Crossing the land border from Trat (Thailand) to Cambodia we moved toward the famous Koh Kong city.
Koh Kong land crossing
This is probably one of the most corrupted place I’ve ever seen and there are not so many tourists crossing this way. We finally managed to reach the room with customs officers. The place looks like torture room with one metal table, a chair and five officers.
They were firm but it didn’t feel like questioning. I had to pay 50 $ for visa although I new it costs 30 $ (regarding to 20 $ in 2013). After filling the papers you get around 15 stamps and move to the last window to receive your passport. I hear a lot of local road hauliers behind me so I guess this is it and I’m free to hit the Koh Kong.
I get one motorbike with a driver and after crossing the bridge we reach the city. The ride costs 100 Baht but they know that this is the only way to get there except walking, so they triple the average price.
The city is a very strange place. Some group of people rule the city and I guess tourists are unnecessary. Although I cannot say we didn’t find nice and helpful people in the center. Generally it’s a safe city for tourists.
We rented a room next to the river – the guy who opened the door was incredibly stoned and looked at us with his red eyes. He was so chilled, showed us two rooms and invited for a beer. The guesthouses next to the river are most expensive and we didn’t like it. Although the guy was very funny, on the evening he was to sing karaoke and gently said to my friend Michael – listen tonight we gonna sing a song together 🙂
Renting a motorbike in Koh Kong
It is very hard to rent a motorbike, there are only three places where mopeds are available and they are booked in advance. That’s why we got one a very poor condition and it broke down few days later in the middle of the jungle in high Cardamom mountains.
Stimulants and women are very easily accessible in this city. The city center is located next to the river where you can have a walk on the evening and try some street food. But it doesn’t taste good. It was one of the most terrible cuisine I have tried in Asia, except the crabs which are a local delicacy. The food is simple but they add a dry fish to every meal which makes it smell terrible.
The street lights are very poor, there is not enough electricity, so even the mopeds are driven without road lights. During the day we took a walk through the city and the suburbs. Most inhabitants live in terrible poverty. Mostly it’s just a typical bamboo house on a sand with not much accessories inside.
Driving through the city you can see lots beautiful villas with jeep cars parked in front of the property. They are owned by the locals, not necessarily involved in legal jobs. When crossing Thai border you cannot miss a huge casino. In Thailand gambling is illegal so everyone is coming to Cambodia for this entertainment. The Koh Kong city colloquially called Wild West is mostly known for smuggling, gambling and crime.
Some useful information
Local market is located just in the middle of the town, where you can taste fried tarantulas. There are few small restaurants around where you can have a nice breakfast and try some local dishes. Looking for a massage it turned out the ladies can serve you in many ways but they have absolutely no idea about a massage. 🙂
Beach: Go through the bridge toward Thai border and take a road left to reach an empty paradise beach. It’s worth to go there and wait for a sunset! There’s a small beach bar house. But we were looking for something to eat. The lady said she’ll cook a fish for us, although there was no menu. This was really one of the nicest things in Cambodia. A typical housewife cooked us a dinner as for her family. She also brought rice and vegetables. It was our small feast on the beach.
Koh Kong is a great starting point for Cardamom Mountains. It’s an amazing piece of nature together with wildlife sanctuary.
Accommodation advice: stay in a guesthouse that is located in the city not the one next to the river. The one in the city is much better, cleaner and cheaper. You can get a very nice room for 7$.