Beautiful Mekong Sunsets and Irrawaddy Dolphins
Trip Start May 20, 2010
195Trip End Sep 05, 2011
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Where I stayed
Day : 164
Temperature : 32 degrees
Weather : Sunny mornings, cloudy afternoons
We left Siem Reap at 6.45am yesterday morning, mentally prepared for our 8 hour bus journey to Kratie. We thought it was odd that we were the only two people on the bus, but then we realised we were going to almost every hotel in Siem Reap to pick up other tourists....why did we have to be first?? We could have had an extra hour in bed!! We then stopped at the bus station where we were transferred to another bus going to Kratie. We were pleasantly surprised. This was a proper coach style bus, not a rickety old rust bucket....8 hours on here would be fine. Furthermore, there were plenty of spare seats which meant I could lie down across the 5 seats at the back, completely horizontal, and have a good snooze
Kratie is a small provincial town on the banks of the Mekong River in north eastern Cambodia. It is an ideal place to stop for a day or two on our journey to Laos. We are staying in the Oudom Sambath hotel which is right on the riverfront. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with TV and hot showers. The views over the Mekong River at sunset are fantastic. They do however, have the most uncomfortable pillows we've had on our entire trip...it's like trying to rest your head on a basketball! Unfortunately, I forgot to test the pillows when we looked at the room...big mistake.
We now have a routine when we are looking at hotel rooms, it's quite interesting, and I think very useful
Enough of my blabbering. Today we took a trip up the Mekong to see the Irriwaddy Dolphins. It cost a small fortune but these animals are critically endangered and so this could be the last chance to see them. We were a little sceptical at first, thinking that maybe we will be lucky if we see one at all. But no sooner had we arrived at our destination and we sighted our first dolphin about 15 metres away. Our boat driver cut the engine and we drifted around for about an hour. It's hard to say how many dolphins we saw, maybe about ten. But for the entire hour we were surrounded by them. It was really interesting to watch them as they chased and hunted the fish. Occasionally they would jump out of the water, but I was never quick enough to get a photo. Infact it was almost impossible to get any photographs because they suddenly appear from nowhere out of the water and then they are gone again. Never mind. It was well worth seeing them, but I think it would be possible to do this much more cheapely if you hired a motorbike or tuk-tuk on your own. You can drive to Kampi or get your tuk-tuk to take you to the village (about half an hour away from Kratie) and pay the entrance fee and boat / guide hire on the spot.
Tomorrow we head for the Laos border. Fingers crossed we can bribe our way to a visa on arrival. We have heard mixed things from "No definitely not", to "Yeah, they started a month ago". Better get a few extra One Dollar bills, and perhaps some packets of Cigarrettes then.....otherwise we are heading back to Phnom Penh.