Kratie, Koh Pdao Island and the Mighty Mekong
Only a half a day’s drive northeast from Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and you arrive in the little town of Kratie, a local fishing community that lies on the banks of the Mekong River.
Despite its small size Kratie is a captivating place with a market square surrounded by French colonial buildings; a reminder of Cambodia’s past under French administration. The town is also situated close to several river islands, the most famous being Koh Pdao, which also happens to be the largest in the Mekong River.
Accessible only by boat Koh Pdao is home to a number of small fishing communities, and while there are no roads on the island, a network of tracks and trails linking the local communities make it an ideal place to walk or cycle around and meet the friendly locals. Community spirit is strong here and visitors will constantly find themselves being invited to the homes of people they meet along the way.
Another big attraction of Koh Pdao is the abundance of birdlife along the island’s river channels, but the biggest lure for visitors is a stretch of river to the north of the town which is home to a pod of rare Irrawaddy dolphins, the town’s main tourist attraction. It is estimated that there are only between 66 and 86 dolphins left in the upper Cambodian Mekong River.
Both Kratie and Koh Pdao are the objects of several sustainability projects looking to preserve the local way of life and rich eco-system. Off the beaten track, Koh Pdao and Kratie have much to offer travelers looking to discover the essence of rural Cambodia.
For more information about Kratie and other Cambodia tours, or for booking requests please email to [email protected]