Dolphin spotting in Kratie

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our journey to Kratie, was long and uneventful except for the consistent breaking down of our bus in the last leg of our journey. First there was something wrong with the engine, which our driver managed to fix and then one of the tyres got a flat, which proved somewhat more problematic. I think they did not have a jack to lift the bus. Our first attempt was to continue driving on the flat which meant going along decent roads at about 10 miles per hour. After a while the driver decided that this was not going to be feasable and stopped by the side of the road, got the spare tyre out and proceeded to stare at the bus for a good half hour. We whiled away the time by playing with a group of kids who got extremely excited at having their picture taken. They squealed in delight whenever we showed them their own photos. Very cute! After six more stops the driver finally found someone with a jack and spent a good hour changing the wheel when we were about 15 minutes away from our destination. Grrrr!



Tired and frustrated after the long journey, we checked into the first guesthouse that had rooms. Bad mistake. The room was filthy with grubby walls and floors. I got increasingly depressed the more I looked around me. The proverbial straw came when I went to switch on the fan and got electrocuted by open wires. A few minutes later we were back out on the street looking for something less depressing. Thankfully we found somewhere down the road that was a lot better just for one dollar more! 

That first night was spent swapping tales with a lovely Irish couple in a restaurant come bar come book shop. It is owned by a crazy but great Canadian guy that has been in the area before they even had roads! (His words.) 

The main reason to visit Kratie is to see the endangered Irrawaddy River dolphins but there are a few other things to do as well. So on the one day we had there we did a mini tour by tuk tuk. Our first stop was a temple that had great views of the area but not much else. I think we were a bit templed up after Angkor! Our next stop was much more rewarding. We went to an area of the Mekong where all the local Cambodians swim and party. There are these wooden jetty's that stretch out into the water and people hire an area and bring loads of food and beer. Whenever they get hot, they just jump into the cooling river. It was a great insight on how the Cambodians have fun. 

Our last stop was the main event. We hired a boat with an Italian and a Romanian and set off to see the dolphins. Within minutes we had Dolphins popping up for air. Trying to get shots of them was nigh on impossible so in the end I decided just to enjoy the moment and just watch them. In this area of the Mekong there are about 80 Irrawaddy dolphins left. 80 left! How can we let such wonderful animals die off? If we can't save dolphins, no animals have a chance. Thankfully as they are a big draw to the area, the fishermen who used to hunt them now are guides for travelers like us. These 80 dolphins have brought loads of business to the area and the locals are really benefiting from keeping them alive. A perfect example on how travel can change things sometimes. 

So that was Kratie. I urge everybody to stop off there just to see the Dolphins even if it's just for 1 day. Our next stop is number 4 in the countries I most want to see. Laos. 

See you on a hammock over the Mekong!

All our love,

Paul & Karen xxx 
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Gomnino on

You two have a real courage to come this far, when you come to place like this
you may well expect similar incident can happen, when I travelled Port Moresby
and trying to reach mountain top, bus got flat tires and wait for spare tire to arrive half an hour later, but we made the top of mountain where I have seen
"Bird of Paradise" as colourful like our own oil painging and we ate small kangaroo on Mount Hagen. take care, you can get bite of mosquito. gom

pearl foyle on

I think your mom and i should am done something like this when we were younger. Am sure we would have had a great time just like you both are having. Continue to enjoy yourselfs. I am enjoying your journey too. love from Pearl and gang.

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