Koh Kong

Koh Kong, or Krong Khemarak Phoumin, is the capital of Koh Kong Province in Cambodia’sCardamom Mountains. It is 8 km from Cham Yeam, which is connected by Cambodia’s southernmost Thai border crossing to the Thai town of Hat Lek.

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The province is one of Cambodia’s greenest and most eco-friendly, with its town being tiny, but surrounded by Asia’s largest expanse of mangroves, beautiful islands, and mountains.

Koh Kong has an airport (KKZ) but has no scheduled flights. Its runway is in a less than optimal shape and air travel will not commence commercially for a while.

Koh Kong is linked to Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville by Hwy 48, which branches off Hwy 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 around 25,000 riel (USD6.25). Sihanoukville travel agencies often ask USD8–10.

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.

There is a daily bus leaving to Koh Kong from Kep via Kampot (USD16). It leaves at 07:30.

The border is at Cham Yeam, about 10 km by road northwest of the town. It faces Hat Lek in Thailand. Motos (USD3-3.50), shared taxis and taxis (USD9-10 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 as baht prices always work out to be more expensive.

You’ll have to pay a toll for the bridge (1,400 riel for a motorbike, 2,800 for a tuk tuk), which can be paid in riel, USD, or baht. The price 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 your cash to riel at poor rates. Politely refuse. There is no legal requirement to change any foreign money into riel and the US dollar is the de-facto consumer currency of Cambodia. In Koh Kong, and other border provinces, Thai baht is also accepted, but you’ll get better rates if you exchange baht for riel rather than shop with them.

If you’re continuing further into Cambodia, beware of overpriced bus tickets: USD15–30 or more. Do not agree to this. Agencies may tell you that the normal price is USD25 or 30, and as such USD15 is a bargain: this is not true. The proper price to Phnom Penh is 25,000 riel (USD6). If you get a ticket for USD8 you are doing well.

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