Irrawaddy Dolphins: Attempt #2 in Kratie


Rob was unsatisfied with his photos from our first dolphin spotting boat ride, so he wanted to try again, this time in Kratie, where the dolphins come closer to the boat. Try two was definitely more successful, though it came at a price.

Sights and Activities

The Irrawaddy dolphin is the main reason Kratie is on the tourist map, and though we'd already seen them in Don Khon, Rob wanted to try again.

We were a lot closer this time around, maybe 100 or so feet, but the steep price tag - $9 per person - certainly wasn't worth it. The dolphins come up for air, but pretty much all you can see of them is what I call a "dolphin blob." No nose or head, and sometimes a fin.

Irrawaddy dolphin near Kratie, Cambodia
TIP: It's a hell of a lot cheaper and more scenic to see the dolphins in Laos

If you have a zoom lens or binoculars, see the dolphins there.

What we did love about Kratie were the Kampi "rapids." About five minutes north of the dolphin pool, this dry weather setup shows Cambodian culture at its most hilarious. We've decided that Asians make (or buy) the BEST picnics. Amazing, and an awesome way to spend a hot day!

Just outside of Kratie, locals enjoy these thatched roof shacks on the river as they get a massage from rapids on the Mekong

Overall, Kratie makes for a nice stop on your way down from Laos. It's cleaner than other Cambodian towns, there's a decent backpacker scene, and the views make you feel like you're on a beautiful beach—even though you're not.

Welcome to Kratie, a Cambodian town on the wide Mekong


We stayed at Heng Heng II right on the water. It's two doors down from Heng Heng and supposedly a bit nicer, though I'm not sure the difference would have been noticeable.

Food and Drink

All the hotels/guesthouses have restaurants and we had some really awesome fish amok, the local specialty, at Mekong Hostel.

Other than that, try the bamboo tubes being sold everywhere on the street. They're stuffed with sticky rice flavored with coconut milk and beans. Cheap, yummy, and filling!

Lina's favorite new snack. Sweet sticky rice stuffed in a bamboo case… And a side of mango. On our way to Kratie


The dolphin pool is 15km north of Kratie so you can either take a tuk tuk tour or rent a motorbike. The latter is recommended. Ours was $4 for a half day rental.

TIP: Stop at the Kampi rapids if you rent a motorbike

Great way to cool off in the middle of the day!

You can take a ferry to the island of Koh Trang directly opposite Kratie and rent a bike to cycle around for a few hours. It's supposed to be a nice slice of rural Cambodia, though that likely means a ton of garbage.

From Kratie we headed to Siem Reap in a minivan. Because it was STILL New Year (I know!), it cost $15 instead of the usual $12. It took about 6.5 hours with a lunch stop. Prepare to be smushed. Just make sure you don't get in one of these vans:

load up the van!
TIP: When you book your van, ask where it drops you off in Siem Reap

Ours made us get off before the city and take a tuk-tuk, which I'm fairly certain was operated by his cousin.

More Kratie

Interested in seeing Cambodian local life and Irrawaddy dolphins without paying for a plane ticket? Check out our Kratie photo tour.

Any advice for backpacking in Kratie? Let us know in the comments!