Koh Kong

Most travellers see Koh Kong City only briefly as they pass through town on their way to or from the Thai border crossing, but that is gradually changing. Koh Kong Province as a destination is only at the onset of its discovery since it remains largely unexplored.  It offers a wealth of eco-tourism, adventure and beach hopping possibilities; and it serves as the most convenient base to explore other provinces. The city, both paradoxically a sleepy provincial capital and a bustling border town, sits on the Kah Bpow River about 10km from the Thai border.

Places of interest

There are a few beaches within easy driving distance of the main town area. The nearest small beach resort on the opposite side of the river is popular with the locals. The resort has a restaurant by the water, bungalows and a muddy little beach. Koh Yor Beach near Ba Blong Village along the beach is much better as characterized by its long, narrow, secluded, white sand beach with a few little oceanside seafood shacks. The island of Koh Koh Khoa in the Gulf of Thailand, about a 45-minutes boat ride from Koh Kong City, has several unspoiled completely untouristed white sand beaches.

This site has a fully fledged animal theme park complete with animal shows and a small zoological park exhibiting tigers, bears, ostriches, deer and several other species from all around the world. There are regular scheduled dolphin shows, crocodile feedings, bird shows and orangutan boxing shows. Though some of the shows may be unfit for everyone's taste, the animals appear to be fairly fed and cared for according to local standards.

Koh Kong is rich with waterfalls and rapids. The rugged rivers that run down from the Cardamom Mountains harbour spectacular jungled falls, some near to town, whilst others further upstream. Many of the falls are but a trickle in the dry season, and best visited during the wet season.

The Ta Tai Waterfalls, the nearest to town and the most popular local falls, sit close to the main road about 20km to the east. The falls are wide and two-levelled with a drop of about 6m, situated in a jungle gorge and fall over the rapids.

Others such as the Koh Por Falls, the Tuo Kokir Rapids and the impressive jungle gorge Kbal Chhay Falls sit further upriver within a day trip distance.

Chi Phat, though hardly the most beautiful village in Cambodia, is an excellent base for a variety of outdoor activities. Visitors may swim in the river; cycle (or take a motorbike taxi) to several sets of rapids; and hike in the following areas: the forest to explore waterfalls; Phnom Peang Boran which is one of very few such sites in the Cardamoms and the only one known to have jars and wooden coffins of the heroes of mountain tribes (Khmer Leu) who lived in the Cardamoms Mountain during the late Angkorian era about 300 to 400 years ago; and a grassy opening in the middle of the jungle with a seasonal pond called Veal Ta Prak. Monkeys, hornbills and other rainforest creatures may often be seen along the banks of Stung Proat (an unlogged tributary of the Preak Piphot River accessible by boat). A village elder informed that the last time a tiger was seen in these parts was 1975.

Koh Kong’s first PADI scuba diving operation offers PADI courses (Fun Dives and Beginner through Professional courses) and scuba diving trips to local islands and reefs as well as multi day excursions. Koh Kong Divers report excellent visibility and frequent Black Tip and Grey Reef Shark sightings.