Biking along the Mekong Discovery Trail in Kratie
When I arrived at the busstation in to take the bus to Kratie many people were already there waiting for the same bus. Almost everyone was also busy filling in some kind of forms. It appeared that the buscompany provided the service to get your visa for Cambodia done without you queuing at customs. As it was only 5 USD more than I would do it myself, I let them do it for me. From the busstation it’s a 20 minutes ride to the Lao border. Once there we had to get off the bus, take all our belongings and walk to the other side, to Cambodian territory. It was 10h30 when we arrived at the border but it wasn’t until 13.10 that we could continue the travel. Of course we had to wait till everyone had his passport and visum back ànd we had to wait for extra busses as they were splitting up people according to their final destination. Me, together with 16 others (and about the same amount of luggage) were the last group to be put into a minivan direction Kratie. Our driver was driving so fast and crazy that at a certain moment the car broke down with a flat tyre! It took him about 30 minutes to change the tyre, what was quite fast I reckon.When we finally arrived in Kratie it was already 17h30, just in time to see the sunset.
Lonely Planet spoke about the Mekong Discovery Trail. This is a community-based tourism project as it provide fishing communities an alternative income. The best way to get informations about this trail is to go to the office of CRDTours in Kratie, but you can also find some informations online. I found a very good map online and managed to do the trail with only that map ànd Google maps.
As so I rented a bycicle and started the next day on a 47 kms journey to Koh Phdao Island where the homestay is located.There is plenty to see on the road! You can have a swim at The Kampi Rapids, many locals go for a dip in the weekend; taste the delicious krolan (sticky rice, beans and cocomilk steamed inside a bamboo tube); try to spot a Irrawady Dolphin (I didn’t see them) and/or check out the tempels on the road, especially the Wat Sarsar Mouy Roy or better known as the 100 pilar pagode.
I biked about 40 kms on the mainland before taking a boot to cross the Mekong River and biked another 7 kms to reach the homestay.
I got a flat tyre while I was halfway (yeah, it keeps following me!) but luckely there are small shops everywhere on the road and they fixed my tyre for only 1$. I was really happy that I could continue my journey!
Just across the Mekong River, only 1 km from Kratie is Koh Trong Island. As on Koh Phdao you can also do a homestay on this island. We (that’s me, Alex and Juliette who are some people I met in the bus to Kratie) didn’t stay on the island, but rented biked to explore the island for half a day.
From the first moment I entered Cambodia, I knew I would love this country and its inhabitants. Everyone was so friendly and not demanding. It’s the first country I’ve been where the locals don’t see every foreigner as a goldmine.