The trip to Kratie took around 4 hours. Fellow traveler and a blogger, Jenny, introduced the Balcony to me so we decided to stay there but turns out it was completely booked so we stayed at a guest house few doors down from it. The whole block is full of guest houses so we didn’t have to worry about finding one with rooms available. The rooms were $15, relatively clean with AC and wifi so no big complaints there. I’m guessing all the rooms are similar both in price and quality. We were also staying for a night only anyway so wasn’t looking for something fancy.
We grabbed lunch at the guest house we were staying at since we wanted a quick grub before heading out. The food was mediocre but satisfactory. Afterwards, we drove to the dock where you board the boats that will take you around the mekong. (To get there, simply ask the front desk and they’ll be glad to tell you how to get there or get a tuk tuk for you. Along the way, you will see how villagers live. Since it is the rainy season, a lot of the houses were flooded. For reasons like this, Khmer houses are all built on wooden stilts so the living area is not affected but in order for them to go in and out of the houses, they need to walk through the dirty waist-deep water. Having been on site visits with work, I was not more aware of hygiene and health problems and watching children swim, bathe and sometimes drink those water kept bothering me. It was definitely the culprit of all types of diseases. Cattles also had to move out onto the roads because their living spaces were flooded. So along the way you can see cows, pigs, chickens and ducks running around avoiding vehicles driving past.
The tickets cost $7 per person. We shared a boat with two other tourists. The boats are small and a little bit rundown but it’s not bad at all. If you don’t like insects though, make sure to wear long pants. The boat we were in was full of ants and little bugs. I’m usually not a fan but when I travel to the provinces, I become more tolerant of them.
The whole boat ride was around 2 hours. I hear sometimes it’s hard to sight dolphins but we were lucky! It was fun staring out trying to spot dolphins bobbing up and down. It was also really relaxing to watch the sunset and see how people lived by the river.
After the boat ride, it was time for dinner so we decided to walk to the street with the market and restaurants. I really wanted to try the food at the Balcony but we ended up stopping at a restaurant few blocks down from the guest house (I apologize for being an awful blogger and not having any names of the places :( I forgot to note them down. But I assume a lot of the places are similar.) The food was alright. I ordered a Gin Tonic except got extra protein with it so I had to cancel the order. The picture will explain everything.
On the way to Kratie, we saw a lot of Cows on the street.. Due to the rain, all the houses are flooded so the kettles have lost their 'living' space for the season. They've built a camp side on the rode in front of the houses. Of course, this makes driving on the 'highway' very difficult.
The rainy season usually ends up flooding the houses. Most of them are built on high silts to prevent the water from coming into the house but this one was definitely not high enough.
Kratie is known for its flat-nosed dolphins known as Kratie dolphins or Irrawadi dolphins.
You can find a lot of wooden sculptures of animals especially dolphins in Kratie. I didn't buy any though.
$7 will put you on a boat like this. Not the best quality but it floats.
During the rainy season, the river becomes wider and the water becomes clearer. It was so peaceful to just float on the water and quietly wait for dolphins to show up.
Fisherman. Fishing is their main source of food/income especially during the rainy season.
Dolphins! Finally! Only could catch glimpse of them but it was still fun to sight them!
Here's a tail! yayyy!
Trying to capture the moment. Pictures really don't do it justice.
After an hour or so, the sun started setting and it added on to the peacefulness. I definitely recommend going after 3pm so that it's not too hot and you can catch the sunset too!
Spotting the dolphins was fun but the sunset was just amazing.
Feel free to leave me a comment if you are planning to visit Kratie and need info/suggestions! Next up, trekking through the rainforest with elephants in Mondulkiri!
Oh, and I forgot to add, here’s my gin and tonic with extra protein. YUMMY!