- William Feather
Irrawaddy Freshwater Dolphins, of all the Cambodia tourist attractions, could be the best thing about your Cambodia vacation and spotting them might be something that you will never, ever forget. The Irrawaddy Dolphin is distinctive in that unlike the majority of species of dolphin which have a long nose and pointed features, the Irrawaddy species has a blunt nose and straight mouth, rounded tail and fins, and can grow up to 9 meters in length. It's this appearance, along with its extraordinarily intelligent behaviour, that leads many Cambodian's to liken the dolphin to man, and they refer to the Irrawaddy Dolphin as' half man, half fish'. The dolphins are found in many rivers all over the Asian continent, but were first discovered in Myanmar and the name 'Irrawaddy' is given to them after the name of the famous Burmese River in which they were originally spotted.
In Cambodia, they habitate a large part of the Mekong river, and the majority of this dolphin territory is in the section of river that runs through the picturesque, rural and traditional town of Kratie in east-central Cambodia. Locals who fish in the Mekong in Kratie frequently praise the dolphins for their intelligence and the part they play in unique fishing techniques where they play the most important role, reacting to careful calls and driving fish toward the fisherman. They are beautiful to watch, inquisitive and playful.
The Irrawaddy Dolphins of Kratie are protected under an environmental act drafted by the Cambodian government, however they are endangered, and we ask anyone to please respect their habitats and be sensitive to their environment.
Tours can be arranged for US9 to see the dolphins on the river in Kratie. The beauty of this is you get to take in the wonderful surroundings of the Mekong at the same time as spotting these remarkable creatures.
The dolphins' feeding patterns have not changed for many years, and like clockwork, they will come up to feed between 9 and 11am and 3 and 5pm. We recommend the latter slot, once you've spotted them reward yourself with a delightful Kratie sunset.
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