Best time to travel to Cambodia

Mekong River Dolphin in Cambodia

Watch one of the rarest do​lphin species

Best time: December–May

Mekong River Dolphin
Mekong River Dolphin

The largest population of Irrawaddy dolphins, which are already extremely endangered, can be found in Mekong River running through Cambodia. They are considered as a very rare type of freshwater dolphin, so don’t miss a chance to see them in a natural habitat.

The best time suggested for this trip is from December to May, during the dry season in the country. During the rainy season, ​the water level rises considerably and the water tends to be dark due to mud.

One of the recommended places to watch the Irrawaddy dolphins is Kampi village, located around 20 kilometres north of Kratie.

Practical info

When is the best time to go to Cambodia to witness the rare Irrawaddy dolphins?

The perfect period to catch a glimpse of the rare Irrawaddy dolphins in Cambodia is from December through May. Since the dry season provides the best conditions for exploring the unspoiled habitat of these dolphins, which makes them easier to spot in their natural setting. With the increased water levels and muddy water associated with the wet season, observing the dolphins can become quite a challenging endeavor. Show more

Which country is home to the largest population of Irrawaddy dolphins in Mekong River?

Cambodia is regarded as the home to the largest population of Irrawaddy dolphins in Mekong River. Visitors interested in watching the dolphins can head to Kampi village located about twenty kilometers north of Kratie, where regular sightings of these dolphins are recorded. They are known to be incredibly rare species of freshwater dolphins, and the population of these dolphins in Cambodia is crucial for their continued existence as a species. Show more

What distinguishes Irrawaddy dolphins from their freshwater dolphin counterparts?

Irrawaddy dolphins stand out from other freshwater dolphins in numerous ways. They exhibit features such as round heads with no beaks, a sturdy compact body shape, and short, blunt dorsal fins. They possess a versatile neck that enables them to move their heads flexibly in different directions; a unique characteristic unseen in other dolphins. In addition, these dolphins are renowned for their high intelligence, and their social behavior and structure differ from other species of dolphins. Show more

How dire is the situation facing Irrawaddy dolphins, and what efforts are being made in Cambodia to preserve them?

Irrawaddy dolphins are among the world's most endangered species of dolphins, with a mere 92 individuals thought to be surviving in Mekong River. Igrowing threats such as unintentional entanglement in fishing gear, loss of habitat, and disturbances from boats further imperil their situation. Several preservation initiatives are ongoing in Cambodia, including educational programs to build awareness of their significance, dolphin-watching tours enabling income generation for the local community, and measures aimed to minimize the dolphins' accidental capture in fishing gear. Show more

Are there other places in Cambodia, aside from Kampi village, where tourists can sight the Irrawaddy dolphins?

In addition to Kampi village, tourists can witness Irrawaddy dolphins in other parts of Cambodia. One such place is the dolphin pool, close to Kratie town, for a chance to swim with the dolphins under the expert supervision of trainers. Koh Pdao Island offers dolphin-watching adventures and homestay programs with local families, while other dolphin-watching sites in Cambodia include the Anlung Cheuteal and Anlung Sar locations in Stung Treng province. Show more

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