Situated on the east bank of the mighty Mekong River is a charming, cheerful little town of Kratie. Unlike in many towns around Cambodia, the war years were fairly kind to the French architecture and the roads, at least in the town itself. There are some nice-looking homes of French and Khmer style scattered about, adding to the pleasant feel of the place.

Kratie is the best place in Cambodia to view the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Dolphins that inhabit the Mekong River. A long flight of steps lead into a pavilion of Phnom Sombok that features detailed photos of afterlife punishments to those who have sinned in the present life. Wat Roka Kandal is a restored pagoda with an ancient Lao style ‘Stupa’ on the riverfront about 2 kilometers from the town center. About 15 kilometers from town, there is a large Cham community. This is known locally as the ‘basket-weaving’ village; it is the biggest in Kratie with over 4000 villagers living here.

Climate: The climate here is tropical. When compared with winter, the summers have much more rainfall. In Kratie, the average annual temperature is 27.5 °C. The average annual rainfall is 1707 mm.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit Kratie is from November to March when humidity is bearable, temperatures are cooler and it's unlikely to rain. It is best to go and see dolphins in early mornings or late afternoons.

Getting here: Kratie is accessed most commonly by bus. To the north is Stung Treng (about 3 hours), to the south, Kampong Cham (2 hours or so–we arrived from this direction, and the road was good). There are also buses from Phnom Penh, and shared minivans from these cities and some others.


Cambodia has two seasons, both affected by the monsoon winds. The northeastern monsoon blowing toward the coast ushers in the cool, dry season in November, which lasts through February, with temperatures between 18°C and 27°C. December and January are the coolest months. It heats up to around 35°C and higher in March and April, when the southwestern monsoon blows inland from the Gulf of Thailand, bringing downpours that last an hour or most days. This rainy, humid season runs through October, with temperatures ranging from 27°C to 35°C. The climate in Phnom Penh is always very humid. Thanks to climate change, Cambodia now experiences rainstorms in the dry season, cool temperatures in the hot season, and a lot of unpredictability. Bring your umbrella, although higher-end resorts usually offer one along with your bathrobe and slippers.

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Currently, Cambodia has three airports receiving international flights: Phnom Penh, Siem Riep and Sihanoukville. There are always taxis, tuk-tuks and motodups awaiting and available for arriving passengers. The cheapest option to travel around cities in Cambodia is to travel using the bus.

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