Kratie is one of Cambodia’s eastern provinces with less population, who make their lives on the riverbanks of the Mekong. Beyond the riverbanks it is a remote place with almost no population and thick-forested areas to calm down. The provincial capital is also called Kratie and lies also on the banks of the mighty Mekong River, which emboss the province from the North to the South.
The stretch of the river around Kratie town is home to a group of rare sweet water Irrawaddy dolphins. Therefore the dolphins are the main tourist attraction of the province and the town. The river also has hundreds of green island, and circling water, which are also attracting some tourists. Kratie town is sleepy but picturesque with sandbars and big islands out front and bends in the river. 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. You’ll also find a bustling market which is a great place to watch frogs being skinned (and escaping first through the holes in the nets), sample some delicious foods (such as freshly grilled corn cakes) and generally take in rural Cambodian life. The rare freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins make their home in the Mekong River, just north of Kratie. With only around 120 remaining, they are surely worth a visit.
Whether you are just on a trip seeing the river towns along the Mekong or taking a full circuit trip around the east and northeast, Kratie is a nice place to spend a night or two. The river scene of Kratie has a beautiful river boulevard with dozens of snack and drink stands in the late afternoon and evening, making this a nice spot to chill out and watch the people parading by. There are also a few big concrete decks along the river scene. The river road is a great place for a stroll or jog. Enjoy the dramatic sunsets over the Mekong.
Kratie province is 11,094 square kilometres big, which is categorized into several areas such as 83% forest, agricultural land 8% and red land 0.5% in Snoul district. It’s located in the East of the country and is bordering to the North with Stueng Treng, to the East with Mondulkiri, to the West with Kampong Thom and to the South with Kampong Cham.
The province consists mainly of thick forested area, where you still can see the 1970-75 bombings due to big craters in the countryside, some filled with water. You also may find the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations, even if it’s just a small percentage of agriculturally used land concerning the rest of Cambodia. The province features the biggest river of the country (approx. 140km of it), the mighty Mekong with its small rapids and critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins.
The current population of Kratie is approximately 290,000 and the population density is 26 people per sq.km. Roughly 70% of the people live along the river, whereas 30% live in the mountainous area. There are seven types of tribes in Kratie: the Phnorng, the Kouy, the Mil, the Khonh, the Steang, and the Thamoun.
The country has a tropical climate – warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
– Cool season: November- March (18-26c)
– Hot season: March- May (27c -35c)
– Rainy season: May – October (26-34c, with humidity up to 90%.)
In an effort to entice foreign investment, the province is offering generous business concessions to those who wish to invest in rubber plantations inside the country. Kampong Cham and Kratie have an abundance of red soil and water resources, which create ideal conditions for the cultivation of rubber. Generally, the people make their living from rubber and cashew nut plantation, fishing, rice farming and producing a rich array of fruits in fertile orchards, including durian, rambutans and lychees.
There are many Bus companies like Giant Ibis, Mekong Express, PSD Xpress, Sorya Bus, Neak Krohorm, Thero Express (15-seat), Larryta, KSO, Virak Buntham, Kampot Express, Cambodia Post VIP Van offering bus/van services to Kratie town using modern air-conditioned buses/vans. Buses/vans depart every 15 minutes to one hour, daily from 6am-12pm mid night. The prices are reasonable. Online Bus ticket can be purchased in advance.
Siem Reap to Kratie or v.v [Book Now]
Phnom Penh to Kratie or v.v [Book Now]
Share taxis are going frequently and for sure faster to your desired destination. Departing opposite of the central bus station behind the gas station you?ll find one of these or a minibus. The price comes at US$10-12. It may happen that you have to change the taxi in Kampong Cham as some taxis just go there and back. Others will already wait for you to take you to Kratie or further up.
There are several alternatives to get to Kratie, the easiest of which is by the bullet boats that ply the Mekong River. If you are coming from Kampong Cham and don’t have a motorcycle, the bullet boat is an easy and comfortable option. The bullet boat from Phnom Penh isn’t departing anymore to Kratie, as the road conditions are wonderful and most of the people go with the quick and affordable bus. Although it is possible to take one bullet boat from Kampong Cham or back departing early in the morning around 7am. The boat pier in Kampong Cham is directly in front of the Mekong Hotel. The trip takes just three hours and costs US$7. The Kratie-Stung Treng bullet boat trip only runs during the rainy season when the water level in the Mekong is sufficient enough to allow the boats to get through the numerous stretches of shallow rapids and various other obstacles on this stretch of the river. The trip upriver to Stung Treng takes around 6-7 hours, with the trip back down to Kratie, going with the current, taking about 4 hours. The price is around US$8.
Phnom Penh to Kratie If you are going to Kratie from Phnom Penh, the road to Kampong Cham is excellent (National Highway No 6, after the round about in Skun National Highway No 7), the road from Kampong Cham to the Snoul (also Mondulkiri) junction isn’t that great, but it’s definitely doable. The last section taking you to Kratie from Snoul was recently new paved and remains in a so-to-say perfect condition. This magnificent Highway No 7 led until the Lao border in the country’s rough North. Snoul to Mondulkiri If you are heading to Sen Monorom from Kratie, proceed to Snoul and pass through the main town area. You will come to a fork in the road where you stay to the left. Follow this about 7 km and you will come to a four-way junction where you turn left. This laterit-paved highway takes you to Sen Monorom. The road is nice and level having been cut by logging companies for their trucks. Fuel and food are available in Snoul town and at the four-way junction. Security on these stretches is not a problem.
The National Highway No 7 led through a nice remote countryside, where you rarely meet other vehicles. There are several small villages near the highway where you can gas up your vehicle or pop into one of the tiny basic-need stalls to eat something.
There is a typical market right one block into the town centre, which has the usual range of cheap food stalls with Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes. You may also have cheap food on the riverfront during the evening when lots of small food stalls set up. The place is awesome at sunset overlooking the Mekong with the sunset right in front.
Simple restaurant and take away near the Wat Orussey. This authentic khmer restaurant serves delicious soups and a variety of khmer dishes as khmer meat BBQ, fish, mango/papaya/banana-blossom salads, duck eggs and home made prahok.
This place has fine furnishings, good music and a small bookstore included. The menu unites a small selection of Asian food and some Western dishes, including excellent homemade brownies. It’s one of the most crowded places by night.
Coming from Lao you might be starving for some new experience referring to the local Cambodian food. So this place comes as a garden restaurant and offers you Khmer specialities completing with a local live band. Do not wonder about the time between you order and the time you may go for the tasty food, the cook takes his time.
This place has some very good food and some Western dishes, with an English menu to boot. Some staff speaks English and it is directly situated on the riverfront.
The food is okay and they can make a few Western dishes as well. The manager speaks English.
It’s a simple place with big ambition. It features decent Khmer food and beer girls, with a small late-night dance venue thrown in as well.
This is quite a reliable little place offering an English menu with a fair range of local dishes, as well as some interpretations of barang favourites such as thom long jean?(French fries). Simple Khmer fare located just in front of the 30 December Hotel.
They have an English menu and simple, cheap dishes.
The Kratie market is right in the thick of things, just a block from the river. It’s the usual all-purpose variety with local shops dealing the local daily consumer products, like fish, fruits, vegetables, meats and other packed products. There are two small night market areas. One is across the road from the northern side of the market. The other is on the street and just east of the Heng Heng Hotel. There are a couple of photo shops near the pack of guesthouses just west of the market.