Dolphin watching in Kratie is the thing to do when in Kratie. In fact the whole tourism industry here is built around it. You will see dolphins in the names of everything, as well more tacky dolphin based souvenirs than you can shake a shitty stick at!
It turns out though that not only is Kratie rather nice, but so is Koh Trong, which you can read about here.
What are the dolphins?
When dolphin watching in Kratie you come to look at what are often refereed to as “pink dolphins”. They are not pink. The actual species is the Irrawaddy Dolphin. The Irrawaddy is often referred to as a river dolphin, but this is not strictly true. It is usually found in sea coasts estuaries, and rivers. It can be found in the Mekong River from Kratie all the way up to Stung Treng, although the best way to see it is in Kratie.
To read a review on Stung Treng click here .
To read about the Irrawaddy dolphins click here .
I won’t go getting all technical on all things fish, or rather mammal. You can read that elsewhere. I’ll just give the lowdown on how go see these majestic mammals!
How to go dolphin watching in Kratie?
The best spot to go dolphin watching in Kratie is about 15km from town. The usual process is to rent a Tuk-Tuk for the day, who will also take you to see Phnom Sombok and Wat Sorsor Muoy Roi (temple of 100 columns). The later is not all that interesting, except for the sand bank/island type thing that you can walk out to.
Hiring the Tuk-Tuk costs $20 for the day. Well worth it and you get to see some stunning scenery on the way.
Of course you could get into madness such as riding a bicycle there. Not on my watch.
And the Dolphin Watching
You do that at a place called Kampi Village, 15kn, or so from town. You can pay for entry and sit on the banks and hope for the best, or you can hire a boat. Entry to the area cost $9 for Barang and $2 for Khmer and included the boat. For a few bucks less you can do the aforementioned sit by the river.
The boat drivers are adept at doing this kind of thing, obviously. They therefore try and chase the dolphins to an extent without scaring them. Quite how playful the dolphins are, or how many you see is pure pot-luck. I certainly got some dolphin photos, but I have seen videos of people who did much better than me on their trip here.
Can I buy Dolphin based crap in Kratie – see what I did there?
There’s actually an extremely huge amount of handicrafts being sold, although most of it is not exactly the kind of size to fit in your pocket. They did though have small dolphin key-rings. I think they were only 50 cents, or so each so I grabbed two. I’m a sucker for cheap tack.
After the dolphin watching
Either head to the 100 column pagoda, Phnom Sombok, or if you’ve only come for the dolphins head back into Kratie.
Kratie town itself is nothing special and sadly many of the more famous places have now closed due to lack of tourists. It is though a pleasant enough place to grab a beer and just sit by the Mekong River watching the world slowly pass by.