Rural Life and Dolphins

Get away from the tourist hot spots to experience a slice of rural Cambodia. Stay at a homestay on Koh Trong island in the middle of the mighty Mekong river and enjoy the peace and slow pace of life. A 9km loop road around the island is the perfect way to enjoy a leisurely cycle through traditional villages, fruit orchards and rice fields while observing the daily rituals and routines of Cambodian village life. Taste one of the island’s pomelo fruit, renowned as the most delicious in the country. Then visit the most famous inhabitants of the river, the rare Irrawaddy fresh water dolphins.

Day 1: Arriving by road into Kratie from either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap (5-6 hours), have lunch in a local restaurant and then take the local ferry across to Koh Trong island. Transfer to the homestay by motodup (motorbike taxi) where you will be introduced to the host family and shown around their home, where you will stay the night. The accommodation is fairly basic, in traditional wooden stilted houses which don’t have electricity but include western style washing facilities and mosquito nets.

Then the afternoon is yours to look around the island by bike or motodup. A 9km loop road around the island is the perfect way to enjoy a leisurely cycle through traditional villages, fruit orchards and rice fields while observing the daily rituals and routines of Cambodian village life. Taste one of the island’s pomelo fruit, renowned as the most delicious in the country. In the evening you can enjoy a delicious Khmer dinner with your host family before bed. (B/L/D)

Day 2: Today you may be woken early by the sounds of chickens, cows and dogs which are part of the rhythm of rural life here. After a breakfast with your host family, we will take you 16km north to Kampi where you can find the largest dolphin pool on the Mekong river. These Irrawaddy dolphins are found in just a few places in Southeast Asia and have been classified as critically endangered, making this a rare opportunity to see them in their natural habitat. As many as 100 have made the pools at Kampi their home and, if you approach quietly enough, you can actually hear them breathing through their blowholes.

On your way back stop at Phnom Sambok to visit the Buddhist meditation centre and explore the nearby village which specialises in making the best Krorlan - sticky rice on a bamboo stick – in the country. Lunch at local restaurant in Kratie town, then visit the old temple of Wat Rokandal. Head back to Koh Trong island, checking in at a newly-built traditional Khmer bungalow on the island for dinner. (B/L/D)

Day 3: Depart after breakfast for Phnom Penh or Siem Reap to arrive in the early afternoon, or for the more adventurous, head east into the little-visited Ratanakiri Province. (B/L)