Once an isolated backwater and only navigable by boat, Kratie now enjoys decent road links with the Lao border, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, and Phnom Penh, making it a major crossroad both for foreigners and local trade. However, this Mekong- bordered town, formerly administered by the French, is still a sleepy place with a thriving local psar (market), a handful of dilapidated Indochinese villas that were spared US bombing, and an easy riverine atmosphere. Once a Khmer Rouge strong- hold, it is now renowned for its beautiful sunsets and sightings of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin some 9 miles (15 km) north near the village of Kampie. An estimated 70–85 of the bulb- nosed, small-finned dolphins live in the clay-brown stretch of the Mekong bet ween Kampie and Laos. This village can be reached on a hired tuk-tuk or moto; the route follows a beautiful riverside stretch, past houses on stilts inhabited by rural families. From here, it is possible to hire a boat to go out on to the river. Sightings, though not guar anteed, are more than likely.
Just across the water from Kratie is Koh Trong, a sandbar island in the middle of the Mekong. Here, visitors will come across a floating village and an old stupa. The fortunate ones may also spot the rare Mekong mud turtle. Also worth a visit is the beautiful 19th-century temple Wat Roka Kandal, 1 mile (2 km) south of town. Wicker handicrafts, which are made by local women, are available here.