Koh Kong is the most southwestern province of Cambodia. It is one of the biggest provinces in the whole country with a long undeveloped coastline and a mountainous, forested and largely inaccessible interior, which embraces part of the Cardamom Mountains, the biggest coherent rainforest of Southeast Asia. Its tourist attractions include abundant wildlife; big waterfalls and casinos on the border to Thailand, while an Export Processing Zone and new port facilities are being developed for international trade.
The province is an increasingly popular gateway to Cambodia from Hat Lek in southern Thailand, in part of the reasonably direct access to the port and beach resort town of Sihanoukville. While this was previously a gruelling journey by boat and pickup on rough bumpy roads using small ferries at river crossings, the donation by the Thai government of new road infrastructure is improving access greatly.
The name means ” Krong Island Province”. Its capital is Krong Koh Kong, which is located in the West of the province right next to the Thai border. The city is surrounded with a large forested area connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. It’s generally a quiet town, but there are many reasons to stay in Koh Kong for more than one night such as the nearby islands, rivers, tours into the nature and the buzzing nightlife.
The people of Koh Kong speak mainly Khmer, and most speak some Thai as well. You can also find many Chinese and Vietnamese speakers as well as a lot of broken English. Your stay here will be economical as lodging, food and transportation is relatively cheap here. Please make this place a stop on your travels through S.E. Asia and you won’t be disappointed.
Koh Kong province is 11,160 square kilometres big. It’s located in the West of the country and is bordering to the North with Pursat, to the East and South with the Gulf of Thailand and to the West with Kampot and Sihanoukville. The province consists mainly of a huge coherent mountain range, the Cardamom Mountains. Covered with lush deep rainforest it?s the biggest successional forested region in whole Southeast Asia, which is almost not populated but by some small tribes.
There are quite a lot of creeks and rivers running to the see, Stoeng Kaoh Pa and Stoeng Me Toek are the biggest ones. You won’t find the typical Cambodian plain wet areas, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations, except from some river benches near the see. The highest point in the province is 1210m.
The current population in this province is about 207,474 people or 1,45% of the country’s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 107,499 male and 99,975 female. The population density is therefore 18,6 people per square kilometre.
The country has a tropical climate – warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
– Cool season: November- March (17-27c)
– Hot season: March- May (29c -38c)
– Rainy season: May – October (27-35c, with humidity up to 90%.)
The economy of Koh Kong, in spite of recent progress of border development, although rapidly increasing, is low compared with most neighbouring countries. The main domestic activity on which most rural households depend is agriculture and its related sub-sectors. Manufacturing output is varied but is not very extensive and is mostly conducted on a small-scale and informal basis. The service sector is heavily concentrated in trading activities and catering-related services.
Koh Kong (Cambodia) /Hat Lek (Thai):
Open from 7:00 -17:00.
There are many Bus companies like Giant Ibis, Mekong Express, PSD Xpress, Sorya Bus, Neak Krohorm, Thero Express (15-seat), Larryta, KSO, Virak Buntham, Kampot Express, Cambodia Post VIP Van offering bus/van services to Koh Kong town using modern air-conditioned buses/vans. Buses/vans depart every 15 minutes to one hour, daily from 6am-12pm mid night. The prices are reasonable. Online Bus ticket can be purchased in advance.
Phnom Penh to Koh Kong or v.v [Book Now]
Siem Reap to Koh Kong or v.v [Book Now]
Pattaya (via Koh Kong border) to Koh Kong or v.v [Book Now]
It is always travelled by backpackers; there are many comfortable means of getting to Bangkok and Phnom Penh via Koh Kong.
1) Take a bus to Trat.
2) Take a Songthaw to Klong Yai, takes 2 hours
3) Change to another Songthaw to Hat Lek, about 30 min. Then cross the border. You can get the Cambodian 1-month arrival visa on the border. $20 or 1000 Bath. The visa application form requires 1 passport photo.
4) Take a moto to Koh Kong
5) Express boat to Sihanoukville, departure 8:00am
To catch up with the Express Boat in a same day, you have to leave Trat very early in the morning. Or take the minibus.
