Guesthouse, Rue Sumamarit (on river front 350 m north of bus stop), ☏ +855 16 604036, ✉ balcony@y7mail.com. Australian/Khmer managed, has large, light, clean rooms with good quality furnishings. Relaxing restaurant/bar on the balcony overlooking the Mekong, a perfect place to watch the sunset. There is also a communal area with an extensive collection of DVDs and Wi-Fi. Standard menu of Khmer and Western food USD1-5 and slightly more expensive daily specials. Lots of vegetarian food, including marinated tofu burgers, though the service can be excruciatingly slow when busy. Dorms USD3, Doubles (shared bath with hot water) USD5, doubles (attached bath) USD7; 1 large twin room USD11, air-con extra.
Heng Heng Hotel, Rue Sumamarit, ☏ +855 72 971405. Now offers river front rooms of very good quality (especially at the Heng Heng 2), if slightly pricier than other options in town. This place has been upgrading itself significantly over the past few years, and now has hot running water. Tasty Khmer food at reasonable speed and price per dish USD1-2.50. Khmer breakfast also OK with a Western option of omelette and bread for USD1. Wi-Fi downstairs. Singles USD10, doubles USD15.
Oudom Sambath Hotel, Rue Sumamarit, ☏ +855 72 971502. Probably the best hotel in town, and some of the top-floor rooms offer good views of the Mekong. Owned by a local general (in his wife's name), whose official government salary is about USD38/month; the opulence of the timber decorating the place might suggest where the money came from for this substantial investment. Service can be a bit on the low side - toilet paper not provided even on repeated request ("I don't care"). Has Wi-Fi in most rooms. Singles USD8, doubles USD15 (goes down to USD7 in low season).
Santepheap Hotel, Rue Sumamarit, ☏ +855 72 971537. This has long been considered the standard choice for tour groups, and has a small restaurant. Rooms come with hot running water, but the bathrooms are generally dirty, and some cable channels for your viewing pleasure (even though you probably didn't come to Kratie to watch TV). Wi-Fi in reception. Singles USD7, doubles USD15.
Star Guesthouse, ☏ +855 72 971663, +855 72 753401. Check-out: 12:00. Has been elevated by tourist and guidebook alike to the status of best in town, but this is debatable. It often gets the lion's share of backpackers during the busy parts of the year. The rooms are OK, and the staff speak some English, and can offer local travel tips for you. Wi-Fi downstairs. Restaurant on the expensive side, it has an uninspiring selection of Western and Khmer cuisine. Singles/twin USD4, doubles USD5; larger rooms cost USD2 more.
You Hong Guesthouse (Opposite the north entrance to the market). Has close links to many transport options and you may find yourself dropped off there. Basic rooms (fan or air-con - directly above the bar), and is popular with budget travellers. The Internet service is a good feature (but expensive, and you don't have to stay there to use it). The atmosphere out front is about as bustling as Kratie gets. Restaurant average. Has an impressive menu, but only cook some of it well. Pizza is unexpectedly good. USD7-15.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Most of the guesthouses offer some type of internet service, which may include wireless internet. Some will charge you for it, others won't, ask in advance.
Internet bars are starting to appear in most major towns in Cambodia. Connection speeds vary as does the quality of the computers. The best places to go online definately are Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and outside of these centers it's generally also more expensive. In general prices are not much more than US1-2 an hour. Remember to take off your shoes when you enter as a sign of respect and to watch out for small shrines that are on the ground.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country code of Cambodia is 855. To call out of Cambodia, dial 001 followed by the country code and telephone number of the other party. Many of the internet bars also have international calling options and you can also arrange calls at post offices. Services are usually run by the governmental telecommunication network Camintel. You can find telephone cards in many shops, starting from serveral US dollars to around US$50. Samart, Mobitel and Shinawrata are the main mobile phone providers, with Mobitel offering the best and most widespread services, although calling from outside towns (countryside) is still tricky.

Post

Cambodia's national postal service offers a wide range of services, though in general things go slowly and are not always very reliable. That said, things have been getting better over the years, and you can expect for your postcard or letter to finally arrive after 5-10, depending from where you send it (avoid small towns) and to where you send it. Prices are around 2000-2,500 Riel to countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America, and it's slightly more expensive sending it from more remote places in the provinces. Post offices in Cambodia generally are open from around 8:00am to 5:00pm, with some regional variations. Sendings parcels is only possible from the capital Phnom Penh and it's very expensive as well. You might be better to send it from Thailand, or otherwise check private companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, which are more reliable and might even be cheaper!

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Accommodation in Kratié

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This is version 17. Last edited at 9:04 on Oct 25, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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