Kratie is one of Cambodia’s eastern provinces with less population, who make their lives on the riverbanks of the Mekong. Beyond the riverbanks it is a remote place with almost no population and thick-forested areas to calm down. The provincial capital is also called Kratie and lies also on the banks of the mighty Mekong River, which emboss the province from the North to the South.
The stretch of the river around Kratie town is home to a group of rare sweet water Irrawaddy dolphins. Therefore the dolphins are the main tourist attraction of the province and the town. The river also has hundreds of green island, and circling water, which are also attracting some tourists. Kratie town is sleepy but picturesque with sandbars and big islands out front and bends in the river. Unlike in many towns around Cambodia, the war years were fairly kind to the French architecture and the roads, at least in the town itself.
There are some nice-looking homes of French and Khmer style scattered about, adding to the pleasant feel of the place. You’ll also find a bustling market which is a great place to watch frogs being skinned (and escaping first through the holes in the nets), sample some delicious foods (such as freshly grilled corn cakes) and generally take in rural Cambodian life. The rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins make their home in the Mekong River, just north of Kratie. With only around 120 remaining, they are surely worth a visit.
Whether you are just on a trip seeing the river towns along the Mekong or taking a full circuit trip around the east and northeast, Kratie is a nice place to spend a night or two. The river scene of Kratie has a beautiful river boulevard with dozens of snack and drink stands in the late afternoon and evening, making this a nice spot to chill out and watch the people parading by. There are also a few big concrete decks along the river scene. The river road is a great place for a stroll or jog. Enjoy the dramatic sunsets over the Mekong.
Kratie province is 11,094 square kilometers big, which is categorized into several areas such as 83% forest, agricultural land 8% and red land 0.5% in Snoul district. It’s located in the East of the country and is bordering to the North with Stueng Treng, to the East with Mondulkiri, to the West with Kampong Thom and to the South with Kampong Cham.
The province consists mainly of thick forested area, where you still can see the 1970-75 bombings due to big craters in the countryside, some filled with water. You also may find the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations, even if it’s just a small percentage of agriculturally used land concerning the rest of Cambodia. The province features the biggest river of the country (approx. 140km of it), the mighty Mekong with its small rapids and critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins.
The country has a tropical climate – warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travelers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
General information about the provincial climate:
- Cool season: November- March (18-26c)
- Hot season: March- May (27c -35c)
- Rainy season: May – October (26-34c, with humidity up to 90%.)
The current population of Kratie is approximately 290,000 and the population density is 26 people per sq.km. Roughly 70% of the people live along the river, whereas 30% live in the mountainous area. There are seven types of tribes in Kratie: the Phnorng, the Kouy, the Mil, the Khonh, the Steang, and the Thamoun.
In an effort to entice foreign investment, the province is offering generous business concessions to those who wish to invest in rubber plantations inside the country. Kampong Cham and Kratie have an abundance of red soil and water resources, which create ideal conditions for the cultivation of rubber. Generally, the people make their living from rubber and cashew nut plantation, fishing, rice farming and producing a rich array of fruits in fertile orchards, including durian, rambutans and lychees.
What to see
The Phnom Sopor Kaley, Kratie is one of the top tourist attractions in Kratie. The Phnom Sopor Kaley, Kratie is a huge draw for the international travelers. The Phnom Sopor Kaley in Kratie is a renowned historical site of Cambodia housing many famous buildings. The historical buildings lodged inside the premises of the Phnom Sopor Kaley, Kratie are fully steeped in history. This makes the Phnom Sopor Kaley, Kratie a favorite haunt for the scholars and the students of history.
The Chrauy Banteay Village falls in the Chrau Ampil Commune of the Prey Prasap District. It takes only one hour to reach the Phnom Sopor Kaley, Kratie as this important historical site of Cambodia is situated only 30 kilometers away from the provincial town of Kratie. The idyllic location of the Phnom Sopor Kaley, Kratie at the foothills of the Sopor Kaley Mountain gives it an added advantage over the other tourist attractions in Kratie.
At the top of this mountain there is an ancient pagoda, which has a height of 100 meters. A laterite road leads visitors to the top of the Sopor Kaley Mountain. The visitors have to climb 800 concrete built steps to reach this ancient pagoda. From the top of the Sopor Kaley Mountain the tourists can enjoy the breathtaking views of the farmland and the rural areas of Kratie, which lies adjacent to the spectacular Mekong River.
A legend revolves around the Sopor Kaley Mountain. There is a popular belief that this mountain received its name from a crocodile, which was called Sopor Kaley by the locals. Nen Thun, a famous fighter defeated and killed this crocodile in a fight. After it died it got transformed into a mountain, which is now known as the Sopor Kaley Mountain.
Is a historical and cultural tourist spot located at Chambak commune, Prek Prasab district, Kratie province, along west side of the Mekong River, 45km to the south of the provincial Town. Visitors can go to the foot of the mountain through a laterited road about 800 meters from the main road, then continue climbing through 800 concrete steps up to the top of mountain where an ancient pagoda is 100 meter high. Tourists can enjoy the views of rural and farm areas and the Mekong River. According to a legend, Sambor Kaley Mountain took the name after crocodile Sambor Kaley, who was defeated by Nen Thun. When it died, it turned to be the mountain called Sambor kaley.
The Chruoy Rey in Kratie is a famous historical site of Kratie. The Chruoy Rey in Kratie is one of the most visited tourist attractions of the tinsel town of Kratie. The popular tourist landmark of the Chruoy Rey in Kratie is entirely steeped in history. Visitors can find a few famous buildings at the splendid historical spot of Chruoy Rey in Kratie. The Chruoy Rey in Kratie is also a favorite site for the historians.
