Cambodia

Koh Kong and around

Dusty Koh Kong is better known for its brothels, casinos and 'Wild West' atmosphere than for lying at the heart of a protected area with national park status (granted by Royal Decree in 1993). It is also often confused with its beautiful offshore namesake Koh Kong Island. The town is also reputed to have the highest incidence of HIV infection of anywhere in Cambodia and is a haven for members of the Thai mafia trying to keep their heads down and launder large sums of money through the casino. The place is only really used by travellers as a transit stop on the way to and from Thailand or two of the most scenic places in Cambodia - Koh Kong Island and the Cardamom Mountains.

Central Cardamoms Protected Forest

In 2002, the government announced the creation of the
Central Cardamoms Protected Forest
, a 402,000-ha area in Cambodia's Central Cardamom Mountains. With two other wildlife sanctuaries bordering the park, the total land under protection is 990,000 ha - the largest, most pristine wilderness in mainland Southeast Asia.
The extended national park reaches widely across the country, running through the provinces of Koh Kong, Pursat, Kompong Speu and Battambang. Considering that Cambodia has been severely de- forested and seen its wildlife hunted to near-extinction, this park represents a good opportunity for the country to regenerate flora and fauna. The Cardamoms are ho
me to most of Cambodia's large mammals and half of the country's birds, reptiles and amphibians. The mountains have retained large populations of the region's most rare and endangered animals, such as the Indochinese tigers, Asian elephants and sun bears.
Globally threatened species like the pileated gibbon and the critically endangered Siamese crocodile, which has its only known wild breeding population here, exist. Environmental surveyors have identified 30 large mammal species, 30 small mammal species, more than 500 bird species, 64 reptiles and 30 amphibians. Conservationists are predicting they will discover other animals that have disappeared elsewhere in the region such as the Sumatran rhinoceros. W
ith virgin jungles, waterfalls, rivers and rapids this area has a huge untapped ecotourism potential. The area remains relatively inaccessible but over the next few years it is anticipated that ecotourism operators will flock to the area. For now, it is best to make short trips into the park as the area is sparsely populated and heavily mined (so stay on clearly marked paths).

Koh Kong Island

The island (often called Koh Kong Krau) is arguably one of Cambodia's best and is accesible via a bridge from the mainland. There are six white powdery beaches each stretching kilometre after kilometre, while a canopy of coconut trees shade the glassy-smooth aqua waters. It's a truly stunning part of the country and has been ear-marked by the government for further development, so go now, while it's still a little utopia. There are a few frisky dolphin pods that crop up from time to time. Their intermittent appearances usually take place in the morning and in the late afternoon.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
Products in this Region

Cambodia Handbook

From its powdery beaches and glittering, turreted skylines to ancient monuments and thatched ethnic...

Vietnam, Cambodia, & Laos Handbook

With stunning scenery, colonial remnants, fascinating ruins and exotic food, Vietnam, Cambodia &...

Angkor Handbook

Angkor is one of the architectural treasures of Southeast Asia. Surrounded by mysterious jungle,...
PDF Downloads

  No PDFs currently available

Digital Products

Available NOW!
Read more...