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A charming riverside town set on the banks of the mighty Mekong in northeastern Cambodia, Kratie is best known for its wildlife and stunning natural scenery.
It is the best place in Cambodia to see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins, which live in the Mekong River in diminishing numbers. A pod of these endangered dolphins can be found 15 kilometres north of Kratie in a stretch of water by the Kampi village, known to our local guides. This area is sadly one of the last sanctuaries where people can see this endangered species, and we’ll take you out with a local boatman who knows the best spots to catch a glimpse of these creatures.
Kratie’s picturesque riverfront is strewn with sandbars and islands and it’s here that you’ll catch some of the best Mekong sunsets in Cambodia. Locals and tourists alike head down to the river each night to watch the sky light up with brilliant colours as the sun sinks below the river.
The town is a delight to explore with lively markets and fantastic restaurants. You’ll find streets scattered with gorgeous French colonial and Khmer style buildings, including the former grand Governor’s Residence - as Kratie was spared the wartime bombing that destroyed many surrounding areas.
You’ll stay on Ko Trong, a small, beautiful island set in the middle of the Mekong river, only 100 metres from the riverbanks of Kratie. The island is an authentic slice of rural Cambodian life, with no cars and a slower pace. It’s an unspoilt haven of lush fruit orchards and vibrant wildlife, with it’s perfectly flat, five-mile-long surface which makes for fun exploration by bike or tuk-tuk.
A sustainable tourism project has been developed by the local community to create more opportunities for the inhabitants of Ko Trong. Wayfairer Travel supports this project and you’ll have the chance to work alongside locals: planting trees, tending fields or learning how to fish.
Kratie is the perfect stop to escape the bustle of the cities and enjoy a laidback, idyllic atmosphere. With a countryside adorned in emerald rice fields, blooming lotus farms and sleepy wooden villages, this is the Cambodia you came to see.
The best time to visit Kratie is during the dry season from November to February, when there is lower rainfall and pleasant temperatures. This is also the best season to spot the Irrawaddy dolphins and take a kayak tour along the Mekong River.
November and December are particularly great months, as the rain is less frequent and it is cooler, with the heat yet to arrive. June to October is the monsoon season and flooding is widespread during this time. This is not the best time to go to enjoy the beautiful scenery, as the rice fields are often completely underwater. It is, however, the season with the fewest crowds.
A trip to Kratie is a special feature of our Complete Cambodia Holiday, where you’ll enjoy a two-night stay on the island of Ko Trong. You’ll travel the mighty Mekong River by local ferry, visit one of the last sanctuaries where you can spot the rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin, plus you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside the locals of Ko Trong to learn about their way of life.
In Kratie, we work with Rajabori Villas, an eco-friendly paradise on the island of Ko Trong. There are 13 charming Khmer-style wooden houses, created to ensure that guests can become a part of island life and minimise their impact on this unspoilt haven. The resort offers free bicycle hire, Mekong River wildlife cruises and kayaking trips, which take you through dolphin hotspots, traditional villages, mini-rapids and woodland areas.