Entrance Fresco at Roka Kandal, Kratie, Cambodia by Asienreisender

An entrance gate fresco at Roka Kandal, Kratie. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

Kratie, Provincial Council, Cambodia by Asienreisender

Kratie's Provincial Council. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

Colonial Building, Kratie, Cambodia by Asienreisender

One of the older buildings in Kratie, left in an unrestorated state. For a time there was a health institution inside. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

Wat in Kratie by Asienreisender

A new wat built in traditional style. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

Door Pattern at Roka Kandal, Kratie, Cambodia by Asienreisender

Wooden door at Wat Roka Kandal. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

Kratie / Cambodia



Kratie Town

The province town of Kratie is also the province capital of Kratie Province. It's placed on the easter banks of the Mekong River in east Cambodia. Some 60,000 people are living in the town.

Kratie, Roka Kandal, Cambodia by Asienreisender

Roka Kandal, an early 19th century temple in Kratie. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

The river promenade and the buildings along the Mekong River with some squares provide a kind of a mediterranean flair, wich is underlined by the presence of some old, colonial buildings of French architecture. More buildings of that kind are to see around the market place.

What is looking like the opposite river banks of the Mekong is in fact a big river island, Koh Trong. It's easy to go there on a ferry. Koh Trong gives a perfect impression of rural Cambodia.

Kratie is a hub for tourists coming from Phnom Phen and heading either to Mondulkiri, Ratanakiri or further north to Laos (4000 Islands). The northern road between Kratie and Stung Treng is partially sealed but in a bad state. Kratie makes also a pleasant place for candellight dinners, for several times a day the electricity is failing for a few minutes (May 2013). Presumably it's more often so in rainy season. Internet connections are additionally interrupted. Internet speed is varying between usable and almost non-existent.

Kratie, Riverside, Cambodia by Asienreisender

Kratie, at the riverside. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

The 4000 Islands (Si Phan Don) in south Laos mark the start of a change in the Mekong Rivers flow. From there on the river splits ever and again up into several arms and channels, who are joining together again a few hundred meters or more downstream. There are hundreds of seasonally overflooded islands in the Mekong River around Kratie. In 2007 there were governmental plans to build a Mekong dam next to the town.

Mekong River at Kampi, Cambodia by Asienreisender

The Mekong River near Kampi. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

The main reason to visit Kratie is the nearby place of Kampi, where presumably the highest number of the Irrawaddy Dolphins in the Mekong River live.



Irrawaddy Dolphins at Kampi, Cambodia by Asienreisender

A couple of Irrawaddy Dolphins. There is always a characteristical sound to hear at the moment they appear at the surface to take a breath. They breathe through an opening in their back head. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

The village of Kampi is 15km riverupwards of Kratie and as it placed at the banks of the Mekong River. It's actually merely a long hose of wooden houses following the small road which is running parallel to the Mekong. There are two 'attractions' in Kampi. The first is a part of the Mekong River with rapids. A wooden bridge is leading from the banks to the next sandbanks in the river. The bridge is seamed with wooden constructions where one can rest on mattresses, in hammocks, having some food and a swim in the river.

A few kilometers downstream is the other, bigger 'attraction' to visit. It's a Mekong pool in which some of the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins live. It's possible to rent a boat with a skipper here and have a closer look for the animals. The best time to go is probably in the earlier morning and the late afternoon or early evening; but also in daytime the dolphins are to see. It's a better place to watch them here than at the 4000 Islands, because the boats can approach close to the dolphins, whereas at the 4000 Islands, coming from the Laotian side, the Cambodian border marks a barrier and can not be crossed over. Therefore a closer approach to the dolphins is there not always possible.

Another point, speaking for Kampi, is that there are more dolpins living here than up in Laos.

Kampi Village, Cambodia by Asienreisender

The road at Kampi is seamed with little cottages mostly of this kind. Image by Asienreisender, 2013

The number of the Irrawaddy Dolphins in the Mekong River is more and more shrinking. The 2009 WWF given number of dolphins at Kampi was put at 25 individuals. The increasing pollution of the Mekong River leads to an increasing mortality of river animals, particularly of dolphin calves. DDT pesticides, forbidden since the 1970s in western countries for their high toxicity, are still in wide use here in the agriculture. Other high toxical substances like mercury, used for gold mining in Laos, is causing damage for the dolphins, for other species and for the people who live from the river.

Since the dolphin population is already so small, inbreed is a following problem.

Personally I saw not more than seven dolphins, mostly appearing in couples. A few times a single dolphin came very close to the boat.

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Published on May 8th, 2013