The Chruoy Rey in Kratie is situated at the Kantring Village in the Kaoch Trong Commune. The elegant structures lodged inside the premises of the Chruoy Rey in Kratie occupy an important place in the history of Kratie. The Chruoy Rey, Kratie has become one of the popular tourist attractions in Kratie.
The Dolphin Habitat, Kratie is a spectacular wildlife and nature reserve of Kratie. The Dolphin Habitat, Kratie is a favorite haven for the nature lovers and the wildlife conservationists. The Dolphin Habitat in Kratie is situated at Kampee Village in the Sambok Commune. The Dolphin Habitat, Kratie is only 15 kilometers away from the provincial town of Kratie.
Besides being a wonderful tourist hub the Dolphin Habitat, Kratie also plays a significant role in the conservation of dolphins. The amazing spectacle of the playful dolphins splashing in water is indeed a feast for the eyes. The Kratie Dolphin Habitat is considered one of the notable tourist attractions in Kratie. The Dolphin Habitat, Kratie has attained extreme popularity with the kids. The Dolphin Habitat, Kratie is also one of the preferred destinations of the foreign visitors. The Dolphin Habitat, Kratie is one of the must see places in Kratie.
Irrawaddy Dolphins about fifteen to twenty of these rare freshwater dolphins make their home on a beautiful stretch of the Mekong River near a small set of rapids. They make upward arches, breaking the surface of the water as they swim about the area. They are not jumpers like their sea-faring relatives and are quite a bit shyer as well. They have good reason to be shy towards humans as they have been hunted and killed by fishermen in the past. The hope is that their numbers will slowly increase, as more fishermen in the area are educated about them. They are most active in the early morning hours (around 6 am) and the late afternoon and early evening hours.
However, we went during the mid-afternoon heat of the day and had numerous sightings. A local family hires out their small towboat and a son to take you out on the river for a closer look. The charge is 3,500 riel per person. To get there, just follow the road north from the Globe traffic circle for 14 km Turn left at the dolphin picture sign. The family and river are there.The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) population inhabits a 190km stretch of the Mekong River between Cambodia and Lao PDR. The latest population is estimated between 64 and 76 members (2008 figures). The Irrawaddy dolphin is identified by a bulging forehead, a short beak, and 12-19 teeth on each side of each jaw. The pectoral fin is broadly triangular. There is a small dorsal fin, on the posterior end of the back.
Where to Stay
Oudom Sambath Hotel: (tel: 012/965944)
The Oudom Sambath Hotel is set in a convenient location 150m North from the boat landing stage and is enhanced with modern amenities. All the guestrooms at the hotel have all the comforts expected in a hotel in its class (2 stars) to make guests feel at home. This place is one of the most comfortable ones in town and comes with fully equipped rooms; cable TV, AC, hot water, fridge and Western bath. They also offer smaller rooms with fan and bathroom at a lower price. Prices from US$23 to 35.
Re Lais Du Chlong Hotel Kratie:
This 2 stars hotel is located right next to the riverside just 100m far from the pagoda. All the guestrooms at the hotel have all the comforts expected in a hotel in its class to make guests feel at home. Convenient location, a dedicated staff and first-rate facilities make this hotel a favourite among travelers. The rooms have cable TV, AC, hot water, fridge and Western bath. Prices from US$77.
Santepheap Hotel: (tel: 072/971537)
A place you can find different rooms at different prices. It is a kind of all-rounder in town, with cheaper fan-cooled rooms in the main building with the added extra of hot water. It’s located just across the river road from the boat landing. It’s the sister hotel of the Mekong Hotel in Kampong Cham town. It features rooms with a river view, a big Western bath, twin beds, TV and a/c for US$ 15 a night. The fan rooms are US$ 7, but have no TV.
Heng Heng Hotel & Restaurant: (tel: 072/971405)
Located just across from the river, this place has a nice second-floor terrace and rooms with a nice river view. The staffs are very friendly and some speak English. The rooms are nice enough and have a Western bath, TV and fan for US$ 7. The same room with a/c is US$ 12. There is also a good restaurant on the premises on the ground floor.
Star Guesthouse: (tel: 072/971663)
One of the best budget deals in the whole town. Nice clean rooms with a Western bath and fan for US$ 5. There is a second-floor terrace overlooking the market and part of the river down the street. The owner?s sons speak English and are very helpful to give information on Kratie.
Apsara Guesthouse & Restaurant:
These rooms are small, with thin walls and a share bath. The place is kept fairly clean and comes at 8,000 riel for one bed or 10,000 riel for two beds, that’s okay. There is a restaurant on the premises.
Hai Heng Guesthouse:
It’s close to the Mean Guesthouse. With very low ceilings, a place for vertically challenged people, 10,000 riel per night.
Phnom Meas Guesthouse; Soksan Guesthouse; Nyta Guesthouse:
These three places are near each other just south of the market. They are all similar, clean, have a bathroom in the room and a fan. They are good value at US$ 3 a night.
Similar to the Apsara Guesthouse with rooms going for 5,000-7,000 riel per night (basic).
The Kratie market is right in the thick of things, just a block from the river. It’s the usual all-purpose variety with local shops dealing the local daily consumer products, like fish, fruits, vegetables, meats and other packed products. There are two small night market areas. One is across the road from the northern side of the market. The other is on the street and just east of the Heng Heng Hotel. There are a couple of photo shops near the pack of guesthouses just west of the market.