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.
General information about the provincial climate:
– 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.