Kratie (Krati) is a small town 7 hours north of Phnom Penh. It is situated at the Mekong which is one of the more beautiful rivers in the world. Along the waterfront you will see a lot of cute colonial style buildings. The view is quiet something.
Other than that the town has little to offer in regards to “attractions”. The main thing to do is going up the river to Kampie watching Dolphins. It sounds interesting but it may not be as watching Dolphins swimming in a river is a rather unspectacular affair.
Other places to visit are Phnom Sambok – a centre for meditation – and Sambor. The latter is a little peculiar. There is nothing left of the original place. Instead they built a pagoda still they praise it as “site”. Is rather typical for Cambodia.
I quite liked Kratie but for a different reason. It is a mellow place. It is perfect for chilling out, sitting at the river and reading a book. It is ideal if you want to take a break, chat with a companion or just contemplate a little bit. It has the right vibes. People leave you alone. Even the staff in the restaurants is not particularly eager to “serve you”. You actually have to get up and ask if you want something. In many ways this quite charming.
You can book a bus to the Laos border from here and even all the way through to 4000 islands. The trip to the border cost around 7 Dollar. It takes no more than 3 hours. You can now get a Laos visa directly at the border. It will cost 30-35 Dollars and a couple of Dollars for bribes.
The Oudom Sambath Hotel seems to be the best choice in town. It is a beautiful building and just a few meters away from the bus stop. Rooms start at around 5 Dollar (fan) and go to 20 Dollar for a triple with air condition.
The Morhaoutdom Hotel a clean and tidy enough place but I found the people running it not particularly forthcoming. They do give you the feeling that you are an intruder rather than a guest. I would not recommend the place. 8 Dollar for a room with fan and 15 Dollar for air condition is not particularly cheap either.
The Star is not at the waterfront but next to the market. It is not very appealing from the outside but seems OK otherwise.
The Balcony looks rather interesting. It is a bit further up the road from the bus station but is a stunning location with a great view. There are very few rooms but ask anyways. It certainly does worth it.
Eat and drink
There are surprisingly few places in Kratie. The cheapest option is the night market along the river.
The “place to be” seems to be the Red Sun Falling. It is a cosy place with very good breakfast. The choice for dinner is rather limited but it is a perfect place o enjoy the sunset with a couple of drinks. It is run by a rather eccentric guy from Chicago. The opening hours are pretty random. It certainly closes early any given day but if the owner isn’t in the mood it closes as early as 2 in the afternoon.
The Star is another good place for breakfast. It’s next to the market
Most of the hotels have their own restaurants. The cheapest place to grab a bite however is the night market. It is a the waterfront and open till late.
FACTS ABOUT Kratie:
- Kratie is a small town 7 hours northeast of Phnom Penh.
- It is a rather beautiful town on the banks of the Mekong.
- Nearby you can watch Dolphins.
- The meditation center of Phnom Sambok is just around the corner from here.
- From Kratie it is an easy 2.5 hours bus ride to the Laos border.