Koh Kong is a seriously underrated place for a weekend break in Cambodia. It used to be the Wild East of the country — a border town that was known as a hotspot for smuggling, prostitution and illegal logging. Until 1998, the area was also one of the last holdouts for the Khmer Rouge.
Ten years ago the Koh Kong Bridge was built and the town had a legitimate link with Thailand and things started to calm down. These days, it’s a relaxed riverside town that offers access to some of the most beautiful spots in Cambodia and has many thriving ecotourism businesses.
For such a small town they’ve got a lot of tourist-oriented businesses that mainly cater to expats from Thailand who are on visa runs and backpackers and other visiting the Cardamom mountains and looking for other sorts of sustainable tourism. And to be sure, there are lots of lots of jungle trekking opportunities just outside of town and in beautiful Tatai just down the road.
That said, there are, perhaps, more tourist-oriented business than the town can handle, and as a result, you’ll find some of the best value-for-money accommodation in Cambodia in Koh Kong. And although there aren’t a lot of huge tourist attractions, per se, the local tuk tuk drivers and motodops can create a tour that will take at least a day or two, shuttling you from waterfall to Safari World to pagoda to sunset drinks…there’s even a giant casino at the border if your fancy yourself a gambler.
The town is also known for its enormous mangrove forests, located seven or eight kilometers outside of town. The forest is well-preserved, and non-Cambodians can visit for 5,000 riel (locals are charged 3,000 riel). The project aims to provide the villagers an alternative to ecologically-damaging businesses, an admirable goal.
There are still a handful of crusty expats in town willing to tell you about the old days, if that’s your sort of thing (and if it is, stop by the The Ice Cream Shop aka Bob’s).