We were delighted to find out that there really are dolphins in the Mekong on our recent stop in Kratie, Cambodia, and what’s more you can hire a boat to take you dolphin spotting.
We stayed in a hotel in Kratie town which we thought was a bit of a nothing town, and to be honest, apart from the dolphins up the road in Kampi, it’s probably not worth the stop, but if you have time and want to see dolphins then add it to your itinerary.
You can hire a moto rickshaw to take you to see the dolphins from Kratie town for $10 return, and the trip to Kampi takes approx. 20 minutes. At Kampi you can then hire a boat which costs $9 per person (for 1-2 people) or $7 per person (3 + people) for an hour of dolphin spotting.
The boat driver we had was quite good as he did not use his engine very much and was able to simply row us out to the dolphins easily without scaring them. Although, as the boats are not shared, each group / couple is assigned their own boat, so there were around 4 boats all floating around the dolphins and essentially chasing them for a good photo opportunity. We came across this bunch of photography ‘experts’ with their cannon like cameras and we couldn’t help but to have a bit of a giggle.
We were dubious before we set out and wondered if we would actually see any dolphins, but we saw lots of them swimming and playing in the cooling afternoon sun. Watching dolphins in the wild is an amazing experience as you are not sure where they will appear next, but when they do they are magical. The best time to visit the dolphins is in the afternoon after 4pm or early in the morning before 8am.
If you pay the moto rickshaw driver an extra $2 you can visit Sambok Hill on the way back to watch the sunset, although personally we preferred watching the sunset over the Mekong in Kratie as the view from the hill was obscured by trees. When the sun sets in Kratie it is a beautiful deep red colour and very photogenic.