|Today I did a quick trip up the Kratie, which is on the Mekong. Kratie is a medium size city by Cambodian standards but it is surrounded by rice fields and sparse forest. The town of Kratie was not that special, however the surrounding countryside was a great relief from the congestion of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The main draw of Kratie is that it is one of the only places you can see the endangered Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins. At one time they thought there were about 1000 dolphins in Cambodia and Laos, however the civil war and fishing with grenades has substantially reduced their numbers maybe 60 in this area.
To get to Kratie I took an early morning bus from Phnom Penh. Since I slept most of the way it was quite pleasant. Along the way we stopped for lunch at a small town named Skuon. I have to say that I was pre-warned, but it was still a surprise to see ladies walking around with plates of deep fried tarantula type spiders. I did not partake but I hear they taste like chicken!
Once the bus got to Kratie I quickly met some other travelers that were there to see the dolphins. One was on an extremely tight schedule so we hired motos to take us to the river and to a temple along the way. At the river we chartered a boat and almost immediately saw some dolphins. Unlike ocean dolphins these don't really come much out of the water, just a brief appearance for a breath. The buggers are sure hard to catch on camera but I did succeed in taking two photos at a distance. Since we had such a late start we were treated to an awesome sunset over the Mekong.
Tomorrow I'm traveling back to Phnom Penh and then on to the Southwest of Cambodia to spend some time on the beach.