The wee town of Koh Kong sits snugly on the coast with the Gulf of Thailand in its front and the Cardamom Mountains at its back, in Koh Kong Province – about 10 kilometres from the Thailand border crossing.
Though on first appearance Koh Kong comes across as merely a sleepy little fishing village, a second glance reveals a plethora of adventures for the wayward traveller.
One such exploit is a day trip to Koh Kong Island.
The island is military-run so accommodation for overnight trips is nonexistent, however eager beavers can arrange camping trips when they buy a day-trip.
The fun begins with a two and a half hour boat ride from a port in Koh Kong town.
Tickets are US$23 per person and can be bought at most guesthouses in town, though some places may try to charge $25.
Paddy’s Bamboo Pub, on the road to Salakrong, is a good spot to get tickets at the going rate.
Its owner, Paddy, is a wide-eyed, English-speaking Cambodian man.
At least four visitors are required for a daytrip.
The destination at the end of the lengthy but scenic boat ride is a long stretch of white shore on Koh Kong Island.
Advice: Ask your boat driver about the beach you are being taken too - some travellers have ended up on unattractive litter strewn ones.
While your boat driver prepares a seafood barbeque: Prawns, fish, vegetables and rice – with pineapple and beer as refreshments – you can snorkel your way up and down the clear, warm waters of the beach.
Make sure you’re the first to get the snorkelling gear – most of them are less than perfect, like goggles with cracked screens.
The return trip to the mainland weaves you through magnificently lush and picturesque mangroves: One of the largest mangrove fields in Asia.
Be sure to remind your driver if you want this option, which is definitely worth the extra effort, otherwise he may try to take the short cut home.
Lounging on the beach eating seafood covers one day, on another you can hitch a tuk tuk ride to one of Koh Kong’s many acclaimed waterfalls like Tatai, Koh Por and Stung Phong Ruol.
Agree on a price with your driver before you hop in his ride to avoid any embarrassing pay disputes.
The price will depend on detours and the number of people in your party, a starting rate is around $15 per day.
The rapids are perfect to swim in.
Other adventures to be had in Koh Kong could involve a hike in the Cardamom Mountains, a day trek in the jungle or an overnight “home-stay” with a local family, a visit to Koh Kong Safari World or the almost infamous casino.
Most of these excursions can be arranged from guesthouses or a tuk tuk driver off the street.
Bus tickets to Koh Kong from Phnom Penh average $7 a head. Buses in either direction leave in the morning or midday. No night buses are available due to meandering, potentially dangerous roads, through the hills.
To contact the reporter on this story: Deborah Seccombe at [email protected]