In the morning Dan and I found a minibus - a nice crowded one - to Kratie. The ordeal took most of the day, so we found a guesthouse (Star II) and enjoyed a dinner of noodle soup and puon tia con (more duck fetus!) by the riverfront before going to sleep.
Kratie (pronounced “crotch-eh”) is a nice little town, but so far the most unexpectedly touristy place outside of Siam Reap. The main attraction is the rare Irawaddy river dolphins that live on a stretch of the Mekong river just outside of Kratie, which is the reason we came. We shopped around and got two moto drivers to take us around to several spots for part of the day for 9500 riel each.
We went to get on a boat and see the dolphins first. Being river dolphins, they aren’t as active and exciting as their ocean-dwelling counterparts, but we did see at least a dozen of them on our hour-long ride. With my camera they were near impossible to photograph as they usually only surface for a second to breathe and then disappear into the murky mekong. From there we rode the motos up to the top of hill near town to see the sunset and some nice views of the Cambodian countryside.
That evening we started investigating the possibility of traveling back to Phnom Penh (and then into Vietnam) by boat on the Mekong. Everyone so far had been telling us that it’s impossible but we weren’t ready to give up so easily. We asked a ton of people about it and got some interesting but not too helpful answers. Our options included building our own simple boat and drifting down the river for about a month to reach Phnom Penh (we actually considered this one for a while), paying someone about $100 to take us on a longtail (it would cost nearly that much in gas alone to do it on one of those things), or buying a small boat for $1000+ and selling it in Phnom Penh. We had to give in to the less exciting reality of another minibus trip for the next day, but agreed to seek out the cheapest route possible for the sake of adventure.