Koh Kong Island - Cambodia Travel Guide
In a nutshell
Koh Kong may not be a particularly exciting town, but it does make for a quiet and relaxing base from which to explore the stunning nature that surrounds it on all sides. Islands, mountains, jungles, mangroves and waterfalls – Koh Kong is in arms reach of all these things and more.
Because of its proximity to so many natural wonders, the town has recently become a hub for ecotourism, with many operators running a variety of excursions. Whether you want to trek in the Cardamom Mountains, relax on Koh Kong Island, or explore waterfalls and mangrove forests – all can easily be arranged by local tour companies and guesthouses.
The town itself does not have any notable attractions to speak of, but it does have a surprising number of Western operated bars, and as such, a lively expat scene. This is due to the town’s proximity with the Thai border, and many expats making visa runs from Thailand.
The restaurant scene is pretty good too, although due to the large expat crowd, it tends to lean towards more unhealthy options like burgers and pizza.
In addition to bars and restaurants, there are also many good value guesthouses and hotels located in the centre of town. A basic room will cost around USD3-9 per night, whilst USD10 will get you an air-conditioned room. Most hotels are less than 500 meters from the town centre roundabout.
If you would prefer to embrace nature and fancy a more secluded location, there are also a number of fantastic resorts outside of town. Both budge and luxury options are available, with prices ranging from USD10 to USD200 per night.
Getting in and out
Both minibuses and air-con tourist buses travel between Koh Kong and Phnom Penh taking between 4 and 6 hours. There is also a service to/from Sihanoukville, 5 hours, USD10 with Virak Buntham Express. There is also a daily bus at 7.30am to Kep via Kampot, costing USD16.
Although there is an airport, it is not currently used for commercial passenger flights.
Crossing over the border to/from Thailand
Koh Kong is also a popular base from which to cross over the border to or from Thailand. The border crossing is at Cham Yeam, which is around 10km from the town, and it is open from 6am to 10pm.
Unfortunately, there have been many reports of scams and extra fees on the Cambodian side, so it’s important to have your wits about you. After receiving your Thai exit stamp, you will be guided towards a quarantine station and asked to pay for an examination. This is a scam and is not required for your visa application. The fee for a Cambodian tourist visa is USD30 (plus fee if you need photos), but you may be asked for USD45. Insist on only paying the USD30; you may have to wait a bit longer but you will eventually be given your visa. The easiest solution to avoiding trouble is to get your visa online in advance! Please read our Visa to Cambodia article for more details.
Once you have finally made it through immigration, a motorbike taxi between the border and Koh Kong costs around USD3, and a tuk-tuk will cost USD12.
Generally, Koh Kong is a very safe and quiet town, with no immediate threats to travellers. If you fall ill, there are two pharmacies in town, but the hospital here should be avoided at all costs. Those requiring medical attention should travel to Trat, which is 90km away in Thailand, as it has an excellent hospital.