Experiencing Cambodia's Kratie Province - an Idyllic Escape on the Mekong

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Experiencing Cambodia's Kratie Province - an Idyllic Escape on the Mekong

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:46 pm

Cambodia’s Kratié province offers an idyllic rural escape on the banks of the Mekong River, with dolphin watching, and home stays
In the second instalment shining the spotlight on Cambodia’s rising destinations, Marissa Carruthers visits the eastern province of Kratié to experience nature and get a taste of rural life
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 June, 2018, 5:18pm

We follow the village elder as he ambles along a dirt track that cuts through jungle and paddies, and cautiously climbs the rickety stairs of a decrepit wooden shack in the middle of an open field. “Animism is practised here,” says our guide Phiya. “He needs permission from the spirits before you can stay.”

We watch as the spirit master gently chants, lighting incense and pouring orange soda as an offering over a carefully arranged set of stones believed to hold the spirits. After about five minutes he stands. “Now it is OK for you to stay,” Phiya says.

Glad to have received the blessing, we make our way back to our home for the night, a traditional stilted house in a village on Koh Pdao, an island in the Mekong River in the northeast of Cambodia.

Our welcoming hosts – a family of six from three generations – await, having set up our bed for the night: a mattress under a mosquito net in a cordoned off section next to where the family sleep. We join them on a mat on the floor and tuck into a feast of freshly cooked chicken curry, rice, pickled vegetables and fried fish as we bombard each other with questions over the rumble of a generator – the sole source of electricity.

This is what a visit to the rural province of Kratié is all about. The village on Koh Pdao – a small island about an hour’s boat ride from the mainland – is one of a handful that is turning to tourism to shake off the shackles of poverty that plague many communities in Kratié. And it is these community-based ventures, coupled with Kratié’s unique natural gifts, that are appealing to the increasing trickle of tourists starting to explore this sleepy province.

But it’s not only home stays that are helping communities. A series of tours, led by locals, have also been developed. They involve cycling through pristine countryside, stopping off at villages along the way, exploring the farms that dot the landscape, kayaking on the Mekong, visiting pagodas, learning about local industries, such as the bamboo sticky rice makers the area is famous for, and watching Kratié’s rare wildlife.
http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/travel-le ... cape-banks
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