6) In Sihanoukville, take a moto from the port to the bus station. If you want to travel to PP in a same day, you have to hurry to go to the bus station. You have to ask for the moto fee before, otherwise you are asked to pay a higher fee.
7) Take a bus to PP, around 4 hours.
It is possible to travel from Koh Kong to PP in a day.
Note: Moto and boat fees have to negotiate before you enter them for travelling.
1) Take a bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. To catch up the boat in the same day, you have to take an early bus at 7:30.
2) Take a moto from the bus station to the boat pier. Make sure you bargain for the moto fee.
3) Take an express boat from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong. Departure: 12:00 noon. If you want to take the boat in a same day, it is not sure to get the seat as what you want but you can sit on the roof. Travel time around 3.5 hrs,
4) From Koh Kong to the Border: take a moto driver.
5) Cross the border. The border is closed at 17:00.
6) Take a Songthaw to Klong Yai, travel time around 30 min.
7) Change songthaw to Trat, around 2 hours.
8) From Trat to Bangkok, there is also a night bus departure.
If the boat arrived later than 16:00, you have to take a risk not to be able to cross the border. In case the border is closed once you got there, you have 3 choices.
1) Stay at Eingdoy Hotel, 500m before the border, tel. 039-588109, room rate is around 10 – 15USD per night with TV, Pool Bar.
2) A small Guest House in the village nearby, 1.5 km from the border. Experience the local home stay; room rate is around 5-8 USD per night.
3) Go back to Koh Kong town by moto or boat for only 1USD per person.
You can also make the way from Phnom Penh to Koh Kong town in a share taxi. The departure is early in the morning around 7am opposite of the central bus station, where there are lots of minibuses and taxis waiting for customers. The ride will probably take around 8-10h depending on the season you?re travelling. The price is negotiable between $14-20.
If you would like to experience a very nice, but kind of rough route through a remote area of Cambodia, than it’s that tour you’ll have to go for. You need to take the National Highway No 4 from Phnom Penh in direction of Sihanoukville. After heading on the Highway for around 180km you’ll pass a small town called Kampong Seila, from which it is a couple of kilometres more to come to a T-junction. Now turning right you’re entering the Minor Road No 48. It’s a narrow road badly paved with laterite, which makes an adventure out of your trip. You should be well experienced to manage this bumpy, creek crossing road during the wet season without tasting the ground. As the road led through a breathtaking countryside you’ll reach Koh Kong after approx. 140km. Be sure that the early bird catches the worm so don?t go to late as you want to manage the whole trip within one day.
Koh Kong offers many small restaurants and places to eat. There is especially two we would recommend: Otto’s Restaurant, rooms and meeting place & the Foreigner Food Restaurant (But don’t order any beef meal here, only Otto’s can be trusted). It seems the larger restaurants have just cookbook cutouts for their menus with no prices listed. You will be charged according to what you look like. Don?t wonder if some of the restaurant owners are sometimes quite impolite; just pass them over if possible. The best budget meals are the stalls in and around Psar Leu.
That’s a Thai style garden restaurant, which is the most alluring one among the few remaining opportunities. They have a huge menu including more than 35 vegetarian choices and a range of fresh seafood.
Set on the breezy veranda of the guesthouse, this Western-style restaurant makes a convenient stop for a quick breakfast before taking a boat to Sihanoukville. The dinner includes Thai food, several hearty vegetarian choices and a selection of central European dishes, including for example one of the best bratwurst Cambodia has to offer.
This is quite a popular Khmer restaurant for tasty Chinese and Cambodian breakfast of noodle soup and Bobor (rice porridge), but it lacks the atmosphere to warrant a good stop for a dinner.
If you are eager to go for Cambodian dishes, that’s the place to pop in. They serve lots of fine Cambodian dishes here. Coming from Thailand you might try the famous Lok Lak or Fish Amok. If you’re to easily to distract by some loud karaoke music, it’s not your place though.
Most of the products are imported from Thailand, except vegetables, fruits and some local foods. There are a couple of clothing shops across the street from the eastern side of the market selling clothes from Thailand as well. Some small shops along the road on the southern side of the market stay open until 10pm.