Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Cambodia : Cardamom and Elephant Mountains : Koh Kong
Koh Kong is the capital of Koh Kong province in Cambodia'sthe Cardamom Mountains. It is 8km away from Cham Yeam, which is connected by Cambodia's southernmost Thai border crossing to the Thai town of Hat Lek.
Koh Kong has an airport but it's not currently used for commercial passenger flights. Runway is in a less than desirable shape (May '08) and airtravel will not commence commercially for a while. It is one of Cambodias greenest and most eco friendly province, with its town being very little, but surrounded by Asia's biggest tropical Mangroves, beautiful islands and mountains. Koh Kong Island is opened to the public now for day trips, and will offer the possibility to stay there starting November 2012.
Koh Kong is linked to Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville by highway 48, which branches off National Highway 4 at Sre Ambel. The road is paved and complete with 5 bridges. It's a good scenic drive through some of Cambodia's least developed and unspoiled regions - the Cardamom Mountains. Minibuses and tourist air-con buses to and from Koh Kong leave mainly in the mornings. Afternoon departures depend on demand. Tickets to Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville should cost arounf 25000 riel (US$6.25). Sihanoukville travel agencies often ask for US$8-10.
There is no longer a boat from Koh Kong to Sihanoukville. It stopped in 2009 although some travel agents in Thailand still sell travel tickets for the (non existent) boat.
The border is at Cham Yeam, about 10 km by road northwest of the town. It faces Hat Lek in Thailand. Motos (US$2 to 2.5), shared taxis and taxis (US$9 to $10 for the entire car) run between the town and the border. Drivers will ask for more (asking for 400 baht is common) - don't let them. Negotiate in dollars rather than baht, baht prices always work out more expensive.
You'll have to pay toll a fee for the bridge (1400 riel for a moto), which can be paid in riel, USD or baht. The rate is stated on the toll booths: it's better to hand over your money at the booth so that your fare is not impacted later.
Your driver will likely offer to exchange money to riel at overall poor rates - just politely refuse, there is no legal requirement to change any foreign money into Riels and the US Dollar is the de-facto consumer currency of Cambodia. There is of course a legal tender in Cambodia. In Koh Kong, and other border provinces, Thai baht is also accepted, but you'll get better rates if you exchange baht rather than shop with them.
If you're continuing further into Cambodia, beware of overpriced bus tickets: US$15-30 or more - do not agree to this. Agencies may tell you that the normal price is US$25 or 30, and, as such, USD15 is a big bargain - this is not true. The proper price to Phnom Penh is 25000 riel (US$6) if you get a ticket for US$8 you are doing well!
Around Koh Kong, there are islands, mountains, jungles, rivers, waterfalls, a zoo, casino, and a lot more.
Koh Kong Island (considered one of the best beaches in SE Asia). There are no accommodations on Koh Kong Island as it is military run and therefore illegal to spend the night, however day trips are offered by Koh Kong Divers tour centre and some other operators in Koh Kong.
Along highway 4 (Sihanoukville - Phnom Penh), about 30 km south of Traeng Trayoung, 20 km north of the Koh Kong turn-off, there is on the west side of the road a small turn-off which leads to a nice set of rapids called O'bak Retes. Great place to stop.
Day tours and overnight adventure trips to Koh Kong Island and other Islands in Kong Province, Pream Krasop Mangroves(Asia's Largest), Waterfalls & Trekking in the Cardamom Mountainns are available from Koh Kong Divers travel & tours located next to the waterfront bar & restaurant on riverfront road. Koh Kong island has recently opened its doors to night camping. All the information can be found through Koh Kong Bay hotel, 200m left before the Thai bridge. A soon to be opened bungalow resort is also awaiting (May 2012).
Gecko adventure tours Koh Kong offer overnight camping, night canyoning, trekking to remote waterfalls, experienced guides, all gear supplied.
Fat Sam's bar on the main street in the downtown area is a fabulous place to get an idea about what to do - Fat Sam himself is very helpful and knows the place quite well.
Thmorda Crab House is a Thai seafood restaurant and bar situated right over the water of the Koh Pow river. Delicious food. Amazing scenery. Friendly staff. Great value. Sunset cruises. http://www.thmordacrabhouse.com. Open from 11:30 until 23:00. Tel. +855 356 901 252
The Blue Gecko Bar
The Aqua Sunset Bar & Resturant has just opened 01/11/09. Riverside bar and restaurant set over the water on the Koh Pow River, pleasant river breeze, popular sunset venue. Full bar facilities, selection of spirits and cocktails, western and thai-khmer food. Also offering a Sunset Cruise every evening.
The Dive Inn. Daily specials from 110 Baht, European, Thai & Khmer cuisine. the largest selection of spirits and cocktails in koh kong
Waterfront Bar & Restaurant. Great pizza's and hamburgers, Traditional Cambodian food and snacks, top place for river and sunset views.
Paddy's Bamboo Pub serves western breakfast and local meals. The pub is next to Rasmey Buntam Guesthouse.
Waterfront Bar & Restaurant – Full bar facilities-Cocktails/Beers/Spirits, Late night opening, good music. Great place to meet other travelers from around the globe and offers great river views and sunsets.
Blue Elephant Bar - Bar and lounge, opens early until late. Offers food, drinks, free WiFi, a nice selection of books in a friendly atmosphere.
There are many guesthouses and small hotels in the central part of town and on the riverside street, partially thanks to Thais who come to Cambodia for gambling (the big casino can be seen on the way from the border). Basic guesthouse room with fan costs USD3-6 (or 100-200 baht). For USD10 and more you'll get an air-con room in a guesthouse or hotel. As often in Asia, the cheapest places and room rates are usually those found "on the spot" on arrival. Motorbike taxi drivers will be happy to deliver you to a guesthouse/hotel of their choice, if you're not sure where to go - just ask them (and notice after while riding there) how far from the centre is it and what's the price. Alternatively, just walk around and look for accommodation yourself - the town is quite small. Further south of the town there is a small group of 12 islands called the Koh Sdach archipelago, this area holds untamed beauty with white sandy beaches, crystal clear seas and paradise islands. This is a must for a visitor to coastal Cambodia. Currently accommodation is only available on two of the islands Koh Sdach and Koh Toteung and room rates go from $10 - $120.
Tatai is the next town east, 19 km away. $4 - $5 by motobike, US$10 by tuk tuk.