Ankor Wat – the main tourist attraction lies near Siem Reap. If visitors stay in Cambodia after visiting the temples, they usually go to see Phnom Penh, the capital and the beaches of Sihanoukville. Compared to Thailand, the country is relatively untouched by tourism. Particularly on the coast, there are many jewels of nature.Cambodia is a developing country that came into the cross fire of the great powers during the long Cold War(which was hot in Cambodia) period, lasting more than 30 years; it included war, destruction andabandonment of all cities, deportation, (auto)genocide, social experiments, occupation, famine, again civil war and finally, the UN Mandate. After another period of upheaval the battered nation has for about 10 -15 years been able to build a peaceful society and economy. Resources are scarce and the nation focuses increasingly on tourism as Economic powerhouse. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge (1975-79), an estimated 2 million of the 7 million people were killed. After the Vietnamese invasion, the Khmer Rouge retreated to the periphery (jungle). The Vietnamese – due to international pressure, left the country after 10 years. The resulting power vacuum led to a series of guerrilla wars, until 1991, when an unstable peace agreement under UN leadership was negotiated. Struggle went on and only 1998 saw the first truly free elections and since the country has stabilized, finally there can be thought of a fresh start.Visits to Cambodia are possible all year round, although December to April are the best months with temperature and little precipitation – dry and not too hot, not too cold. The official language of Cambodia is Khmer, but English and French (spoken often by elderly Khmer) are widespread. Visa costs U.S.$ 20 for a tourist visa and U.S. $ 25 for a business visa a month (passport photo required). Visa extension is possible.
Koh Kong Cambodian Thai Border crossing opens at 7.00 am and closes at 8.00p pm. Koh Kong is located only a 10 min. journey from the border with Thailand. It is approx 1.5 hrs from Trat, and only 6 hrs from Bangkok or Pattaya. Getting to Koh Kong in Cambodia Visitors travelling to Koh Kong Cambodia, from Bangkok (Ekkamai or/and Morchit) or Pattaya by Bus will arrive at the Trat bus terminal. From the bus station a minibus departs approx every 30 min (from 7 am till 6 pm) to the Thai / Cambodian border town of Ban Hat Lek. A one way trip costs 120 Baht ( 2012 ) and will take approx 1.5 hrs. After arriving at Ban Hat Lek, one has to cross the border Koh Kong. A Visa is necessary to enter the Kingdom of Cambodia. With fluctuating exchange rates, the visa fee at present is approx 1100 Baht for a 1 Month Tourist Visa. (If you don’t have a photograph to go along with your visa application, you have to pay an additional 100 Baht). After the visa formalities, motor bike taxis or cars are available at the Border for the 10 min journey into Koh Kong.
How to get here (Tatai)by car or Tuk Tuk:
It takes around 15 minutes by car to get from Koh Kong to Tatai.
How to get here by bus:
Just take a n y bus that is outbound and hop off at the first bridge
Cambodia’s official currency is the Riel, however, the U.S. dollar is the common currency of choice for everyone, and both currencies are as a matter of course simply mixed. There is a good bus network to and from the main cities and towns.
Many roads are African style, although the most important roads, those relevant for most tourists are newly built and in good condition. So do not worry – the overland trips are usually very pleasant. You can also fly between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap or use a river ferry. Local public transport does not exist, therefore motodops (motorcycle taxis) and tuk tuks are the most common means of transport. You can usually rent a private car for everyday’s use. Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Koh Kong have a huge range of accommodation, so you can choose, which makes prices negotiable. Depending on budget there is everything from dorm guest house for U.S. $ 2/3 to the Radisson Plaza Presidential Suite for a whopping U.S. 2000 per night. Food – the choice is huge – Khmer, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai ….. in the tourist areas, there are restaurants with ALL relevant western “cuisines”.
Koh Kong – the City and the Province
The area got its name from the Kong Island (koh = island), so does its capital Dong Thong – simply called “Krong Koh Kong” = City of the island Kong. Although Kong island is Cambodia’s biggest island, it is a bit tricky to recognize it as such. It is so close to the mainland, that its backwaters consist of dense mangrove marshes. This very feature applies to wide areas of the province’s “inner” coastline with countless estuaries – the Cardamom Mountains to the north provide water for a great number of rivers and wide estuaries. The actual coastline is often hidden in dense mangrove forest. The effect of the tide and the seasons are responsible for a dynamic routine of inundation, that applies to most of the country’s low lands, that are in fact sediments of the mighty Mekong. Koh Kong province is still!!! almost entirely covered by natural jungle and represents, including Thailand’s wild east and Cambodia’s Kompong Speu province, the biggest contiguous forest of mainland South East Asia. The town was for many years one of the most isolated places in Cambodia and it is in many respects closer related to Thailand than to Cambodia proper. And you have the questionable pleasure to deal with 3 different currencies; Dollar, Baht and the Riel…