Top 8 Things to Do and See in Kratié
Kratié is an underrated gem that provides one of the most authentic Cambodian experiences. Not many people visit it, even though it’s not difficult to get to and it has some of the best views in Cambodia. If you decide to go, here are the 8 best things to do in Kratié.
Search for the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins
Kratié is one of the few places you can see the freshwater Irrawaddy dolphin. With only about 92 of them left in the world, seeing them is a must-do. You can either book a kayaking trip to paddle up alongside the dolphins or take a boat out. Here are detailed instructions on how to see the Irrawaddy dolphins.
Explore Koh Trong
Koh Trong is a rural paradise that’s a short boat ride from Kratié. There are few tourists that visit or stay on the island so you’ll experience a genuine slice of Cambodian life.
The island is only 8 km from top to bottom, with one main road that circles the island. The main ways to get around are walking, biking, motorbiking, or taking an ox-drawn cart. If you want to rent a bike, head to the small tourism shack once you walk onto the island.
Koh Trong is a lovely half or full-day trip where you’ll see floating homes, undisturbed beaches, lush farm fields, and lots of pomelo trees.
Chill by the Kampi Rapids
Aside from being the spot where you can take a boat to see the Irrawaddy dolphins, Kampi is where you’ll find locals hanging out. During the dry season, locals build shaded wooden platforms over the Kampi Rapids. Hide out from the burning sun, rent hammocks, buy snacks and drinks or bring your own picnic, and take a dip in the water.
Follow the Mekong Discovery Trail
The Mekong Discovery Trail runs 180 km between Kratié and the Cambodia-Laos border. The network of trails was created in 2006 by the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and the SNV Netherlands Development Organization to encourage tourism along the Mekong River. It’s a unique way to see what local life is like on the Mekong and one of the best off-the-beaten-path activities you can do in Cambodia.
Funding for the trail ran out in 2012, so it hasn’t been well maintained. If you’re really adventurous, you can rent a bicycle and discover the trail on your own. But if that seems daunting, Adventure Travel Cambodia and Cambodia Mekong Trail offer guided tours.
Visit Krong Kracheh Pagoda
Located in the town center, Krong Kracheh Pagoda is one of the most convenient things to do in Kratié. The beautiful temple is surrounded by small gardens and ornate stupas.
Enjoy sunset along the Mekong River
The best thing to do in the evening is walk along the Mekong River and take in the sunset. Kratié had the most stunning sunsets I saw in Cambodia. The sky is entirely bathed in vibrant red, orange, yellow, and purple, and the Mekong acts as a giant mirror reflecting all the colors back.
Get a view of Kratié from Phnom Sambok Pagoda
Climb over 300 steps up the Phnom Sambok Pagoda and you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful view of the Mekong River. Buddha statues line the stairs. At the top, you’ll see scenes depicting Buddha’s life and the consequences of not leading a virtuous life. It’s a beautiful pagoda, but be careful of the many monkeys that hang out there.
See the 100 Column Pagoda
The grand 100 Column Pagoda does indeed have 100 columns, but that’s not the most interesting part. The origin of the pagoda involves a monk, his crocodile, and a princess. It was built in 1806 by King Ang Chan Reachea II “in dedication of his daughter who was swallowed by the crocodile.”