Thursday, 26 June 2008

The rare sights of Cambodia along Mekong River

The new project along the Mekong River Route through Stung Treng ( ) and Kratie is being developed to help mitigate the region's poverty and improve local living standard, promote conservation, and put Cambodia on the world map as an ecotourism destination.

Marcus Sandford, chief technical advisor for the Mekong River Discovery Trial project said that 'The goal is to get a small percentage of travelers off the highway and onto the river.' He added that the Mekong River is not only wonderful but also a biodiversity sanctuary with 36 globally threatened species. With Stung Treng and Laos Border Crossing opening, the coalition has come together for the tourist flow into Stung Treng and neighboring Kratie.

The Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia ( ), the UN World Tourism Organization and the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), have prepared a strategy to develop ecotourism along this stretch of the Mekong. The project will offer canoing and houseboat stays on the river. On land, there will be tours by horse-cart, home stays, and new eco-lodges in addition to the improvement of the existing bike trial. There are many interesting pagoda to view including the 100- column temple.

One of the largest Mekong islands in the area, where is known as Koh Trong, is a great place to meet locals and it can be reached in a 10-minute boat ride from Kratie and bicycle around the 14km island loop. The rare Irrawaddy dolphin number is estimated about 80 in the deep pools of the Mekong from Kratie to the Laos border. Dolphin watching is one of the substantial of ecotourism activities in the region and is listed on the agenda.

By CHHEM Samnang


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