Mekong River

Kratie, Cambodia

Mekong River

Kratie, Cambodia

Search the Mekong River for the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins.

In the Mekong River lives a species of freshwater dolphins called Irrawaddy, known as the “smiling face of the Mekong”. The population has been decimated due to illegal fishing and habitat degradation, and fewer than 100 dolphins remain. Spot these amazing creatures as they surface and help preserve their existence through low-impact tourism.

Things to know

The Mekong River experience varies significantly depending on the time of year. During the rainy season (typically April to November) the river is deep and flows fast. Dolphins migrate to follow fish, and can be harder to see. During the dry season, the river is shallow and 15–25 dolphins gather in the deepest pool near Kratie. While a dolphin sighting is not guaranteed, your drone pilot will take cues from the local tourist boats to help locate the dolphins during your flight.

  • Apr–Nov: Rainy season
  • Dec–Mar: Dry season



Aquatic animals

The Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) strives to reduce poverty and environmental degradation in Cambodia. Since 2004, CRDT has worked to protect the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins by developing alternative livelihoods to reduce fishing pressure in the Mekong River, including agriculture and ecotourism. By reducing illegal fishing and generating revenue through ecotourism, CRDT hopes to save the dolphins from extinction.

Meet your guide

Phiya Duch

Phiya hails from the countryside of Kratie Province where he grew up in a family of rice farmers. He graduated from university in 2014 and has worked as a tour guide with CRDT since 2016. Phiya enjoys sharing information about his culture, village life, and the conservation of the Irrawaddy dolphins and the Mekong River with people from around the world, both in-person and remotely thorough guided drone tours.

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