Kratie Province, located on the east bank of the Mekong River, attracts a fair share of visitors, many of whom wish to catch a glimpse of the last few Irrawaddy Dolphins left in the world. The recommended place to see them is Kampi Village, about 15 kilometers from town. Irrawaddy Dolphins are an endangered species and are extremely rare; it is estimated there are only about 60 living in this stretch of the river. The town of Kratie offers an authentic rural ambience, and therefore serves as the perfect place to spend a peaceful night or two. It is a nice relief from some of the country’s more trafficked areas. There numerous sites to visit in Kratie. Phnom Sombok is a small temple located on a hill north of town. 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. Nearby lies a more modern pagoda where chanting of the monks can be heard at dawn and in the evenings. 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. A popular end-of-the-day activity in Kratie is to relax by the riverfront to watch the sun set.
Kampi Dolphin Site
Kampi is the name of a small village situated at the east bank of the Mekong River, 15km north of Kratie on the old National Road 7. Kampi is the best place in Cambodia to see the rare Mekong River Dolphin. Kampi Dolphin pool is the most inhabited dolphin pool in the Mekong River with about 20 dolphins. Kampi Dolphin Site was established in 1999 to welcome international and local tourists and for scientific researchers to study the Mekong River Dolphin. There are motor boats available to shuttle visitors out of the Mekong River to see Dolphin at close quarters. The best time to see Dolphin is at dry season early morning and late afternoon.
Phnom Sambok is a hill is covered by various kinds of trees labeled with scientific names. At the top of the hill, tourists can visit a small temple, and cottages that serve as residencies for Buddhist monks, clergymen, and nuns.
Kampi is a natural attraction in Kratie Province that is situated alongside the Mekong River, approximately 16 km from Kratie City and 1 km north of Kampi Dolphin. A small archipelago, Kampi attracts visitors with beautiful streams where visitors can bathe and swim. Kampi is a seasonal attraction and can be visited only during the dry season from January to May.All sorts of Khmer food are sold at Kampi, including the famous local food is Chak Chreng dish (Chak Chreng is a species of snail living only in Kampi area). Accommodations and food are arranged by the local community. Kampi is a very popular picnic area for Khmer families on weekends and at Khmer New Year.
Vihear Sarsar Mouy Rouy
Vihear Sarsar Mouy Rouy is a pagoda well-known for its history and as a place of pilgrimage for residents of Kratie. Vihear Sarsar Mouy Rouy, meaning ‘Temple with 100 columns’, was first built in the 16th century by King Chann Reachea. The pagoda included 100 wooden columns to commemorate the memory of his daughter Vorakpheak. The pagoda is located in Sambor town, 36 km from Kratie. To get there, take the old N R 7 along the River bank 24 km to Sandan village and continue northward 12 km by the River road to Sambo.
HISTORY OF VIHEAR SARSAR MOUY ROUY
In the 16th century, King Chann Reachea reigned over the country and lived in the former capital City of Oudong. He had a daughter named Vorakpheak. Once the daughter was ill, he commanded his servants to invite the head of Buddhist monastery at Neak Sen pagoda (located at Chrouy Banteay commune Prek Prasop district) to cure his daughter’s illness. While the head of the monk was absent from the pagoda, Nen Thun his favorite student who learnt white magic spell secretly, and then he was magically transformed into a crocodile called “Crocodile Nen Thun”. When the teacher returned, Nen Thun had become a crocodile and could not turn to be a human being.Then he always took his teacher on his back to cure the king’s daughter. One day, a mighty crocodile called Sopor Kaley, that wanted to challenge with Nen Thun, stopped Nen Thun while he was carrying his teacher on the way back from the palace.The two crocodiles then started fighting. As Nen Thun could not find way to save his teacher, he decided to swallow his teacher into his stomach to keep safe for a while. The fighting lasted 3 days and 3 night, and finally Sopor Kaley was defeated and then died and suddenly turn into a mountain presently called Sopor Kaley. When Nen Thun threw out his teacher from his stomach, he was alredy dead. Nen Thun was very sorry and determined to kill he king’s daughter because he thought that she was the cause of his teacher’s death. Nen Thun swam quietly and suddenly swallowed the kind’s daughter who was playing at the Royal Palace port.
King Chann Reachea commanded his confidants to follow Nen Thun until they reached the place now known as Sambor caught crocodile (Nen Thun) there and cut open the crocodile’s stomach to get the king’s daughter out. The king decided to buy her corpse in Sambor and build a 100-column pagoda to dedicate to the spirit of his daughter.
Phnom Preah is a historical and cultural site 1 km west of Chhlong Market. It has a small hermitage and a big Buddha statue that people from different places visit. It is said that big Buddha statue was made of Tatrao wood floating along the Mekong river from Laos that got stuck at the port of a pagoda now known as Seila Noti Chholng. Laymen and laywomen at the pagoda took the statue and kept him at the pagoda for worship. Later, statue told the residents in their dreams that moving the statue to a hill behind that village would bring good health and prosperity. The people did, and since then the villagers have called that hill “Phnom Preah.”
It is a historical and cultural tourist spot located at Chambok commune, Prek Prasob district along the north side of the Mekong River, 45 km to the southwest of the provincial town. To get there, take the River Road 15 km west of Chhlong and cross the Mekong River by ferry to Chambok village. Visitors can go to the foot of the mountain through a laterited road about 800 concrete steps up to the top of the mountain. Tourists can enjoy the views of rural and from areas and the Mekong River. According to a legend, Sopor Kalei mountain took the name after crocodile Sopor Kalei, who was defeated by Nen Thun. When it died, it turned to be the mountain called Sopor Kaley.
At Koh Pdao, an island in the Mekong, visitors will find the Koh Pdao Dolphin Pool, one of the few places where you can spot the rare Irrawaddy river dolphin. During the Community Development Tour, visitors travel up the Mekong River from Kratie to Koh Pdao Island and observe the lives of Cambodians on Koh Pdao. Home stays can be arranged.