There are only 200 Irrawaddy River Dolphin adults left in the Mekong. With so few inhabiting such a long stretch of muddy water you would think this elusive mammal is impossible to see, but that is not so. The Irrawaddy River Dolphin have found home within one particular stretch of water that skirts the town of Kratie, a small north easterly town in Cambodia. Tourism has boomed in Kratie thanks to its rare marine neighbours and many locals have turned their backs on net fishing to motor groups of guests on sightseeing trips. Sightings are pretty much ‘guaranteed’ especially in the dry season when the river banks are constricted. The difficult bit is not the spotting but the photography of these animals that are shy, dark in colour and rarely breach. Since this photo is our best shot if you are interested in seeing how unique the river dolphin looks I recommend checking our these photos taken by Contemporary Nomads, some friends of ours who smite our photography attempts, haha.
Take a 5 hour bus from Phnom Penh to Kratie. Choose to pay an extra $2 and you shall be rewarded with air con and your own seat. Once in Kratie you can take a tuk-tuk to Kampi for $15 (return trip), hire a motorbike ($15) or even cycle your way north along the Mekong passing hundreds of stilted houses and rural Cambodian life. Once you approach a dolphin statue you have arrived at the spotting station and can pay for your boat. The cost of a 2 hour trip will depend upon your group size. A singleton can charter their own boat for 20 dollars but with a group larger than the price per person lessens. Tours run between 6am and sunset and although no one can predict the best time for sightseeing late afternoon tours seem to be favoured by major tour groups.