For a tiny town, Kratie (Krong Kracheh) has a lot to offer for site seeing and getting a glimpse into Cambodian life outside of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Take a one-day tour via TukTuk to get to see everything from dolphins playing in the Mekong River to incredible temples.
Price for a full day TukTuk: $20. Our driver, Ploy, picked us up at 8am and dropped us back off at the hotel around 2.30, making for a fairly long day riding along the dusty roads throughout Kratie.
You can contact Ploy at +85 597 719 0001 on What’s App. His English was excellent. He was friendly, knowledgable and made the whole experience much more enjoyable with his suggestions, itinerary and commentary. He also drove at a decent pace while being quite safe.
Learning how Bamboo Stick Rice is made
The first stop of the day was to visit a local business where they produce ‘sticky rice.’ You will see these bamboo sticks about 1 foot long at many road side stands. To make them, they fill the bamboo with rice, sugar, coconut milk and beans. The bamboo is then roasted over an open flame for two hours. They start this around 3am to ensure that they can get the rice to the shops in time for them to open, so you’ll probably miss that part. Once the rice has been cooked, the bamboo is cut into 1-foot pieces and sealed to keep the rice fresh. Because they strip the bamboo down it is quite thin when you buy it and can peel it back piece by piece to eat the rice. It’s delicious, having been sweetened by the coconut milk.
Local name for this dish: Kralan (Khmer: ក្រឡាន)
Head down the road to a spot on the Mekong River where you can hire a boat for an hour ($9/person for up to two people and $7/hr for more than two). Head down to the river and your captain will head out on the calm, serene waters. Fairly immediately you’re going to see dolphins start splashing around. Because they live here year-round, the boat captains even guarantee dolphin sightings. You can do more than an hour, but that was enough for me.
The 100 Pillar Pagoda
From the dolphin spot, it’s about an hour ride to the 100 Pillar Pagoda. This incredible building is still in active use and is a wonder to wander through. From the outside, it’s what I’d hoped for in terms of seeing a pristine, ornate temple in Cambodia. The inside is more wondrous, with murals and paintings from floor to ceiling, including around the many pillars.
Mekong Turtle Conservation Center
Next to the 100 Pillar Pagoda is a locally based non-profit that is focused on preserving the lives of the local turtle population, some species of which are endangered. It is a $4 entry fee and you’ll be happy to contribute that to such a worthy cause. The guide was fantastic, passionate and informative. You’re able to see baby soft shell turtles up close and personal and learn about their plight from predators and humans. They also explained that the local community has become very active helping to protect these animals and showed a very quick video about how locals will protect the nests and have to contributed to releasing thousands of baby turtles back into the wild.
Mekong Turtle Conservation Center on Facebook
We stopped for lunch across the street and thoroughly enjoyed the Khmer Noodle, served by and extremely friendly bunch with a view of the Mekong River.
The last stop was the Phnom Sombok. Your TukTuk can drive you to the bottom of the mountain’s steps. Beware, there are quite a few steps to hike up but it is more than worth the climb. After your first mini-hike you’re in a tiny village (just a few buildings) that are still active for use by the monks that reside here, including a tiny library. The whole walk up and around, there are statues of monks and tributes to deities that add to the almost Disney-like quality of the village. Up the next group of steps, you can walk in a circle around the mini-mountain to take in some great views and check out the scenes created by the statues. Up the final flights of steps and you’re at the tiny temple at the top. While it may be extremely small, the interior of the temple is amazing. Top to bottom, all surfaces are covered by murals with stunning colors and stepping inside is a bit surreal.
Kratie Happy Hour!
Back in Kratie, you’re probably going to wash the dust off and then I’d recommend heading to the Balcony Kratie for happy hour (5-7 everyday with buy one get one beers for $1.50 and $2 cocktails) to watch the sunset.
Find a Hotel in Kratie, Cambodia
Your itinerary for 1 Day in Kratie
|Stop #1||Learn how Sticky Rice is made|
|Stop #2||Dolphin Habitat|
|Stop #3||The 100 Pillar Pagoda|
|Stop #4||Mekong Turtle Conservation Center|
|Stop #5||Phnom Sombok|
|Stop #6||Watch the Sunset & Enjoy Happy Hour|