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Koh Kong

Koh Kong

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.
Koh Kong Overview
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 History
From 1795 to 1904 the area was under Siamese administration with the local name of "Koh Kong". During the reign of King Mongkut the name Patchan Khiri Khet was given to the city as the area falls at the same latitude as another city of Prachuap Khiri Khan which also had its name changed during the same year. In 1904, the region and the city of Trat was ceded to French Indochina in exchange of French troop evacuation from Chanthaburi. In 1907 Trat was returned to Siam in exchange for the Siamese province of Inner Cambodia while Koh Kong remained part of French Cambodia.
 
After Cambodia's liberation from the Khmer Rouge in 1979, Koh Kong Province was quite under-populated. After the national government encouraged people to live in Koh Kong, there has been a net influx of people. It is estimated that the average annual growth rate in Koh Kong is 16%, which has put pressure on the mangrove resources in the province. Koh Kong's towns have developed rapidly partially in response to market pressures from Thailand and because of immigration from other parts of Cambodia.
Koh Kong climate and best time to visit
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.

General information about the provincial climate:

- Cool season: November- March (17-27c)
- Hot season: March- May (29c -38c)
- Rainy season: May - October (27-35c, with humidity up to 90%.)
Koh Kong Transportation
Buses or Vans
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.
 
By Taxi
It is always travelled by backpackers; there are many comfortable means of getting to Bangkok and Phnom Penh via Koh Kong.
 
Bangkok to Phnom Penh:
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.
 
Bus + Boat
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.
 
Share Taxis
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.
 
Motorbike Info 
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.
Things to do and see Koh Kong
Tatai River and Waterfall
The Tatai River meanders through the Cardamom Mountains, for the most part with a gentle flow that belies its 20-metre depth, and in some places with a thunderous roar as the riverbed drops away to form cascading waterfalls.

Cardamom Mountains and trekking
The Cardamom Mountains are a huge range that extend from Koh Kong province where it borders Thailand up to Pursat in central Cambodia and across to the Damrei Mountains, near the border with Vietnam.

Koh Kong island
The island is roughly a 2.5-hour boat trip away from town, on one of the long cabin boats with longtail propellors. Our group of nine took off at 08:00 for a trip that took us out past the floating village to the south of Koh Kong city, the fishing village at Bak Klang on the other side of the Thai Bridge, and the mangroves of Paem Krasaop Sanctuary.
 
Ritthy arranged for us to spend four hours on the beach, which left plenty of time for exploring the 700-metre long beach, which we had all to ourselves. Not one other soul was to be seen until a local couple rocked up later on, coming from the now-closed resort on the strand next door. The snorkelling was lively, with plenty of fish to be seen, including moon fish and barracuda. Back on land, the sand is so fine it squeaks when you walk on it.

Koh Yor Beach
The beach itself is not the loveliest in the world, but it is quiet, and you’ll have no problem clearing out a patch for yourself. If you want, just can rent one of the salas sheltering under the trees — we were quoted $5 for this — or stretch out on a lounger, which we were told is free.
 
The Crab Shack is nearby, and is famed for its soft shell crabs. You can also order drinks, beers and a good selection of Khmer dishes as well.
 
This is a great spot for sunsets, and if you want to explore, the nearby fishing village at Bak Khleng is fascinating.
 

Koh Kong Travel Tips
Most of the products in Koh Kong 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.
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