Sleepover with the locals is a deep cultural learning experience for traveler. It is designed for you to travel 45km away from Kratie to spend sometime at one of a remote village call Koh Phdao. Koh Phdao is a village situated in the biggest island along the Mekong River and is a great place for visitors. Koh Phdao has natural delights, rare creatures, local culture and authentic lifestyles that collide to form experiences previously unimagined. The visitor can enjoy the peace, tranquility and natural beauty of a unique rural island and take the opportunity to immerse himself completely in a village life. A bicycle tour to see the other villages around is popular for every visitor who had been to Koh Phdao before. The tour to Koh Phdao will also enable visitors to see several places of interest along the way such as Thma Krae village to sample some tasty local foods, Sambok Moutain to see the pagoda on top and the famous Mekong endanger Dolphin.
You will spend two nights in the village where you will have the opportunity to learn more about the local culture such as the fishing activities, the education, health and how village life connect to the river.
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At 8:00AM, meet at Le Tonle Training Restaurant and meet your English-speaking guide. He will give you the pre-tour orientation with informations about the tour, Kratie town, the Mekong River and the home stay at Koh Phdao.
Next, everyone gets on a local Remorque, (Khmer TukTuk) and travels to Thma Krae village which is famous for making sticky rice roasted in bamboo called Kralan in Khmer. Nhem, or fish paté, is also produced in the village. Your guide will introduce you to how they are made and how this small business enterprise helps the local people.
After visiting Thma Krae village, your next destination before the dolphin pool will be the pagoda on top of Sambok Moutain. This age-old quiet pagoda is known as a great place for people who are seeking a peaceful environment for meditation. Your local English guide will show and explain the beautiful paintings and the meanings of other sights around the pagoda.
Later on, you will be brought to Kampi Dolphin pool which is the biggest dolphin pool in the Mekong River where tourists can view dolphins all year long. The Mekong Irrawaddy dolphin is an endangered species and there are many conservation NGOs working to conserve them. After a 10 minute presentation by your local English speaking guide about the dolphin ecology, you will embark on a wooden boat, driven by an expert local fisherman who benefits from the dolphin conservation project. The boatman will guide the boat nearby the pool for about 1 hour for you to spot the dolphins and take pictures. (Note: sometime you will have to explore the dolphin at the village of Koh Phdao).
Following that, you will arrive to Sambou district where you will see the 100 pillars pagoda and turtle conservation center. 100 pillars pagoda is also called Wat Sasar Mouy Roy in Khmer, in fact has 116 pillars and is the most popular pagoda in Kratie province. It has an interesting history dating from around the 13th century and also events that occurred much later during the pol pot regime. 100 pillars pagoda is unique amongst the pagodas in Kratie province in having a turtle conservation center inside the pagoda. The center was established to conserve the Mekong Turtle as it is endangered. In front of the pagoda, you will be led by your guide to have a short break and a drink.
Instead of going back to the town, you and your local English-speaking guide will jump on a slow local wooden boat from 100 pillars pagoda to Koh Phdao village which is the focus of a Community Based Eco-Tourism development project by the NGO, Cambodian Rural Development Team. The boat trip will take around one and a half hour and will give you a chance to observe village life along the river. In Koh Phdao, you will be led by community representatives to see their village, visit friendly families and see the spirit house at which they pray to bring them happiness. You will also experience local food cooked by a group of local women. Accommodation will be provided with a homestay family in a curtained-off room just as the locals. Pillows, a thin mattress, mosquito net and a blanket will be provided. Bathroom and toilet facilities are simple and clean. During the evening your guide will rotate to do the translation for each homestay so that you will have a chance to communicate with your homestay owner.
Next morning after breakfast, you can spend the day helping a family in the village or the community to do their work such as harvest rice, plant rice, building a community center, road construction and etc. These works are random and depend on the time of the year.
After breakfast on last day, everyone gets on the same boat back to the mainland and get rid on the taxi / minivan back to Kratie town. Arrive to Le Tonle Training Restaurant and receive a de-brief. End of the tour.