Next Stop: Kratie and the Mekong River

Next we had planned to do a elephant trek in the jungle, and on the way to the Wild Wild East we had a stop-over in Kratie. Kratie is located on the Mekong river…

… and is famous for the endangered Irrawaddy river dolphins. Going to see the river dolphins by boat means walking a fine line. One the one hand, it is important to make sure the boatsman does not disturb the dolphins by approaching them to closely.Β  On the other hand the increasing interest of tourists in these beautiful creatures has stopped the locals from hunting them and has lead to a strong desire by the locals to protect the endangered dolphins. Selling dolphin souvenirs and charging for the transport / boatride and food and water during the trip (today there are only 30 to 70 Irrawaddy dolphins left) is a big source of income for the locals.

The little riverside town is quite atmospheric in the evening.

And we found a couple of nice cafes at the riverside and enjoyed hanging out there, catching up on email and drinking superb fruit shakes.

Once again I had *so much fun* participating in a riverside dance class in the evening…

Kids in Kratie have figured out an innovative way to generate some income: they are running around carrying scales – offering tourists to weigh themselves, prices are negotiable between 25 cent and 1 dollar for that service.

I witnessed a very funny episode, though, when the kids approached a group of American tourists who were sitting at the restaurant at the table next to us – and the kids found out the hard way that not every female traveler is keen on weighing themselves right before dinner πŸ˜‰

We rented bikes and the next day a scooter to explore the little town, and that was a lot of fun…

… and of course when asking for helmets during the rental process we were only rewarded with friendly but enigmatic smiles…

We stayed at a nice guesthouse called Balcony (you can see where the name comes from….)

and had a perfectly fine room for $4 a night (though breakfast was not included πŸ˜‰

In the evening we had an awesome time with the kids living there teaching them funny little games…

… and deploying Nat’s “indispensible” travel equipment!!

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